Kevin Blackston
PO Box 217
Floresville TX 78114-0217
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

American flag stamp puzzle completed

Years ago—at this point, I’m not certain exactly when it was, but I’m pretty sure that more than a decade has passed—my sister gave me a stamp-themed puzzle. I had never put it together, but over the past week and a half worked on it as time permitted, and finally finished assembling it.

The 550-piece puzzle features hundreds of tiny images of stamps overlaid on an American flag background.

American flag stamp puzzle
American flag stamp puzzle
American flag stamp puzzle detail
American flag stamp puzzle detail

I started by assembling the border, then the blue portion of the flag (since there were were far fewer pieces in that section). After that, I worked on pieces where the background was exclusively red or exclusively white. Finally, I filled in the gaps.

The most challenging aspect of this puzzle is that some of the stamps are reproduced multiple times. I would see part of a stamp on a puzzle piece and think to myself, hey, I saw the other part of that stamp a few seconds ago—but then discover that although I’d seen the same design, it was a different instance of the design, and the two puzzle pieces didn’t go together. Completing it was satisfying.

So, what’s next for this puzzle? My plan is to give it away in the next issue of the Philosateleian Post Horn so that another collector can have a go at putting it together.

Rosback tabletop perforating machine for sale

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to purchase five different perforating machines. It started back in 2014 when I acquired a Franklin perforator. A little over a year later, I purchased my weathered but trusty Southworth perforator, which I still use to this day. In 2017, I bought and re-sold a Rosback tabletop model, and last year I purchased what I speculated might be the world’s smallest perforating machine.

I’m excited to announce today that I recently bought another antique Rosback tabletop pinhole perforator, and after dusting it off, I’m ready to find it a new home!

Rosback tabletop perforating machine
Rosback tabletop perforating machine

A quick summary

This machine, which I think probably dates to the 1930’s or so, comes complete with its original wooden table and metal alignment guides. The larger guide on the rear of the machine appears to be missing one nut and a bolt or two, but it’s a remarkably complete piece. With table, the perforator weighs in the neighborhood of 85 pounds, and it has a footprint of approximately 26″×20″.

The bad

There is some wear and tear. That’s probably to be expected with a piece of equipment that’s close to 90 years old, but let me provide details:

  • When I acquired the machine, the perforating pins didn’t go quite all the way through a sheet of paper. Inserting small strips of metal (one of which you can see in the photo below) between the camshaft and each end of the perforating head resolved that issue; I have not attached those strips to the machine, but the future owner may wish to do so.
  • During shipping to me, one of the perforators metal legs was snapped off. It may be possible to repair this break, but it does not affect the perforator’s functionality in any way, so I’m leaving that for the next owner.
  • There are various cosmetic issues such as nicks and scrapes in the paint that do not impact the machine’s operation in any way.
Rosback tabletop perforating machine with metal inserted between camshaft and head
Metal piece inserted between Rosback perforator camshaft and head
Rosback tabletop perforating machine with broken leg
Leg broken off Rosback tabletop perforator

Now, with those disclaimers out of the way, here’s the big question: does it perforate, and perforate cleanly? Why, yes it does!

The good

Despite its flaws, this perforator has a full set of pins, and following the aforementioned adjustment using small strips of metal, it perforates cleanly. This particular model, like the majority of tabletop perforators in existence, can perforate a line of holes approximately 10 inches long.

In short, even though there are a few flaws, this machine works.

Rosback tabletop perforating machine pins
Rosback tabletop perforating machine pins
Perforated sheet of paper on Rosback tabletop perforating machine
Perforated sheet of paper on Rosback tabletop perforating machine


I’m asking just $650 plus shipping for this machine. If you’re interested in it, send a message to me, and I’ll be happy to provide an estimate for shipping cost. In addition, if you have any specific questions, I’ll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

Update (2021-10-01): this machine has been sold. Thank you for your interest!

The Glaucoma Foundation joins reply envelope movement

Continuing what has become something of a series on nonprofit business reply envelopes, today I’m bringing to your attention a BRE included in a mailing that I received last week from The Glaucoma Foundation.

Although the envelope does not have any actual cinderella stamps attached to it, there are three pre-printed stamp-sized images: one picturing a flower and a butterfly, the second picturing a bird, and the third picturing a different flower.

Business reply envelope bearing three pre-printed stamp-sized images
The Glaucoma Foundation business reply envelope

As I think I’ve observed in the past, this sort of thing is far more interesting if cindrella stamps or labels are attached, but this is still an attractive envelope, and a definite step up from the undecorated BRE’s more often included in mailings from nonprofit organizations.

Purgatory Post commemorates launch of Crew-2

On June 1, New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post issued a pair of 2-sola stamps commemorating the successful launch of SpaceX Crew-2. The Crew Dragon spacecraft used for the mission launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 23 of this year, successfully docking with the International Space Station the next day.

Pair of 2-sola Purgatory Post stamps commemorating SpaceX Crew-2 mission
Purgatory Post Crew-2 stamps

One of the stamps pictures the spacecraft itself, while the other features a photo of astronauts K. Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide, and Shane Kimbrough.

Crew-2 is not scheduled to return to earth for several months, with the next mission, Crew-3, currently planned for an October launch date.

As you’re probably aware if you’ve followed my posts about Purgatory Post, its operator, Scott A., is very interested in spaceflight. In addition to commemorating contemporary missions, he has issued numerous other spaceflight-related stamps, including an ongoing series marking the 50th anniversaries of each of the Apollo missions.

Summer 2021 update for The Philosateleian

After a busy spring, I’m happy to be able to update my stamp album again, and I’m pleased to announce that the Summer 2021 Supplement (146 KB, 3 files, 7 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is ready for you to download and print at your convenience.

This update primarily includes spaces for new United States stamps issued since early March, but there is also a single updated page for the 2000–01 Flowers stamps that corrects a spelling error that has apparently been there since I launched The Philosateleian 15 years ago. Oops. I’m glad to be able to update that, too.

Thank you as always for your support and interest!

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