Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Another 14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaws

I’ve previously mentioned finding a couple of 14¢ American Indian stamps with some nice plate flaws, and I recently ran across another one.

14-cent American Indian stamp with plate scratches in left quarter of vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate scratches

As you can see, this stamp has a couple of things going on in the left quarter of the vignette. There’s a diagonal scratch running nearly from the chief’s eye up toward the “TE” of “UNITED,” plus a smaller but very distinct apparent scratch or gouge just inside the vignette frame to the right of the “U” of “UNITED.”

This sort of item is unlikely to ever hold a great deal of value above what a normal example is worth, but it does give me a way to add some interesting material to my collection at minimal cost.

World War I centennial stamp on first day cover

I’ve been intending for some time now to post a scan of my most recent Philosateleain Post stamp on a first day cover I mailed to myself back in January. Spring cleaning and life in general kept getting in the way, but hey—I have a couple of minutes, so here it is!

1-stamp End of World War I Philosateleian Post stamp on first day cover
End of World War I FDC

I’m not at all surprised when I see one of my local post stamps with a big scrape across its surface—mail processing equipment seems to reach out and grab my stamps for some reason—but this one somehow made it through relatively unscathed. It’s a nice addition to my collection.

Apparent Washington coil stamp turns up in stamp dealer’s postcard box

While browsing through a box of postcards at the local stamp shop a couple of weeks ago, I ran across a card that caught my attention because it has what appears to be a coil stamp from the Washington-Franklin series, the third Bureau issue.

1-cent George Washington stamp on 1914 postcard picturing Niagara River
1¢ George Washington stamp on 1914 postcard

Although it’s obviously not one of the earliest coils since it’s not perforated 12 or 8½ vertically, even some of the later Washington-Franklin coils can if genuine have a catalogue value of a couple of bucks, so I paid the asking price of $0.50. You can probably imagine my surprise when I consulted my Scott catalogue that evening and realized that the stamp is an apparent Scott 443 with an on-cover catalogue value of $60!

As the Scott catalogue notes, the Washington-Franklin coils are frequently faked from trimmed sheet stamps or fraudulently perforated imperforate stamps, but this particular example has a few things going for it. The design’s size is right for a stamp from one of the flat plate printings; it’s tied to the postcard by the cancellation; and the July 6, 1914, postmark is just a few weeks after the earliest known use of the stamp.

There’s always the possibility that the sender was having a little fun and trimmed down a booklet stamp or perforated an imperforate stamp before affixing it to the postcard, but on the surface, at least, it looks good. I’ve shipped it off to APEX for expertizing, so we’ll find out what the experts say!

Spring 2018 update for The Philosateleian

We’re into the third month of 2018, and it’s time once again to update our stamp albums! The Spring 2018 Supplement (346 KB, 3 files, 9 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now available and ready for you to download and print at your convenience.

As mentioned previously, user Steve R. helpfully pointed out a mistake on one of my pages for official stamps, and he has since noted errors on a couple of other pages. Corrected versions of all of those pages are also included in this supplement in case you missed them.

How to insert batteries into Lighthouse L81 UV Lamp

I recently acquired a Lighthouse L81 switchable UV lamp so that I can check my stamps for tagging. It’s a neat little portable device that can be used to check for fluorescent or phosphorescent tagging, and it’s priced at a fraction of what larger models cost.

One of my first questions, though, was, “How do I put batteries in this thing?” It’s easy enough to remove the battery compartment door, but the battery orientation indicators molded into the plastic on the inside of the battery compartment are difficult to see if you don’t have the lamp tilted at just the right angle.

I did eventually figure it out, and thought I’d post a “how-to” video in case you have the same trouble I did.

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