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

Philosateleian Blog

Whooping crane FDC arrives in mailbox

I mailed a batch of first day covers bearing copies of Philosateleian Post’s new whooping crane stamp last Tuesday, June 1. If you requested service, your cover will hopefully be arriving in your mailbox soon if it has not gotten there already.

When I checked my post office box yesterday, my cover was there, but the whooping crane stamp on it was a bit worse for wear, with the surface of the upper right corner of the stamp as well as much of the bottom of the stamp skinned off.

Philosateleian Post 1-stamp Whooping Crane stamp on first day cover
Philosateleian Post Whooping Crane first day cover

The self-adhesive United States stamp that paid postage was, however, unscathed as you can see.

All current U.S. stamps are self-adhesive, but when I see older stamps with water-activated gum used, or my own creations, more often than not they end up with part of the surface scraped off. I don’t know the physics involved, but it seems to be just one of those things we collectors have to deal with.

American flags grace DAV business reply cover

I admit it. When visiting my local post office to check my box there, I will glance into the blue recycling bins into which customers can discard their junk mail, and occasionally engage in a bit of “dumpster diving” if something catches my eye. Such was the case today when I spotted this Disabled American Veterans business reply envelope with three identical American flag “stamps” printed on it.

Disabled American Veterans business reply envelope with three pre-printed American flag “stamp” designs
Disabled American Veteransl business reply envelope

These pre-printed faux “stamps” have no wording or denominations, but each has a border of simulated “perforations” printed around it. If they were actual labels, that would be even better, but it’s still interesting and still the first one of these envelopes I’ve seen in a number of weeks.

I imagine most of these probably end up discarded with a few returned to DAV and other organizations that make use of such business reply envelopes, but how many are being saved for stamp collections? I would guess not many, and although I wouldn’t necessarily call this cover a “treasure,” I think it’s something more than trash.

Purgatory Post celebrates 20th anniversary

New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post earlier this month celebrated its 20th anniversary of operation with the issuance of a single stamp picturing a small waterfall on Tucker Brook in Milford, New Hampshire. The 20-sola design was released on May 4.

20-sola Purgatory Post stamp picturing Tucker Brook in Milford, New Hampshire
Purgatory Post Tucker Brook stamp

This stamp will, of course, fit nicely into my landscapes collection. I just need to find the time to make a page for it so I can add it to my albums!

As indicated by the number inscribed at the bottom center of the stamp, this is Purgatory Post’s 233rd stamp issue. As a point of comparison, my own Philosateleian Post, which I started in 2004, has issued only 40 stamps during its history.

While there have been many private local posts operated in the United States since the middle of the twentieth century, few have been as long-lasting or prolific as Purgatory Post, and I extend hearty congratulations to operator Scott A. for keeping his operation going for two decades.

14¢ American Indian cover features Indian River postmark

The newest addition to my collection of covers bearing the 14¢ American Indian stamp is just as philatelic as they come. It’s an event cover commemorating the dedication of the Calvin Campbell Airport in Michigan, and it was postmarked in Indian River, Michigan, on August 24, 1936.

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp and postmarked in Indian River, Michigan
14¢ American Indian cover postmarked in Indian River, Michigan

While the 14¢ American Indian saw plenty of legitimate commercial use while in service, albeit relatively little solo usage, the stamp seems to have been a popular choice for collectors preparing covers with even the most remote connections to Native Americans.

The Indian River postmark with this stamp, although entirely philatelic, is nice enough in and of itself, but also of note is that the stamp on this cover shows what I think could be evidence of a double transfer.

Note the presence of a faint apparent curve through the tops of the “ATES” in “STATES,” as well as an extraneous curve or scratch near the bottom of the “D” in “UNITED.” When I first noticed this, I thought I might be seeing visual artifacts in my scan, but I went back and checked the stamp using a 10× magnifier, and the extra marks are actually present.

Detail of 14¢ American Indian stamp showing traces of possible double transfer in “UNITED STATES” lettering
Detail of possible 14¢ American Indian double transfer

This is the first time I’ve personally seen this variety, but now that I know it exists, I’ll be on the lookout for potential additional examples.

Nineteen Eighty-Four fantasy stamps tip of cap to 2+2

In October 2020, I prepared for my own entertainment a fantasy stamp inspired by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. That stamp featured three slogans that the book described as prominent on the side of the Ministry of Truth: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

Another well-known motif from Nineteen Eighty-Four is the idea that the totalitarian government in charge of Oceania, with its complete control over everything, could make a falsehood true simply by declaring it.

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.

“You are a slow learner, Winston,” said O’Brien gently.

“How can I help it?” he blubbered. “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”

“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.”

With those two passages in mind, I’ve designed a block of nine additional fantasy stamps, each of which features one of three formulas: 2+2=3, 2+2=4, or 2+2=5.

Oceania fantasy stamps bearing formulas 2+2=3, 2+2=4, and 2+2=5
Oceania “2+2” fantasy stamps

As with my earlier Oceania stamp, I have no intentions of trying to market or sell these stamps since Ninety Eighty-Four will still be under copyright protection in the United States for some time to come. Consider them to be fan art, a tip of my cap to the fact that there are absolutes, things that are true no matter what anyone else says.

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