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

Philosateleian Blog

The American Indian and a souvenir cocoanut

If you collect postal history, there’s no question that standard covers with their various markings can tell quite a story, weaving together geography and history and culture in a tidy little package. But it isn’t just letters that get sent through the mail; sometimes packages do, too.

Most people don’t hang on to pieces of material used to package a gift or purchase, but we can be grateful that someone saved this parcel label used to mail a “souvenir cocoanut” from Miami, Florida, to Oley, Pennsylvania, in the 1920s.

Front of parcel label bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian parcel label mailed from Miami, Florida

Naturally, my particular interest in this piece was due to the solo use of the 14¢ American Indian stamp that paid postage. If you’re interested, I’ve written up a short piece explaining the likely postage rate paid.

In recent years, I’ve added nothing to my 14¢ American Indian collection other than on-cover or on-piece solo uses of the stamp. This one turned up in an auction listing earlier this year, and I was happy to snag it.

Making the move

As I mentioned in the May issue of the Philosateleian Post Horn, my family and I recently moved from the house we had been renting for the past few years to our very own home. It’s something we would not have been able to do without our family’s generosity, but here we are.

The past few months have been an absolute whirlwind of activity, and it has only been within the couple of weeks that life has slowed down enough for me to begin catching up on correspondence and blog posts, which is why you may have noticed I went quiet for a while. It’s not that I didn’t want to do those things; there were simply too many other tasks of greater priority on my to-do list.

The torrential flow of activities that goes along with a move seems to be slowing a bit now, though, and I’ve been working my way through responding to letters and emails. If you’ve sent me a note within the past three months and not yet gotten a response, you should receive one soon. My new address, should you need to send a note via the mail, is:

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

Likewise, I’m nearing the point of having shared with you all the local post stamps and other material that had piled up in the weeks leading up to and immediately following our move. I do still have a rather interesting parcel post piece from the 1920s to write up, but I need to do a little bit of research on it first to make sure I have my facts straight. All in good time.

I appreciate your patience while I was “out of pocket,” and hope to get back to a more normal schedule as we finish up the last of the big-ticket items that need addressing. Happy collecting!

Bat’s Private Post issues seals, postal tax stamps

Bat’s Private Post, a local post based in Beverly Hills, California, this spring released two large sets of stamps that I have not previously mentioned here.

The first is a set of non-denominated official stamps or seals that will be used to seal packets of letters being transported between different Bat’s Private Post facilities. Each of the eight seals issued on March 27 is die-cut with scalloped corners, with the following subjects on the seal for each location:

  • Beverly Hills: Romanoff’s (restaurant)
  • Hawaiian Islands: Waikiki sunset
  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Skull & crossbones
  • Los Angeles: Bat
  • Los Angeles Zoo: California condor
  • Mexico City: Mexican arms
  • Palm Springs: Ocotillo plant (Fouquieria splendens)
  • San Diego: San Diego Mission Palm (illustration from vintage postcard)
Bat’s Private Post Inter-office Post stamps
Bat’s Private Post Inter-office Post stamps

On April 11, Bat’s Private Post issued a set of six postal tax stamps intended to raise funds for relief efforts related to the Yemeni Civil War, which began in 2014, as well as two postal tax due stamps. Between April 15 and July 4, and again from September 15 to December 31, all mail carried by Bat’s Private Post is being taxed according to the following structure:

  • Letters and large envelopes: 10¢
  • Parcles: 20¢
  • Freightsheets: $1

The set includes these stamps:

  • 10¢: Mother and child
  • 20¢: Dar al-Jahar (museum)
  • 50¢: Early Yemeni stamp
  • $1: Yemenis searching through rubble
  • $2: Military aircraft dropping bomb
  • 63¢ + $1: Yemeni Arabian Nights stamp (semipostal with postal tax included in price)
  • 10¢ & 20¢: postal tax due
Bat’s Private Post Yemen Relief stamps
Bat’s Private Post Yemen Relief stamps

Official seals and postal tax stamps are, in my experience, uncommon in the local post world, so kudos to Bat’s Private Post operator Scott Z. for his creativity.

For more information about any of these stamps, you can write to:

Bat’s Private Post
PO Box 11175
Beverly Hills CA 90213-4175
United States of America

Pink rose used on Boys Town business reply envelopes

Sometime in late April or early May, I received a fundraising mailing from Boys Town containing another in their ongoing run of business reply envelopes bearing stamp-sized images. In this case, there are five examples of a design featuring a pink rose that are arranged along the top edge of the envelope to the left of the “No postage necessary if mailed in the United States” message.

Boys Town business reply envelope bearing five copies of a stamp-sized design picturing a pink rose
Boys Town business reply envelope bearing stamp-sized designs picturing a pink rose

As with most of the Boys Town BREs I’ve received, the images in question are printed directly on the envelope rather than being stickers or labels applied to it. They would seem far more like cinderella stamps if they were individual labels like some of the earlier envelopes of this type that I saw had on them. Nevertheless, it’s a colorful design that might appeal to you if you like flowers.

Purgatory Post celebrates space missions, Smithsonian leader

As I continue to try to catch up on blog posts, perhaps nothing proves just how far behind I’d gotten as the fact that I have three months’ worth of new issues from New Hampshire’s Purgatory Post to share with you!

The first pair of 16-sola stamps, which were issued on April 6, 2022, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission between April 16 and April 27, 1972. One of the stamps depicts astronauts John Young, Ken Mattingly, and Charles Duke and the launch of their spacecraft, while the other has a reproduction of the mission patch and a photo of Young standing next to the Apollo Lunar Module.

Purgatory Post 16-sola stamps picturing Apollo 16 astronauts, spacecraft, Apollo Lunar Module, and mission patch
Purgatory Post 16-sola Apollo 16 stamps

Next up is a pair of stamps celebrating the successful launch of SpaceX Crew-4 on April 27 of this year. Astronauts Robert Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins, and Kjell Lindgren are pictured along with their spacecraft’s launch on one of the stamps, while the Crew Dragon and mission patch are shown on the second stamp. The 4-sola stamps were issued on May 4.

Purgatory Post 4-sola stamps picturing SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts, spacecraft, and mission patch
Purgatory Post 4-sola SpaceX Crew-4 stamps

Finally, Purgatory Post on June 8 issued a single stamp in miniature sheets of four that has a personal connection to its designer. Dr. Charles Greeley Abbot (1872–1973) was an astrophysicist who served as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1928 until 1944. According to Purgatory Post’s operator, Scott A., his great-great-uncle maintained an office at the Smithsonian and continued working there until shortly before his death at the age of 101! He held more than a dozen patents related to solar energy, and also helped negotiate the return of the Wright Brothers’ flyer from England to the United States.

The 17-sola Charles Greeley Abbot stamp commemorates the 150th anniversary of Abbot’s birth.

Purgatory Post 17-sola stamp picturing Dr. Charles Greeley Abbot
Purgatory Post 17-sola Dr. Charles Greeley Abbot stamp

And with that, I think we’re caught up on Purgatory Post stamps. My hope is to do a better job of letting you know about new issues moving forward!

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