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

Philosateleian Blog

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.

Diagonal plate scratches on 14¢ American Indian stamp

eBay sometimes gets a bad rap in the philatelic community, and that’s probably not without reason. You definitely have to be careful, and there are some things (never-hinged classics with no certificate, for example) that I simply wouldn’t take a chance on. Buyer beware!

In spite of this, some pretty cool items can turn up. Take for instance this 14¢ American Indian stamp. I purchased it not because I thought it was the most beautiful example that I’d ever seen—the bottom perforations are atrocious—but because it shows a plate flaw, a pair of nearly parallel diagonal scratches running from the chief’s shoulder up toward the “N” in “UNITED”, with one of the scratches then reappearing in the left margin to the left of the “IT” in “UNITED.”

14-cent American Indian stamp with diagonal scratches running across vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaw
Closeup of 14-cent American Indian stamp with diagonal scratches running across vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaw (detail)

This sort of flaw is not especially valuable, and the scratches are less distinct than on a stamp I wrote about in November, but it was still an inexpensive and very cool acquisition.

Philosateleian Post sets new records in 2017

2017 drew to a close a little over two weeks ago, but before it did, Philosateleian Post set some new records.

Throughout the course of 2017, Philosateleian Post carried 417 pieces of outgoing mail. That total, which does not include nearly 30 other pieces of mail that were misdelivered or needed to be returned to sender, represents a 27% increase over 2016, and it tops Philosateleian Post’s previous record of 408 pieces of outgoing mail established in 2014. The establishment of the new record follows two years of declining mail volumes.

“‘Real mail’ is alive and well so far as Philosateleian Post is concerned,” says proprietor Kevin Blackston. “In Philosateleian Post’s first year (2004), less than 100 pieces of mail were carried. We’re looking forward to another big year in 2017.”

Business mail comprised over 61% of Philosateleian Post’s volume, with letters and cards representing nearly another 18%. Approximately 10% of the mail carried was addressed to international destinations. Packages, postcards, and local deliveries made up the remainder.

About Philosateleian Post

Founded in 2004, Philosateleian Post transports mail only from the proprietor’s home to the nearest mail receptacle or post office, and does not compete with any official mail service. For more information, please visit

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