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

Philosateleian Blog

Only half a cover, but a wholly commercial usage

The most recent addition to my collection of 14¢ American Indian stamps on cover is a cover fragment mailed from Ohio to Denmark in August 1938. The 14¢ postage covered the then recently-introduced 5¢ for first ounce international surface mail plus 3¢ per ounce surcharge for air mail within the United States, plus 3¢ per half ounce for air mail within Europe.

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from Chillicothe, Ohio, to Copenhagen, Denmark

The cover was at some point in the presumably distant past cut down to probably about half of its original size, probably to make it fit more nicely on an album page. I bought it because it’s a difficult solo usage that fits into my collection, but it’s definitely not the nicest example I own.

I can remember a stamp or two that I wish I had left alone, and perhaps you can think of a stamp or cover that you didn’t treat quite as well as you wish you had. Still, I would like to think that in today’s collecting world, a cover such as this would have been preserved intact as a piece of postal history. The visual impact of a full cover instead of a fragment like this is indisputable.

Update (2021-09-12): a previous version of this post identified the cover as being postmarked in 1932 with the 14¢ American Indian stamp paying a different rate, but closer inspection revealed that the date in the postmark could not be 1932. I’m sorry about the error.

Purgatory Post issues 2021 World Local Post Day stamp

World Local Post Day 2021 is coming up this Monday, January 25, and participants like me will be issuing stamps celebrating the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post got a bit of a jump on the rest of us, however, by issuing its World Local Post Day stamp on January 5. The 21-sola stamp pictures a strawberry.

21-sola Purgatory Post stamp picturing strawberry
2021 Purgatory Post World Local Post Day stamp

Scott A. printed the stamp on a glossy-surfaced paper, and to paraphrase my non-collecting wife’s reaction, it looks like the real deal.

Scott says his stamp’s design is inspired by Mexico’s Exporta series of the 1970s through the 1990s, and I have to hand it to him: his design makes that of my upcoming Philosateleian Post stamp look like a poor cousin in comparison. Not every local post stamp is a home run just like not every United States stamp is a home run, but Purgatory Post’s new stamp is the sort of result we local post operators aim for even if we don’t always achieve it.

Surface almost completely scraped off 22¢ stamp

I checked my post office box on Friday for the first time in over a week, and it was pretty well packed with everything from cards and letters to non-profit solicitations. Among the items was the January–February 2021 issue of The Philatex, the San Antonio Philatelic Association’s newsletter.

At first glance, I thought postage on the envelope had been short-paid with just a pair of stamps, but then I realized that the remnants of a third stamp still adhered to the right of the others.

Front of cover from San Antonio Philatelic Association with scraped 22¢ stamp
San Antonio Philatelic Association cover with scraped 22¢ stamp
22¢ United States stamp with surface almost completely scraped off
22¢ United States stamp with scraped surface

It’s not unusual to see surface scrapes on stamps with water-activated gum that have been used in recent years, but this is excessive! There’s nothing left except “USA,” the 22¢ denomination, and a tiny piece of the lower right corner of the stamp’s design.

My initial guess at which stamp this is was wrong, but it didn’t take me long to track it down once I cracked open my Scott Specialized Catalogue. Can you identify it?

A sweet 14¢ American Indian solo cover

I realize that I talk quite a bit about how scarce solo uses of the 14¢ American Indian stamp on cover really are, particularly those that are commercial in nature, yet here I am sharing another new addition to my collection: my third solo cover in the past three months.

This particular envelope was mailed from the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey, headquartered in New York City, to New Haven, Connecticut, in December 1923, just a few months after the American Indian stamp was issued.

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey

As I explain in my write-up about the cover, the 14¢ postage paid for two ounces at 2¢ per ounce, plus 10¢ for registration.

It has long seemed to me that of the various potential solo uses of the American Indian stamp, a double-weight registered cover would have been about the most common even though the 14¢ rate for such a cover was only in effect for the first couple of years of the stamp’s use, but it wasn’t until my last few acquisitions that I started seeing a definite trend to support that. Of the six apparent commercial solo uses of this stamp in my collection, three of them are double-weight registered envelopes.

2020 annual supplement available for The Philosateleian

As you’re probably aware if you’ve been using The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album for any time at all, I release updated album pages four times a year, with spaces for stamps from long-running sets getting grouped with other stamps from the same series. I prefer to have pages ready for new stamps within a few months of when those stamps are issued, and to keep sets together as much as possible, even if that does mean having to reprint a few pages from time to time.

Not everyone feels the same way, of course, and for each of the past several years, I’ve also released an annual update. This includes my regular pages for a particular year plus a page or pages containing spaces for stamps that fit into earlier sets. With that in mind, I’ve released my 2020 annual supplement for The Philosateleian, which you can download at your convenience from the Annual section on my list of individual stamp album pages.

If you follow the recommended quarterly update track, you don’t need to download this update, but if you print new pages only once a year, it’s for you.

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