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

Philosateleian Blog

14¢ American Indian cover features Indian River postmark

The newest addition to my collection of covers bearing the 14¢ American Indian stamp is just as philatelic as they come. It’s an event cover commemorating the dedication of the Calvin Campbell Airport in Michigan, and it was postmarked in Indian River, Michigan, on August 24, 1936.

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp and postmarked in Indian River, Michigan
14¢ American Indian cover postmarked in Indian River, Michigan

While the 14¢ American Indian saw plenty of legitimate commercial use while in service, albeit relatively little solo usage, the stamp seems to have been a popular choice for collectors preparing covers with even the most remote connections to Native Americans.

The Indian River postmark with this stamp, although entirely philatelic, is nice enough in and of itself, but also of note is that the stamp on this cover shows what I think could be evidence of a double transfer.

Note the presence of a faint apparent curve through the tops of the “ATES” in “STATES,” as well as an extraneous curve or scratch near the bottom of the “D” in “UNITED.” When I first noticed this, I thought I might be seeing visual artifacts in my scan, but I went back and checked the stamp using a 10× magnifier, and the extra marks are actually present.

Detail of 14¢ American Indian stamp showing traces of possible double transfer in “UNITED STATES” lettering
Detail of possible 14¢ American Indian double transfer

This is the first time I’ve personally seen this variety, but now that I know it exists, I’ll be on the lookout for potential additional examples.

Nineteen Eighty-Four fantasy stamps tip of cap to 2+2

In October 2020, I prepared for my own entertainment a fantasy stamp inspired by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. That stamp featured three slogans that the book described as prominent on the side of the Ministry of Truth: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

Another well-known motif from Nineteen Eighty-Four is the idea that the totalitarian government in charge of Oceania, with its complete control over everything, could make a falsehood true simply by declaring it.

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.

“You are a slow learner, Winston,” said O’Brien gently.

“How can I help it?” he blubbered. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”

“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.”

With those two passages in mind, I’ve designed a block of nine additional fantasy stamps, each of which features one of three formulas: 2+2=3, 2+2=4, or 2+2=5.

Oceania fantasy stamps bearing formulas 2+2=3, 2+2=4, and 2+2=5
Oceania “2+2” fantasy stamps

As with my earlier Oceania stamp, I have no intentions of trying to market or sell these stamps since Ninety Eighty-Four will still be under copyright protection in the United States for some time to come. Consider them to be fan art, a tip of my cap to the fact that there are absolutes, things that are true no matter what anyone else says.

Purgatory Post commemorates Cilleyville Bridge

New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post on April 6 issued the newest stamp in its series of stamps depicting covered bridges. The 16-sola design pictures Cilleyville Bridge in Andover, New Hampshire.

16-sola Purgatory Post stamp picturing Cilleyville Bridge
Purgatory Post Cilleyville Bridge stamp

The 53′ long structure was built in 1887 and spans Pleasant Brook. The bridge is known for having a slight tilt; according to Purgatory Post operator Scott A., local legend is that two of the carpenters who helped build the bridge intentionally cut some timbers short after getting upset with the man in charge of the project. A less amusing explanation is that the tilt is a result of the bridge’s underlying design.

According to a New Hampshire state website, Cilleyville Bridge was originally known as Bog Bridge, while another nearby span over the Blackwater River was named Cilleyville Bridge; however, after that structure was dismantled in 1908, the bridge that still stands today inherited the original bridge’s name.

The state of New Hampshire has several dozen covered bridges, so we can expect this set of Purgatory Post stamps to continue for some time to come.

Bat’s Private Post issues Cosmopolitan Hotel postal card

Bat’s Private Post of California in late March issued a new 41¢ postal card picturing the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego. The front of the card features a color photo of the hotel itself, while the reverse bears the Beverly Hills-based local post’s name and the postal card’s denomination.

Reverse of 41¢ Bat’s Private Post postal card
Bat’s Private Post Cosmopolitan Hotel postal card (reverse)
Front of 41¢ Bat’s Private Post postal card picturing Cosmopolitan Hotel in San Diego, California
Bat’s Private Post Cosmopolitan Hotel postal card picturing Cosmopolitan Hotel

A handwritten note from the local post’s operator indicates that the postal card was issued for use in “a new traveling post office.” The copy that I received in the mail was postmarked by Bat’s Private Post and the United States Postal Service on March 24.

This postal card is not the first unusual local post item that we’ve seen from Bat’s Private Post. As you may recall, the outfit earlier this year issued a set of four freightsheets for World Local Post Day.

Renewal by Andersen ad uses presorted standard stamp

While I’ve posted on occasion about mail pieces that I’ve received from various non-profit organizations, receiving any piece of advertising mail that’s not related to a charity but still appeals to me as a stamp collector is a real rarity these days. Nevertheless, last month I did receive a flyer that fits that description from Renewal by Andersen.

This advertisement is printed on a single unfolded sheet of heavy paper that I normally would have tossed into the trash can or recycle bin except for one thing: it has a genuine United States postage stamp on it! It’s a presorted standard stamp issued in 2020, but a stamp it is.

Renewal by Andersen flyer with 2020 presorted standard stamp affixed
Renewal by Andersen flyer with presorted standard stamp

The return address on the mail piece is in Austin, Texas, but the stamp is tied by a Minneapolis, Minnesota, mailer’s postmark. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was part of a campaign involving Andersen outlets in multiple regions with all of the advertisements distributed from a single location, but I don’t have proof of that one way or the other.

I do think it’s interesting that the mailer chose to use stamps. Conventional thinking is that the use of non-profit or presorted standard stamps on business envelopes boosts open rates, but it’s kind of difficult to believe that it would make much difference one way or the other on something using this particular format.

My guess is that few mail pieces like this are ever saved, so who knows? It’s not likely to ever be valuable, but one day this could be a modern postal history rarity.

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