As you may recall, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary earlier this year, and when she asked me what I’d like for an anniversary gift, my response was virtually immediate: a letter opener. And that’s exactly what she got for me!
My new letter opener has a handle that the seller described as being made of buffalo horn. Whether that means bison or water buffalo, I don’t know, but it is most definitely more substantial than what it replaces, a cheap plastic letter opener that I got as a freebie at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Philadelphia in 2003. I think that one came from the National Guard booth, but whatever lettering was on it has long since worn away, so I say it was time for an upgrade.
Although I have offered stamp album pages for United States hunting permit stamps for years, it wasn’t until August that I published the first pages for general revenue stamps for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album. I realize that not everyone who uses The Philosateleian collects revneue stamps, but I wanted to expand my offering in case you do.
I’m pleased to share that, as of today, The Philosateleian also includes pages for proprietary stamps (1871–1919) and customs fee stamps (1887). I’ve released those as part of a Special 2020 supplement that’s now available for you to download and print at your convenience.
My hope is to be able to continue adding pages for different revenue stamps, so if there’s a particular category that you would like to see included, please let me know.
While recently re-reading George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or 1984 if you so prefer, I ran across a brief reference to postage stamps, of all things. The passage reads thus:
Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back at him:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette packet—everywhere.
This brief mention of stamps got me wondering what stamps from Orwell’s Oceania might look like, and I came up with the cinderella stamp—or should I say the dystopian fantasy stamp?—pictured here. It is as you can probably tell very much inspired by the general aesthetic of British stamps, which I thought was not inappropriate considering that the story is set in London.
Nineteen Eighty-Four will still be under copyright protection for a long time here in the United States, and I have no intention of trying to sell my creation since I have no particular desire to run afoul of whoever owns the rights to the book. Consider it merely a bit of fan art. I do have ideas for another stamp or two if time permits, however, and will certainly share here if I do any more designing.
Bophuthatswana stamps feature verses from Book of John
Although I’m a professing Christian, I’ve never made a concerted effort to start a collection of Bible-themed stamps. It’s not that I have anything in particular against them; indeed, there are more than a few United States stamps, and I’m not talking about the many Christmas issues released since the 1960s, that have Christian links. It’s simply not something that I’ve ever pursued.
During the Texas Stamp Dealers Association’s recent bourse in San Antonio, however, I stumbled across this set of four stamps issued for the South African “Homeland” of Bophuthatswana in 1981. What really caught my eye was the wheat field on the 25¢ stamp since I didn’t have a copy of that for my somewhat neglected landscapes collection, but the scriptures on all four are extremely meaningful.
Will this acquisition be the beginning of a thematic collection of Bible-related stamps? Given how little time I feel like I have to work on my collection as it is, probably not, but they make for a nice little diversion from my normal areas of interest.
Although my own Philosateleian Post’s most recent new issue was in September, several other local posts have issued new stamps since the beginning of October.
First is a set of three stamps issued October 7 by Bat’s Private Post in Beverly Hills, California, in advance of Halloween. The 5¢ and $1.25 stamps depict a bat, while a black cat is featured on the 60¢ design. A press release included with the stamps identifies the 5¢ stamp as intended for postcards, the 60¢ stamp as intended for domestic letters, and the $1.25 stamp as intended for international letters of up to one ounce.
These self-adhesive stamps feature an interesting scalloped die cut, giving them a very eye-catching appearance when used on cover.
Next on our list, Como Park Post in Minnesota released a 3¢ stamp picturing a book with the word “READ” on the spine. I have not seen any official information regarding the stamp just yet, but the cover I received bears an October 1 postmark.
The stamp appears to be another of operator Tom B.’s woodcut designs, which although perhaps lacking the slickness of some other local posts’ stamps bears testament to the amount of time Tom puts into his creations.
Last but not least, New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post on October 6 issued a stamp commemorating late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–2020). The 27-sola denomination represents the 27 years that Ginsburg served on the Supreme Court.
I might take a moment, if you’re interested in modern local post material, to recommend that you consider joining the Local Post Collectors Society. Our bimonthly journal, The Poster, includes announcements and articles about stamps of this nature.