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

Philosateleian Blog

APC flag error labels surface on mail from New York

I’ve written in the past about Automated Postal Center or Self-Service Kiosk labels, a form of print-on-demand postage that can be purchased from kiosks at USPS locations here in the United States. Errors with designs printed on the wrong paper or even with no design at all are far from unheard of, but it had probably been a couple of years since I’d run across any.

A couple of years, that is, until last week, when I received a note mailed from New York, New York, using one of the preprinted U.S. flag labels with the USPS logo printed on top!

Cover bearing APC U.S. Flag label with USPS logo printed on top
APC U.S. Flag label with USPS logo printed on top on cover

This is obviously an example of the sort of label produced by a machine that has had preprinted paper stock loaded in it, but that has not been reprogrammed by a post office employee to properly print only the barcode and related information.

Interestingly, my correspondent included a SASE bearing another label presumably printed at the same time and location. Whereas the example on the cover mailed to me was a Forever stamp, this one is a $1.15 label intended to pay international postage. It has a full-size barcode with other information printed over the flag.

APC U.S. Flag label with barcode and text printed on top
APC U.S. Flag label with barcode and text printed on top

As I’ve written previously, the market for this sort of material is pretty thin even though the basic labels are listed in the Computer Vended Postage section of the Scott Specialized Catalogue. Nevertheless, these “error” labels are fun items to have when you run across them.

Fall 2018 update for The Philosateleian

It’s hard to believe we’re already into September, but that’s the case, and that means it’s time for the Fall 2018 Supplement (166 KB, 3 file, 8 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album. You can download and print these new and updated pages for your stamp album at your convenience.

This is the penultimate update for The Philosateleian for 2018. The final quarterly update of the year should be released in December, and then my 2018 annual update for those on the yearly update track will be released in January 2019.

Thank you as always for your interest and support, and happy collecting!

Principality of Thanatos registered cover is a visual treat

Earlier this week, I received in my capacity as editor of The Poster, the Local Post Collectors Society’s journal, a note from Damian Robinson, Postmaster General for the Principality of Thanatos. The Principality, which is part of the micronation scene, is said to exist on a small island off the Scottish coast.

Naturally, this micronation has its own stamps. Mr. Robinson’s letter was inside this envelope, which was itself enclosed and mailed in an envelope bearing appropriate British postage.

Front of registered cover bearing Principality of Thanatos stamps
Principality of Thanatos stamps on registered cover

Starting clockwise from upper left, the stamps, all of which were issued this year, depict:

  • £4 A Dream of Spring by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
  • 50p Passionflower
  • £1 Island of Thanatos
  • £1 Badger
  • 50p Sun parrots & Occussi-Ambeno gold coin
  • £2 Graf Zeppelin & Occussi-Ambeno silver coin

I thought the cover was very well done with its registration label and markings on the front. Then I flipped it over and discovered an additional form on the reverse: a receipt for registered mail that I (as postmaster for Philosateleian Post) am apparently intended to complete and return to the sending postal authority. What a hoot!

Reverse of registered cover bearing receipt for registered mail
Receipt for registered mail on cover’s reverse

This sort of material is definitely on the fringes of “traditional” philately, but there’s no doubt that it makes for an interesting side collection, and I’m impressed with the sender’s creativity. I’ll be writing up these stamps for the next issue of The Poster.

Solo use of American Indian stamp on a registered mail cover

A number of years ago, I decided to begin seeking out examples of my favorite stamp, the 14¢ American Indian, on cover. Since then, I’ve accumulated a number of examples, but only a couple of non-FDC/philatelic solo uses.

Only a couple, that is, until very recently, when I was able to pick up this lovely piece of registered mail sent between two banks in 1924:

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from bank in Chicago, Illinois

This is a fine example of the 14¢ stamp paying postage on a two-ounce letter (at a rate of 2¢ per ounce) plus a 10¢ registration fee. On the surface, it seems like it would be the most easily achieved example of a 14¢ rate during the stamp’s period of use, but the registration fee increased from 10¢ to 15¢ less than two years after the stamp was issued, so maybe it’s not as common as I might have thought.

I’ve prepared a full writeup on this cover as part of my online exhibit, 14 Cents: the American Indian Stamp.

Purgatory Post’s 200th stamp issue features Chauncey Ryder painting

Modern local posts come and go with many of them issuing only a few stamps, but Purgatory Post is a definite exception to that. The New Hampshire based local post earlier this month released its 200th stamp issue, an impressive milestone indeed!

The new 4-sola stamp reproduces The Camp, a painting by Chauncey Ryder (1868–1949), a Postimpressionist painter active in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Purgatory Post 4-sola stamp picturing The Camp by Chauncey Ryder
The Camp

According to Purgatory Post proprietor Scott Abbot, the painting pictures a small cabin in Cape Porpoise, Maine, most likely during the early 1920s. Scott says according to family lore, one of the three figures around the fire is his grandmother, so the painting has a family connection for him.

Scott has previously reproduced other Ryder works on his stamps, including a landscape depicting a New Hampshire brook.

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