My collection of the 14¢ American Indian stamp has grown a bit over the past month, and two of the additions are of special note.
First, I snagged this great plate flaw on eBay! If you look closely, you can see that there is a diagonal scratch running from the “ED” of “UNITED” nearly all the way down to the bottom of the vignette. This variety is not listed in Loran French's seminal work, Encyclopedia of Plate Varieties on U.S. Bureau-Printed Postage Stamps, but that book was admittedly published nearly 40 years ago.
The other American Indian item that I’m more than a little excited about came by way of a postal history dealer. I’ve generated a detailed writeup, but the summary is that it is an extremely scarce example of the 14¢ stamp paying the quadruple-weight international surface letter rate that was in effect in 1934 (five cents for the first ounce, and three cents for each additional ounce).
This is a “show me another one” kind of item, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.
In addition to its better known treadle-operated models, Rosback produced several different tabletop perforators. This lovely piece of machinery with its utilitarian military green paint is neither the oldest nor the newest of those tabletop machines, but somewhere in the middle, probably dating to the 1930s.
As is often the case with these old machines, this one has some cosmetic wear. For example, the alignment guide that was originally bolted on to the front of the wooden table has been removed. In addition, the bolt that secures the handle to the perforator apparently broke at some point, and a previous owner drilled a hole through the handle and the shaft to which it attaches, securing the handle with a replacement bolt and square nut not original to the machine. From what the owner of another one of these perforators has told me, I get the idea that this is probably actually an improvement over the original design, as it’s impossible for the handle to slip on the shaft when the machine is being operated.
Despite these minor wear and tear notes, the perforator works flawlessly. It has all of its pins, which are nice and sharp—not worn out—and that means you can punch a 10-inch long line of nice, crisp holes. As a bonus, the perforator still has its original wooden table; that’s something a lot of perforating machines (including the Franklin I originally purchased) have lost along the way. In addition, the rear of the table has an adjustable guide that can be used to align the paper you’re perforating.
So, how much am I asking for this beautiful item? It can be yours for just $500 plus shipping (unless you make a trip to San Antonio to pick it up). If you come to San Antonio, or if I ship to a Texas address, I also have to collect 8.25% sales tax since various state and local government entities want their piece of the pie, too.
The perforator weighs somewhere around 65 pounds. I’ll ship the perforator itself and the wooden table in separate packages to help make them as manageable as possible.
If you’re interested, please contact me right away; include your address so I can provide an estimate of the shipping cost, and let me know how you plan to use the machine. I look forward to getting it into a good home!
Stamp club meeting cancelled as Hurricane Harvey approaches
As you may have seen on the news, Hurricane Harvey is headed toward Texas. The forecast calls for lots of rain and some wind in the San Antonio area over the weekend.
Although it’s still unclear when bad weather may arrive, the San Antonio Philatelic Association is cancelling its scheduled club meeting for this week. “As much as we may love our hobby, there is no reason to tempt Mother Nature as to the arrival time of this storm,” wrote SAPA Treasurer Fred Groth earlier today. “The bourse scheduled for this Friday is cancelled.”
In addition, next Friday is part of a holiday weekend, so no meeting is scheduled for that day, either. That means the next SAPA meeting will be held on September 8.
Cvrsvs Pvblicvs fantasy stamps for the Roman Empire
During the Roman Empire’s glory days, the government maintained an official courier system known as the cvrsvs pvblicvs. The cvrsvs pvblicvs could be used by those who had the emperor’s special permission to transport messages and goods between locations.
Although the cvrsvs pvblicvs was not a postal system in the modern sense of the term, I thought it would be fun to imagine what the Romans’ stamps would have looked like if they had used stamps, so I created these fantasy stamps.
The stamps are inscribed “solvm officialis” to indicate that they were valid for official use only. There is a less common variant that anachronistically uses “lorem ipsvm” placeholder text—an obvious error that no doubt would have greatly displeased the emperor.