Kevin Blackston
PO Box 217
Floresville TX 78114-0217
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Sharing my story of how to make your own stamps

I don’t think it’s any secret that I enjoy making my own stamps; after all, it has been nearly 15 years since I started making stamps for my very own Philosateleian Post. It’s not often that I have an audience other than you and members of the Local Post Collectors Society, however, but that changed last week when I had the opportunity to share my love for local post and cinderella stamp production by delivering a presentation titled “How to Make Your Own Stamps” to the San Antonio Philatelic Association.

Sarah, my wife, tagged along, and got this picture of me explanining the cinderella stamp production process. (The back of my daughter’s head is in the foreground.)

Me presenting at the July 20, 2018, San Antonio Philatelic Association meeting
Me presenting at last week’s SAPA meeting

I realized going in that not everyone would be interested in trying to make their own stamps, so I kept my presentation brief, but still tried to provide enough of an outline to give anyone who was interested an idea of where to start. I focused on three main areas:

  1. Stamp design
  2. Stamp production
  3. Stamp use

My audience was very attentive, and there were several questions at the end of my presentation that I was happy to answer. (I found out that one of the other club members collects cinderellas and was already familiar with several of the local posts that I mentioned!) I also provided sample packets of my own work and stamps produced by others as a freebie for those in attendance. Overall, I thought it went well, and I was happy to hopefully be able to contribute a little something.

Several years ago, I wrote up a blog post titled “How to make a local post stamp” in which I went into detail on how to use Paint.NET to create a stamp design. If you’re interested in trying your hand at stamp creation, that’s not a bad place to start.

The unissued blood plasma stamp of 1945

I’ve been collecting United States postage stamps for the past 25 years or so, and I’ve spent countless hours flipping through the Scott Specialized Catalogue. I think I have a pretty good handle on what stamps the U.S. has issued, but a cover in the 50¢ box at the local stamp store last week left me scratching my head.

With a strip of three 1¢ George Washington coil stamps from the 1938–39 Presidents issue and a 1945 postmark, the cover is fairly nondescript except for a cachet created by C. Stephen Anderson, an early FDC producer. The cachet pictures a medic crouching next to a wounded solider, and its text reads in part:

“The blood plasma stamp was issued to bring to public attention the continuing need for blood plasma for the armed forces and to honor those who have given of their blood that others might live…”

Cover with cachet prepared for proposed blood plasma stamp
Blood Plasma cover

Blood plasma stamp? I didn’t remember a blood plasma stamp, certainly not one issued during World War II. Intrigued, I figured the cover was worth half a buck, and brought it home to do some additional research.

A Google search revealed that there was indeed a plan for a blood plasma stamp in 1945, but that the stamp was never actually issued. According to the National Postal Museum, an essay picturing a medic with a wounded solider was produced, but when President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the design, he thought it was “too horrific” and rejected it outright. World War II ended later in 1945, of course, and apparently the idea was dropped altogether as the stamp was never issued.

So, there you have it. A chance find in the junk box at the local stamp store led me to discover a proposed stamp issue that I never knew had even been considered.

Used and tied to postcard, genuine in all respects

A couple of months ago, I wrote about finding an apparent Scott 443 Washington coil stamp in the $0.50 postcard box at the local stamp store, ABC Stamps. As I mentioned at the time, Washington-Franklin coils are often faked because of their relatively high catalogue value compared to their fully perforated siblings from sheets and booklets, and although the stamp I found looked okay to me, I wanted to be sure, so I shipped the postcard off to APEX for an expert opinion.

When I checked my post office box yesterday afternoon, I had a notice that a piece of certified mail was being held for me, and it turned out to be the postcard back from APEX. When I got home, I opened it up, and the certificate says…

“United States Scott No. 443, used and tied to postcard, genuine in all respects, postcard has a few creases.”

APEX certificate #224872 for 1-cent George Washington stamp on postcard
APEX Certificate #224872

As you can see, my improbable find turned out to be the real deal! For a total outlay of around $27, I have an authenticated Washington-Franklin coil with an on-cover value of $60.

Southworth perforator for sale in Portland, Oregon

Southworth perforator for sale in Portland, Oregon

A Southworth treadle perforator has turned up for sale in Portland, Oregon, and the seller, Niko, shared a photo for me to share with you.

Southworth perforator
Southworth Perforator
Southworth perforator closeup
Southworth Perforator Closeup

The perforator “has a new wood table top and shelf, and I added heavy duty casters,” writes Niko. “It’s a beauty, but I only have room for so many of them.” (These old perforators are heavy, so I have no doubt the addition of the casters makes this example a lot easier to move.)

Niko is asking $900 for his perforator. If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

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