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

Philosateleian Blog

Another meaning for “dead letter office”

While standing at the counter at my local post office earlier this evening, a couple of outgoing packages stacked behind the counter caught my attention. The boxes were not large, but they bore dark labels with bold white lettering reading “CREMATED REMAINS.”

It turns out you can actually mail the ashes of a family member or pet, but the United States Postal Service has some pretty specific guidelines regarding how to go about doing that. According to the USPS publication How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains, ashes must be packed inside a “siftproof” container that is placed within a strong outer box; in other words, officials don’t want Aunt Mildred to end up scattered around some postal facility.

In addition, the USPS requires cremated remains to be shipped via Priority Mail Express. That service is not cheap, but on the plus side, Grandpa shouldn’t be late for his own funeral.

I joke a little bit here, but seriously, it is pretty cool that folks who are dealing with the loss of a loved one have a way to literally send them on to their final resting place. It is also a service I’d just as soon never have to use, but it’s nice to know it’s available if I do.

Philosateleian Post celebrates National Park Service centennial with new local post stamp

The National Park Service turns 100 years old this year, and Philosateleian Post is commemorating the major milestone with a new local post stamp. The green and orange stamp featuring a view of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be issued on May 2.

National Park Service Centennial stamp
National Park Service Centennial stamp

The new stamp’s vignette is based on a photograph taken by Kevin Blackston in October 2015 while traveling through Tennessee and North Carolina on US Highway 441. It is the second Philosateleian Post stamp to feature a scene from a national park—a 2014 issue honored Yosemite National Park—and the latest in a long string of Philosateleian stamps picturing landscapes.

“The national parks located throughout the United States of America contain some of the country’s most beautiful scenic vistas,” says Blackston, proprietor of the local post based in Jacksonville, Florida. “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several of them myself: Great Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

“The National Park Service performs a vital role in preserving and protecting some of our nation’s greatest natural treasures, and I congratulate the agency on its centennial celebration.”

With approximately 10 million visitors annually, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the United States. The park is renowned for its colorful fall foliage, and within its borders live hundreds of black bears, plus deer, elk, and turkeys.

Technical Specifications

Format: sheets of 48 (6×8). Design size: 36×21 mm. Separation method: perforated 12. Adhesive: water-activated dry gum. Printing method: inkjet.

Philatelic Services

To receive a mint single of Philosateleian Post’s National Park Service Centennial stamp, or for first day cover service, send either $2 or a self-addressed stamped envelope and your request to:

Kevin Blackston
Philosateleian Post
PO Box 57622
Jacksonville FL 32241-7622
United States of America

About Philosateleian Post

Founded in 2004, Philosateleian Post transports mail only from the Philosateleian Embassy to the nearest mail receptacle or post office. This private local post exists solely for the enjoyment of its proprietor and does not compete with any official mail service. For more information, please visit

Claude’s the man, or at least a generous sort

I just want to take a moment to thank Claude R. for his generous contribution near the end of February to help support Philosateleia. Claude is the latest of several readers who have given cash gifts over the past few months, and I really do appreciate every one of them. Thanks again!

A bird on the envelope

I’ve fallen rather dreadfully behind on sharing scans of some of the awesome pieces of mail and stamps that I’ve received over the last few months, but I’m going to try to rectify that starting with this:

Cover bearing collage comprised of images of bird and leaves and part of a vintage envelope front
Bird cover

This item came from Linda W. of Happy Day Mail. Linda has done some marvelous things with scraps of postal history, bug-eaten and half-missing covers that have virtually no philatelic value left. As you can see, the collage she created includes part of an old cover front dating back to the 19th century.

If everything that ended up in my mailbox looked like this, I’d be even more excited about checking the mail!

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