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

Philosateleian Blog

2009 Scott Specialized Catalogue for sale

I just received my copy of the Scott 2010 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers. I’ve had time to do no more than glance at a few pages, but I plan to post a full review with my impressions of the catalogue soon.

In the meantime, I have no more need for my copy of the Scott 2009 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers, so I’ve listed it for sale on Amazon.com for just $24.99. The copyright page is wrinkled—I did use the catalogue, after all—but there are no markings and the book is in good condition. If you need a copy but don’t need the very latest information, my price is less than ⅓ of the next cheapest listing on Amazon.com.

Why buy a new catalogue?

Because I like to keep my free stamp album pages up to date, it’s helpful to have the most current available catalogue on hand to ensure I don’t overlook anything. Were it not for that, I likely would not have bothered buying the 2010 edition.

Update: my old catalogue sold within a couple of hours of when I listed it. Amazon.com still has other used copies, but none quite as cheap as mine. Thanks for your interest!

My landscape stamp collection

When I started collecting stamps years ago, you could have probably called me a generalist with a strong emphasis on U.S. stamps. The largest part of my collection is still U.S. material, but over the last couple of years I’ve also started a thematic or topical collection: landscapes.

In the coming months, I plan to share images and write-ups on my landscape stamps, starting with Codri Nature Reserve in Moldova, which I just posted. I hope you enjoy seeing what’s in my collection.

What’s your approach? Do you collect only a country or countries, or do you have a thematic collection as well?

Book review: Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting

It’s not often that you find a new review for a book written more than 50 years ago. It’s also not often that you find a book containing as much valuable information as the Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting, which is why I felt a need to review it.

Written by the late American philatelist Richard McPherren Cabeen, the Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting was first released in 1957, but it was revised and reprinted several times. This review specifically covers the 1965 edition, which is part of my personal library.

Cabeen split his work into five parts: introduction to stamp collecting; postal history and cover collecting; miscellaneous subjects; technical matters; and classification and identification.

Beginning with an explanation of how to begin collecting stamps, Cabeen proceeded to explain how a collector should store stamps, use accessories related to the hobby, and even focus his or her collection on a specialized area. He then moved on to more esoteric areas of philately, such as collecting postal history and unusual uses for stamps.

The fourth part of the book—technical matters—may be the most valuable section. With the relatively recent widespread adoption of self-adhesive stamps and the use of less expensive printing methods than were previously used, some of the information presented in Cabeen’s work is arguably incomplete. Nevertheless, his detailed descriptions of various printing and perforation methods make the book an invaluable reference tool for anyone who collects stamps issued before 1960.

Other chapters in the book make for enjoyable leisure reading. The author presents a broad overview of the developments that led to the introduction of postage stamps. He also lists several phantom and bogus stamp issues occasionally encountered in older collections and accumulations.

If you’re looking for pictures, this book is not for you. Cabeen went heavy on descriptive text and very light on illustrations, which is not necessarily a bad choice. In addition, it is not a particularly specialized work, but is rather an overview that will benefit the new collector and prove to be a handy reference for the more advanced philatelist.

The Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting has long been out of print, but you can still find used copies for sale at Amazon.com, often discarded from public library collections.

Do you own this book? What’s your opinion? Would you advise another collector to buy it?

Ohio mail carrier shot and killed

A mail carrier in Ohio is dead after being shot while making his daily rounds.

According to news reports, 53-year-old Daniel Kondas was delivering mail in Maple Heights—a suburb of Cleveland—on Thursday morning when someone shot him in the head.

So far the police haven’t said why Mr. Kondas was shot, or who’s responsible. One person was apparently taken into custody, but there’s no official word on any arrests.

A quick search shows Mr. Kondas is hardly the first mail carrier to be killed in the line of duty, but it’s still a sad story. And while I have no reason to think his family reads this blog, I do want to express my condolences to anyone who may have known him.

Fall update for The Philosateleian

If you’ve been waiting for a new update for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album, the wait is over. The Fall 2009 supplement (257 KB, 5 files, 17 pages) is now available for download.

This update does not include spaces for the 2007–09 Liberty Bell stamps nor the 2009 U.S. Flag stamps. I still don’t have complete information on perforation and format varieties on those stamps, but I should be able to update the applicable pages later this year.

Don’t forget, downloading and printing updates on a regular basis prevents your stamp album from getting out of date.

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