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

Philosateleian Blog

Titanic letter going up for auction

Since it was never mailed, I’m not sure it qualifies as postal history, but a letter going to auction next month in the United Kingdom is a piece of history nevertheless.

According to a report from the BBC, a letter written on board the Titanic on the day that it sank will be sold next month. The letter was never mailed, but one of the survivors carried it with her when she left the sinking ship.

There’s something about seeing a letter or a cover—even if it was just written around the time when something big happened—that sends a little bit of a shiver up my back. How about you?

Philosateleian Post first quarter 2014 report

Last year was the first time I’d ever kept track of how many pieces of mail I sent, and my total for the entire year was just a hair under 250. As we near the end of March, Philosateleian Post is already 40% of the way to that number this year, having carried right at 100 pieces of mail through just the first three months of 2014.

Why the uptick in the amount of mail I’m sending? At least part of it has to do with a renewed effort on my part to sell unneeded covers on eBay. I’m not doing especially large amounts of business, but getting sales packed up and shipped off does make a difference in how much I’m using postal services.

Sadly, no more than 10–15% of the mail I’ve sent out has been “personal” in the sense of carrying a letter. That’s certainly a percentage that I would like to see go up as the year progresses.

Pretty junk mail

I get a fair number of pieces of mail from nonprofit organizations, but for the most part they’re of little philatelic interest to me. Certainly, if there’s a stamp, I trim that off, but that’s about it.

I have to make an exception for this cover from the Rainforest Alliance that arrived this week, however, because it’s just too pretty to throw away!

Rainforest Alliance cover
Rainforest Alliance cover

It’s too bad nonprofit mailings aren’t postmarked like (some) regular mail, but I would still argue this is one of the most attractive pieces of modern commercial mail with a stamp that has passed through my mailbox.

How about you? Is there any “junk mail” in your collection?

Wanted: postage stamp perforator

When I look back at some of the local post stamps I’ve created over the last 10 years, it becomes very obvious that some of the early designs were very…primitive compared to newer issues. I think it’s safe to say my stamp design skills have improved a great deal, and I hope they continue to do so.

What my stamps still lack, however, is perforations.

Here in the USA, companies like Rosback, Franklin, and Latham produced machines in the late 1800s and early 1900s designed specifically for perforating postage stamps. Some perforators were tabletop models; others stand on the floor and look very much like small tables. Rosback is actually still in business, but no longer manufactures stamp perforators, sadly enough.

I would love to own my very own stamp perforator one day, so…if you have a stamp perforating machine for sale, I may be your man. Due to how heavy these things are, shipping would probably be prohibitively expensive, so the closer you are to the Southeast, the more likely things will work out. At any rate, send me a note with details about what you have and how much you want for it, and I’ll be sure to respond.

Discovering Sunday school stamps

I’ve heard of collectors focusing on a lot of different types of stamps: postage, revenue, locals, and so forth. What I hadn’t heard of before last week, however, is Sunday school stamps.

According to Sunday School Stamp Albums, a website maintained by an English collector named Steve, cinderella stamps picturing scenes from Bible stories and other religious-themed subjects—and albums in which to store them—were produced beginning in the early 1900s. Instructors doled them out as a sort of reward for regular attendance.

The majority of the stamps Steve shows on his site originated in the United Kingdom. He also points out examples from Australia and the USA, however, so the idea obviously did make it across the pond.

These are interesting-looking items, so if you get a chance, visit Sunday School Stamp Albums. Be sure to let Steve know you read about his site here.

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