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

Philosateleian Blog

Flag stamp falls clearly in the counterfeit category

When I checked my post office box yesterday, there was only one item inside, but it was one I’d been eagerly anticipating: a 14¢ American Indian cover that I hope to share in a future post. Today, however, I wanted to examine the envelope in which that purchase was shipped.

When I first saw that envelope, something about the stamp on it didn’t look exactly right. I think it was the somewhat jagged left edge of the design that caught my eye, but in any case, I wasn’t sure until I got it home.

Cover bearing counterfeit 2017 United States flag stamp
Cover bearing United States flag stamp

Now, after examining the stamp under a magnifying glass, I know for certain what’s wrong with it. It’s a counterfeit.

How can I be so sure? Well, it’s actually easy. Here are close-ups of the stamp on the envelope and a genuine copy of the same issue.

Counterfeit and genuine 2017 United States flag coil stamps
Left: counterfeit stamp from envelope. Right: genuine stamp.

Note that there is no microprinted “USPS” along the right edge of the fourth red stripe on the counterfeit stamp, while on the genuine there is. Note the repeated circular pattern in the shaded areas of the white stripes on the counterfeit, while the white stripes on the genuine appear more smooth. Note how the edges of some of the letters in the “USA FOREVER” on the counterfeit stamp are poorly defined. Note the poor color registration resulting in a jagged-edged design that was what caught my attention in the first place. And the list goes on.

I’ve blocked out the sender’s return address in my scan of the envelope since they may not even be aware that they’re using counterfeit postage, but I did send them a message through eBay to let them know they might want to take a closer look. Hopefully, now that they’ve been notified, they’ll start using genuine stamps to mail their eBay lots, maybe even some nice commemoratives.

Stamps on trains

At first glance, you might think the title of this post is wrong. This is, after all, a blog about stamps and stamp collecting, so surely I mean trains on stamps?

That is a reasonable guess. And it’s wrong. Let me explain.

My family and I last month visited the Texas Transportation Museum here in San Antonio. In addition to having a couple of old diesel locomotives and a few pieces of rolling stock, the museum has a large building full of old cars, posters, and model trains, including a nicely done HO scale layout running the length of one wall. It was there that I saw my very first stamp on a train since one of the boxcars in the layout bears an image of the 34¢ Greetings from New York stamp from the 2002 Greetings from America sheet.

HO scale boxcar with design of 34¢ Greetings from New York stamp on side
Greetings from New York stamp boxcar

Although it’s not something I’ve ever pursued, model railroading is a hobby that has always held a certain amount of attraction for me. That’s more than likely because my granddad would take me down to his basement when I was a kid and show me his model train setup. It’s a nostalgia thing, and something that I connect with him.

Add stamps to the mix, and I feel a sudden urge to put on a conductor’s cap and start laying track. It may be a good thing that I don’t have room to do so! Anyway, this just goes to show that you can find stamps in unexpected places.

A phoenix, lions, and a king

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long at all, you know my main philatelic interests: the 14¢ American Indian stamp, natural landscapes, and United States postage stamps in general. For the most part, my collecting activities are focused in one of those three areas.

Every once in a while, however, I run across an item that does not fit into any of my collections but still grabs my attention. Such is one of my acquisitions from the Texas Stamp Dealers Association’s San Antonio bourse last month: a 30¢ bicolored stamp issued by Hong Kong on August 29, 1946. This stamp and a $1 companion using the same design were the first postage stamps issued in Hong Kong following World War II.

30¢ Hong Kong stamp picturing King George VI with a pair of lions and a phoenix
Hong Kong 30¢ Peace stamp

We’ve got royalty (in the form of King George VI)! We’ve got lions! We’ve got a phoenix rising from the flames! I get the feeling that if there had been room for a dragon, the designers probably would have included that, too. It’s all rendered in a delightful blue and red that are in my opinion more visually appealing than the colors used for the stamp’s higher value sibling.

This is one beautiful stamp, wouldn’t you agree? And am I alone here, or do you also find yourself occasionally straying from your normal collecting areas if something really catches your eye?

Summer 2019 update for The Philosateleian

I’m happy to announce today that the Summer 2019 Supplement (81.2 KB, 1 file, 8 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now available for your to download and print.

This is a fairly straightforward update containing only a single file that itself contains only eight pages. They provide spaces for all of the United States stamps issued from March–May. Some of those stamps are showing up on incoming mail, so unless you’re on the annual update track, you’ll want to be sure to print this update for your album.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about the pages, and happy collecting!

Purgatory Post commemorates Apollo 10 anniversary

Purgatory Post earlier this month commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission with a pair of 10-sola stamps, the latest in its long-running series honoring major spaceflight anniversaries.

The first of the two stamps from the New Hampshire-based local post pictures crew members Thomas Stafford, John Young, and Gene Cernan along with the mission’s launch. The second stamp includes a picture of the lunar module Snoopy and the Apollo 10 mission patch.

Pair of 10-sola Purgatory Post Apollo 10 stamps picturing crew, spacecraft, lunar module, and mission patch
Purgatory Post Apollo 10 stamps

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing is coming up in July, and we can expect Purgatory Post to commemorate that then.

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