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

Philosateleian Blog

Final 2016 stats for Philosateleian Post

While 2015 was a busy year for Philosateleian Post, my private local post, it didn't quite match 2014’s numbers for mail carried. It looks like I mailed just over 340 pieces of mail last year, nearly a piece per day but only about 83% of my total from the previous year.

The totals in most categories remained about the same, the exceptions being packages—we sold a few odds and ends after doing some cleaning out last year, which meant I had a lot more stuff of that sort to ship—and what I call “business mail,” which consists of bill payments and donations and such. For whatever reason, I sent much less of that sort of mail in 2015 than in the year before, probably because I wasn’t quite as active selling on eBay. It certainly doesn’t feel like I had fewer bills to pay!

This year, more than two dozen pieces of mail bearing Philosateleian Post stamps have already gone out. Roughly half of those were first day covers for my local post stamp celebrating The Philosateleian’s 10th anniversary, but still, it’s a busy start to the year.

A boost for Philosateleia to start 2016

I wrote last week about how James F. made a generous donation to support Philosateleia. This week, one of Philosateleia’s most consistent supporters over the past several years, Suzanne M., also chipped in with a cash gift that will be applied toward the site’s Web hosting expenses. Thank you, Suzanne!

As always, there are several ways you can help, too, many of which don’t involve money at all.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I’ve been trying to catch up a bit on various things in life following lots of time with extended family during the last couple of months of the year. My goal is to get several blog posts written this month, so check back soon!

A big gift from a valued supporter

A little more than a year and a half ago, I mentioned receiving a generous donation from James F., who wanted to show his support for Philosateleia. I’m very pleased to say that James has chipped in again, this time with a gift that should cover a large chunk of my website-related expenses for 2016. Thank you, James!

There are many other supporters who have also contributed over the years, both financially and by helping to promote Philosateleia. Like James, they have helped me to pay the web hosting bills and encouraged me to keep working on the project. If you are one of those supporters, thank you; if not, you can thank them for helping to make it possible to keep Philosateleia online.

Getting an antique perforator across the border

As you might be aware, I’ve been tracking online sales of antique perforating machines for nearly two years now. Based on the data I had accumulated, I recently wrote an article that appeared in the November/December issue of the Local Post Collectors Society’s publication, The Poster, titled “Antique Perforating Machines: Availability and Cost to the Modern Local Post Operator.”

My article triggered responses from a couple of other LPCS members, including Art C. of Alabama, who purchased an antique Rosback in 2004. As I learned during my own search for an antique perforator, these machines don’t turn up for sale every day, but when one does, it seems like there’s about a 50-50 chance that it will be a Rosback. In that respect, Art’s acquisition isn’t that unusual.

What I did find notable about Art’s story is that he had to go all the way to Canada to pick up the machine, and while his trip up went smoothly and he got the perforator loaded into the back of a rented SUV, getting the perforator back into the United States was more challenging than he expected due to a polite but suspicious customs official at the border crossing who had a few questions about the hulking machine in the back of the vehicle:

“At first she wanted to know what it was, and then what it was that it was supposed to perforate. Later we got on to what business I was involved in that would use such a thing. I kept trying to assure her it was not for any business but was for my hobby.

“I’m sure from her point of view this was the day she had been training for her entire career. Throughout this questioning, she was holding my passport and flipping through the pages. I had obtained the passport many years earlier but had never had an occasion to use it; there wasn’t a single mark on any of its pages.

“I guess she was wondering about many things during our conversation about the dark green device in the back of my vehicle but she eventually became satisfied that I was merely a ‘stamp collector’ and provided the first and only official stamp in my passport and wished me a pleasant trip.”

I can’t imagine too many antique perforators cross national borders when they’re sold, but Art’s account certainly does highlight something to keep in mind if you do want to buy a perforator that’s currently outside of your own country.

Art concludes his account with the following thoughts:

“My advice to anyone looking for a perforator would be to first find the one they really like, and then set about working out the details of getting it. I liked the fact that my Rosback had been in one place for many years, was well cared for, and was in perfect working order. The difficulty of getting it home was secondary to all that, and in fact resulted in a very memorable journey.”

My thanks to Art for giving me permission to share his story here.

The Punk Philatelist: an irreverent look at stamp collecting

A month or two ago, I somehow ran across a stamp collecting blog that I’d never seen before: The Punk Philatelist. The title itself struck me as curious since “punk” is not a word often associated with us stamp collectors. I think the word my wife used was more along the lines of “dork”—but that’s a story for another time.

The blogger behind The Punk Philatelist is a woman in Australia; beyond that, she offers no clues to her identity, though she does use some salty language in her posts. I personally don’t think that’s necessary at all, but it’s her blog; you’ve been warned.

What the Punk Philatelist does do that I think is worth noting is provide a youth-oriented (by which I mean under 40) look at the hobby in an often irreverent manner. For example, an October entry is titled “Watch a rich person pay $85,000 for something a rat peed on.” That’s not exactly the sort of headline you’ll see in The American Philatelist or Linn’s, but it certainly gets your attention!

The Punk Philatelist is not updated on a daily basis, but new material is posted somewhat regularly. If you can overlook the occasional foul language and don’t mind a fellow collector pointing out a few of philatelists’ foibles, you might find it worth a look.

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