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

Philosateleian Blog

A sweet 14¢ American Indian solo cover

I realize that I talk quite a bit about how scarce solo uses of the 14¢ American Indian stamp on cover really are, particularly those that are commercial in nature, yet here I am sharing another new addition to my collection: my third solo cover in the past three months.

This particular envelope was mailed from the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey, headquartered in New York City, to New Haven, Connecticut, in December 1923, just a few months after the American Indian stamp was issued.

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from the National Sugar Refining Company of New Jersey

As I explain in my write-up about the cover, the 14¢ postage paid for two ounces at 2¢ per ounce, plus 10¢ for registration.

It has long seemed to me that of the various potential solo uses of the American Indian stamp, a double-weight registered cover would have been about the most common even though the 14¢ rate for such a cover was only in effect for the first couple of years of the stamp’s use, but it wasn’t until my last few acquisitions that I started seeing a definite trend to support that. Of the six apparent commercial solo uses of this stamp in my collection, three of them are double-weight registered envelopes.

2020 annual supplement available for The Philosateleian

As you’re probably aware if you’ve been using The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album for any time at all, I release updated album pages four times a year, with spaces for stamps from long-running sets getting grouped with other stamps from the same series. I prefer to have pages ready for new stamps within a few months of when those stamps are issued, and to keep sets together as much as possible, even if that does mean having to reprint a few pages from time to time.

Not everyone feels the same way, of course, and for each of the past several years, I’ve also released an annual update. This includes my regular pages for a particular year plus a page or pages containing spaces for stamps that fit into earlier sets. With that in mind, I’ve released my 2020 annual supplement for The Philosateleian, which you can download at your convenience from the Annual section on my list of individual stamp album pages.

If you follow the recommended quarterly update track, you don’t need to download this update, but if you print new pages only once a year, it’s for you.

2020 second busiest year on record for Philosateleian Post

Philosateleian Post set a new record in 2019 for pieces of mail transported in a single year. Although the numbers dropped by about 10% in 2020, the 441 envelopes, letters, and packages I transported still accounted for the second-highest total in Philosateleian Post’s history.

While it would be easy to blame COVID-19 for the drop in volume, I don’t think that’s all there is to it. I sent 20% more letters and cards in 2019 than in 2020, many of which were responses to sympathy notes that I received following my mom’s death. I think it’s safe to say I didn’t receive nearly as many personal notes last year, which means I didn’t reply to as much mail.

Regardless, 2020 was Philosateleian Post’s second consecutive year with more than 400 pieces of mail carried, the first time that has ever happened, and I hope I can at least keep up that rate this year!

By sea, by air, by sea, by air: a 14¢ American Indian solo usage

One of the most recent additions to my collection of 14¢ American Indian stamps on cover is a cover mailed from Hawaii to Germany in 1935. The envelope was postmarked in Honolulu on April 16, 1935, and dispatched from there to Berlin.

Front of cover mailed from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Berlin, Germany, with 14¢ American Indian stamp paying postage
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Berlin, Germany

As I imagine you’re aware, examples of the 14¢ American Indian stamp used by itself are few and far between. 14¢ simply wasn’t a common postage rate during the time the stamp was in use, and it took me a bit of time to track down exactly why that particular rate applied in this case. I did, however, eventually find the answer in U.S. International Postal Rates, 1872–1996 by Harry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz.

Beginning in 1934, the rate for a one-ounce leetter by air within the continental United States plus surface transportation to international destinations was 8¢. That amount paid for surface transportation from Hawaii, which was still a territory at that time, to the mainland; airmail across the United States to New York City; and then surface transportation again from New York to Europe.

From there, a 3¢ per half ounce surcharge was in effect for letters carried by air from France to other points within Europe. Multiply that by two for a letter weighing between a half ounce and one ounce, and you get 6¢, the remaining amount of postage paid.

In summary, 8¢ postage paid for transportation by ship from Hawaii to the mainland United States, by airplane across the country, and by ship from New York to France, and 6¢ paid for transportation by airplane from France to Germany. This is really an exceptional usage of the stamp.

Purgatory Post issues Crew-1 stamps

On December 1, New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post issued a pair of 1-sola stamps commemorating the successful launch of Crew-1, SpaceX’s first crewed non-test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft. Resilience lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on November 15, and the four astronauts safely reached the International Space Station, where they are scheduled to remain for several months.

The first of the stamps pictures astronauts Michael Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover along with a photo of their spacecraft’s launch. The second stamp features a photo of Resilience along with the mission patch.

1-sola stamps picturing Crew-1 astronauts and spacecraft
Purgatory Post Crew-1 stamps

Purgatory Post operator Scott A. has a keen interest in spaceflight and has issued numerous stamps commemorating significant anniversaries and events in the space program. With two Apollo anniversaries coming up next year and other missions also planned for 2021, we can expect to see more space-related Purgatory Post stamps in the near future.

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