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

Philosateleian Blog

New Philosateleian Post local post stamp commemorates model railroading

On Tuesday, August 1, Philosateleian Post will release its 30th different stamp with a new issue commemorating model railroading. The stamp features a stylized silhouette of the front portion of a locomotive.

Philosateleian Post model railroading stamp
Model railroading

“When I was a kid, and we would go to visit my grandparents, my granddad would take me down to the basement to see his HO-scale train layout,” says Kevin Blackston, propietor of Philosateleian Post. “It’s a grand hobby and I’m pleased to be able to recognize it with this new stamp.”

In addition to the locomotive’s silhouette, the new 1-stamp stamp bears the legend “Gordon Cooper Special,” a tribute to Blackston’s late grandfather, Gordon Forehand (1936–2016).

Technical Specifications

Format: sheets of 48 (6×8). Design size: 28×28 mm. Separation method: perforated 12. Adhesive: water-activated dry gum. Printing method: inkjet.

Philatelic Services

To receive a mint single of Philosateleian Post’s model railroading stamp, or for first day cover service, send either $2 or a self-addressed stamped envelope and your request to:

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

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

Summer heats up with Total Solar Eclipse stamps

One day earlier this week when I came home for lunch, I headed straight for the refrigerator and placed a newly-purchased sheet of stamps inside. Sarah looked at me like I had completely lost my mind, and maybe she’s right, but I wanted to cool off those stamps in a hurry so I could show her how they work.

United States stamps picturing total solar eclipse
United States total solar eclipse stamps

The new Total Solar Eclipse stamp features a special heat-sensitive ink that when warm turns clear to reveal the surface features of the moon. When cool, the moon is represented only as a black disc. It doesn’t take much heat to spark the transition, either—just touching one of the stamps with your finger or thumb for a couple of seconds is enough.

Much like the new ball stamps, the Total Solar Eclipse is without question unnecessary and gimmicky, but I like it. Is it likely to attract droves of new collectors to the hobby? Probably not, but I have no problem with the USPS trying something new.

(For what it’s worth, I don’t usually put stamps in the refrigerator, nor do I recommend that you do so, either. It was simply a quick way to get the stamps back to their “normal” state.)

New ball stamps have textured surfaces

When the USPS first unveiled the designs of the recently-released ball stamps, my initial reaction was one of indifference. Sure, the stamps are round, but they’re hardly the first round stamps the United States has released; for example, all of the so-called Global Forever stamps have been round.

United States stamps picturing football, volleyball, soccer ball, golf ball, baseball, basketball, tennis ball, and kickball
United States ball stamps

What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that the eight stamps—one each for football, volleyball, soccer, golf, baseball, basketball, tennis, and kickball—are textured. Run your finger across the surface of one of the stamps, and you can actually feel that ball!

In my opinion, the golf ball and kickball textures are the best, while the treatment is probably least effective for the football and the tennis ball. The tennis ball in particular would have benefitted from being a bit fuzzy, but perhaps postal officials didn't want green fibers gumming up their processing equipment.

Is this an “unnecessary” stamp issue? Certainly. Is it gimmicky? Without a doubt. Nevertheless, I like these stamps, and will keep a set for my collection. That’s something I don’t say about many modern stamps, but these are neat enough for me to want to save them.

Summer 2017 update for The Philosateleian

I’m posting a bit later than normal, but I’m happy to say that the Summer 2017 Supplement (169 KB, 3 files, 8 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now online! You can download and print these pages, which include spaces for the United States stamps issued over the past three months, at your convenience.

(If you’ve made the switch to The Philosateleian’s annual upgrade track, don’t forget to skip this update and wait for the complete set of 2017 pages to be released early next year. Otherwise, go get the update now.)

30¢ bison double transfer variety

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the TSDA San Antonio Stamp Show on Sunday, and stumbled across this beauty while browsing through a dealer’s stock book.

30-cent Bison stamp with double transfer evident in righthand '30' and word 'Postage'
30¢ Bison variety with double transfer

The 30¢ bison stamp is part of the Fourth Bureau issue. It was printed in sheets of 400 that were then split into panes of 100 for distribution to post offices. On one of the printing plates that was used, the design of one stamp was partially entered twice, resulting in this stunning variety. The double transfer is most obvious in the righthand “30” and in the “STAGE” of “POSTAGE.”

This is a remarkably easy variety to spot even with the naked eye, but it’s one that’s worth watching for since the catalogue value for a mint copy is roughly 10 times that of a normal stamp. If you can pick up the variety for the price of a normal copy, you’re getting a bargain.

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