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

Philosateleian Blog

A big gift from a valued supporter

A little more than a year and a half ago, I mentioned receiving a generous donation from James F., who wanted to show his support for Philosateleia. I’m very pleased to say that James has chipped in again, this time with a gift that should cover a large chunk of my website-related expenses for 2016. Thank you, James!

There are many other supporters who have also contributed over the years, both financially and by helping to promote Philosateleia. Like James, they have helped me to pay the web hosting bills and encouraged me to keep working on the project. If you are one of those supporters, thank you; if not, you can thank them for helping to make it possible to keep Philosateleia online.

Getting an antique perforator across the border

As you might be aware, I’ve been tracking online sales of antique perforating machines for nearly two years now. Based on the data I had accumulated, I recently wrote an article that appeared in the November/December issue of the Local Post Collectors Society’s publication, The Poster, titled “Antique Perforating Machines: Availability and Cost to the Modern Local Post Operator.”

My article triggered responses from a couple of other LPCS members, including Art C. of Alabama, who purchased an antique Rosback in 2004. As I learned during my own search for an antique perforator, these machines don’t turn up for sale every day, but when one does, it seems like there’s about a 50-50 chance that it will be a Rosback. In that respect, Art’s acquisition isn’t that unusual.

What I did find notable about Art’s story is that he had to go all the way to Canada to pick up the machine, and while his trip up went smoothly and he got the perforator loaded into the back of a rented SUV, getting the perforator back into the United States was more challenging than he expected due to a polite but suspicious customs official at the border crossing who had a few questions about the hulking machine in the back of the vehicle:

“At first she wanted to know what it was, and then what it was that it was supposed to perforate. Later we got on to what business I was involved in that would use such a thing. I kept trying to assure her it was not for any business but was for my hobby.

“I’m sure from her point of view this was the day she had been training for her entire career. Throughout this questioning, she was holding my passport and flipping through the pages. I had obtained the passport many years earlier but had never had an occasion to use it; there wasn’t a single mark on any of its pages.

“I guess she was wondering about many things during our conversation about the dark green device in the back of my vehicle but she eventually became satisfied that I was merely a ‘stamp collector’ and provided the first and only official stamp in my passport and wished me a pleasant trip.”

I can’t imagine too many antique perforators cross national borders when they’re sold, but Art’s account certainly does highlight something to keep in mind if you do want to buy a perforator that’s currently outside of your own country.

Art concludes his account with the following thoughts:

“My advice to anyone looking for a perforator would be to first find the one they really like, and then set about working out the details of getting it. I liked the fact that my Rosback had been in one place for many years, was well cared for, and was in perfect working order. The difficulty of getting it home was secondary to all that, and in fact resulted in a very memorable journey.”

My thanks to Art for giving me permission to share his story here.

The Punk Philatelist: an irreverent look at stamp collecting

A month or two ago, I somehow ran across a stamp collecting blog that I’d never seen before: The Punk Philatelist. The title itself struck me as curious since “punk” is not a word often associated with us stamp collectors. I think the word my wife used was more along the lines of “dork”—but that’s a story for another time.

The blogger behind The Punk Philatelist is a woman in Australia; beyond that, she offers no clues to her identity, though she does use some salty language in her posts. I personally don’t think that’s necessary at all, but it’s her blog; you’ve been warned.

What the Punk Philatelist does do that I think is worth noting is provide a youth-oriented (by which I mean under 40) look at the hobby in an often irreverent manner. For example, an October entry is titled “Watch a rich person pay $85,000 for something a rat peed on.” That’s not exactly the sort of headline you’ll see in The American Philatelist or Linn’s, but it certainly gets your attention!

The Punk Philatelist is not updated on a daily basis, but new material is posted somewhat regularly. If you can overlook the occasional foul language and don’t mind a fellow collector pointing out a few of philatelists’ foibles, you might find it worth a look.

Adanaland minisheet includes diamond-shaped anniversary stamps

This past March, I shared pictures of a couple of cinderella stamps created by Alan B. of England. A note I recently received from him contained evidence that he has been busy again.

Adanaland minisheet containing four diamond-shaped stamps
Adanaland Anniversaries of 2015–16 minisheet

I commented previously that Alan does very nice letterpress printing, and these new diamond-shaped stamps are no exception. They commemorate four different events:

  • 60th anniversary of “It’s a Small World”
  • 40th anniversary of Alan’s Hedgehog Press
  • 20th anniversary of Adanaland
  • 15th anniversary of PSO Flatby (design appears to depict a sailboat, but I really don’t know exactly what this is; perhaps Alan will weigh in)

I know from operating my own perforating machine that getting perforations to line up just right is tricky enough, so I can only imagine how challenging it must have been to accomplish that on diamond-shaped stamps. Again, though, Alan has done a very nice job, and his work is the sort of thing I like to include in my collection.

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