While visiting an antique mall in New Braunfels, Texas, last month, I saw several postal scales of varying sizes and designs. One in particular caught my eye, and although I didn’t purchase it during that visit because I thought it was priced a bit too high, I later returned and made a lower offer which was accepted.
The basic design of this Ideal Postal Scale, which can accommodate items weighing up to two pounds, has been around for well over a century. The label on the front of the scale has markings for each ounce, but instead of simply having a number indicating each ounce, the label indicates lists what was at the time of its manufacture the appropriate amount of postage for each step up in weight.
By consulting a reference book that I purchased earlier this year—U.S. Domestic Postal Rates, 1872–2011 (Third Edition), by Henry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz—I’ve concluded the scale dates to the latter half of the 1920s.
Although the 2¢ per ounce rate used for first-class mail was in effect from the 1880s on until 1932, the rates listed for other classes of mail indicate that rate changes introduced in 1925 had already come into effect.
Granted, this scale can’t handle heavier packages like modern digital scales can, but I can certainly weigh my outgoing mail and small parcels in style!
My collection of the 14¢ American Indian stamp has grown a bit over the past month, and two of the additions are of special note.
First, I snagged this great plate flaw on eBay! If you look closely, you can see that there is a diagonal scratch running from the “ED” of “UNITED” nearly all the way down to the bottom of the vignette. This variety is not listed in Loran French's seminal work, Encyclopedia of Plate Varieties on U.S. Bureau-Printed Postage Stamps, but that book was admittedly published nearly 40 years ago.
The other American Indian item that I’m more than a little excited about came by way of a postal history dealer. I’ve generated a detailed writeup, but the summary is that it is an extremely scarce example of the 14¢ stamp paying the quadruple-weight international surface letter rate that was in effect in 1934 (five cents for the first ounce, and three cents for each additional ounce).
This is a “show me another one” kind of item, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.
In addition to its better known treadle-operated models, Rosback produced several different tabletop perforators. This lovely piece of machinery with its utilitarian military green paint is neither the oldest nor the newest of those tabletop machines, but somewhere in the middle, probably dating to the 1930s.
As is often the case with these old machines, this one has some cosmetic wear. For example, the alignment guide that was originally bolted on to the front of the wooden table has been removed. In addition, the bolt that secures the handle to the perforator apparently broke at some point, and a previous owner drilled a hole through the handle and the shaft to which it attaches, securing the handle with a replacement bolt and square nut not original to the machine. From what the owner of another one of these perforators has told me, I get the idea that this is probably actually an improvement over the original design, as it’s impossible for the handle to slip on the shaft when the machine is being operated.
Despite these minor wear and tear notes, the perforator works flawlessly. It has all of its pins, which are nice and sharp—not worn out—and that means you can punch a 10-inch long line of nice, crisp holes. As a bonus, the perforator still has its original wooden table; that’s something a lot of perforating machines (including the Franklin I originally purchased) have lost along the way. In addition, the rear of the table has an adjustable guide that can be used to align the paper you’re perforating.
So, how much am I asking for this beautiful item? It can be yours for just $500 plus shipping (unless you make a trip to San Antonio to pick it up). If you come to San Antonio, or if I ship to a Texas address, I also have to collect 8.25% sales tax since various state and local government entities want their piece of the pie, too.
The perforator weighs somewhere around 65 pounds. I’ll ship the perforator itself and the wooden table in separate packages to help make them as manageable as possible.
If you’re interested, please contact me right away; include your address so I can provide an estimate of the shipping cost, and let me know how you plan to use the machine. I look forward to getting it into a good home!