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

Philosateleian Blog

Two (or maybe three) 14¢ American Indian plate flaws

I’ve posted a couple of times previously about finding plate flaws on copies of the United States 14¢ American Indian stamp. Earlier this year, I ran across a couple more such items, plus a third that might represent a plate flaw. Here they are in no particular order.

Scratch from second “S” in “STATES” into headdress

Our first stamp is not very well centered, but the design looks okay overall until we take a closer look at the second “S” in “STATES.” You’ll notice that there’s a light scratch that bisects the top curve of that letter, briefly disappears, and then reappears in Hollow Horn Bear’s headdress.

United States American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch running through second 'S' in 'STATES' and into headdress
14¢ American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch
Detail showing diagonal scratch running through second 'S' in 'STATES' and into headdress on 14¢ American Indian stamp
Detail of scratch

Scratch to left of face

Our second entry also has a scratch, but this one appears to be confined to the stamp’s vignette. The vertical line is quite obvious in the empty space to the left of Hollow Horn Bear’s face.

United States American Indian stamp with vertical sratch to left of face
14¢ American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch
Detail showing vertical scratch to left of face on 14¢ American Indian stamp
Detail of scratch

Possible gash to left of face

Finally, I have a stamp with possible plate damage also to the left of the face within the vignette. I emphasize possible because this is probably the sort of thing that could be caused by a bit of random muck on the printing plate, or even a splash of ink; nevertheless, I seem to recall seeing this somewhere else in the past. My collection does not, however, contain another example of this, so I kind of have to categorize this as a freak unless I find another or someone else reports having one.

United States American Indian stamp with blob or gash to left of face
14¢ American Indian stamp with blob or gash

Real value of a 1977 Fleetwood first day cover collection

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity after running a couple of errands during my lunch break to stop in at the local stamp shop for a few minutes, and while digging through a pile of albums stacked in a corner found this Fleetwood album containing 27 Europa first day covers from 1977.

Front cover of Fleetwood Europa first day cover album
1977 Europa first day cover album

There was no price on the album, and I have no particular interest in Europa, but there were enough stamps that looked like they would fit in my landscapes collection that I figured it was worth asking how much the shop owner wanted for it.

After quickly flipping through the album, Steve, the proprietor, told me that he would take $5 for it. I handed over the money and was soon on my way; I was happy to add some stamps to my collection, and the dealer was happy to have the album out of the way.

1977 Spain Europa stamps on first day cover
Spain 1977 Europa stamps on first day cover

While looking through my new acquisition, I noticed that an original flyer advertising the set was tucked inside the front cover. The advertising copy seemed reasonably typical, but the original price was what caught my attention: $85! That works out to more than $3 per cover.

Fleetwood advertisement for 1977 Europa first day cover collection
Fleetwood Europa first day cover advertisement

That’s not the entire story, though. Consider that the price of a first class postage stamp in 1977 was 13¢, or a little less than quarter of the current first class letter rate in the United States. Apply the same increase to the original purchase price, and it works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 in today’s money.

My goal here is not to criticize the album producer for their original asking price, nor the original purchaser for spending that much money on it; neither of those are any of my business. My point is just that 40 years down the road, this collection has a value of somewhat less than 2% of its original retail price, and while this may be an extreme example, this sort of “limited edition” material is virtually never a good buy new. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy it; by all means, collect what you like and can afford, because that’s kind of the point. Just don’t expect it to hold much value if you or your heirs ever decide to sell.

Philosateleian Post celebrates Grand Canyon National Park centennial

San Antonio-based Philosateleian Post will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Grand Canyon National Park next month with the release of a special local post stamp marking the park’s centennial. The planned first day of issue is May 15, 2019.

The stamp’s vignette is based on a photograph taken by Philosateleian Post proprietor Kevin Blackston during a cross-country trip in the 1990s.

Philosateleian Post stamp picturing the Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park Centennial

“Grand Canyon National Park was the first of America’s national parks that I had the opportunity to see in person,” says Blackston. “Some people say it’s just a big hole in the ground, but there is a certain beauty and immenseness that certainly justifies a visit.”

Grand Canyon National Park was officially established in February 1919. It is the third national park to be featured on a Philosateleian Post stamp, following Yosemite National Park in 2014 and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016.

Technical Specifications

Format: sheets of 36 (6×6). Design size: 36×28 mm. Separation method: perforated 12. Adhesive: water-activated dry gum. Printing method: inkjet.

Philatelic Services

To receive a mint single of Philosateleian Post’s Grand Canyon National Park Centennial stamp, or for first day cover service, send either $2 or a self-addressed stamped envelope and your request to:

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

Purgatory Post commemorates Apollo 9

Certain of the Apollo missions get all the glory. Apollo 8, the first to orbit the moon. Apollo 11, the first to put men on the moon. Apollo 13, which returned its crew safely to Earth in dramatic fashion. Even the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was commemorated with a pair of stamps in 1975.

Apollo 9 has gotten relatively little recognition in comparison, but New Hampshire’s Purgatory Post changed that earlier this month with a pair of stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of the mission.

Pair of 9-sola Purgatory Post stamps commemorating Apollo 9
Purgatory Post Apollo 9 stamps

The first of the two 9-sola stamps pictures Jim McDivitt, David Scott, and Rusty Schweickart, along with Apollo 9’s launch. The second stamp pictures a portion of the spacecraft in orbit along with the Apollo 9 mission patch.

Purgatory Post is issuing stamps for the 50th anniversary of each of the Apollo missions, so there are plenty more stamps still to come!

Rattlesnake Island Local Post covers arrive

I recently received a piece of mail from a sender whose name I did not recognize, and when I opened it up, there was a nice surprise inside: a stack of Rattlesnake Island stamps, postcards, and covers like the one shown here from the late 1960s and early 1970s!

Cover bearing three Rattlesnake Island Local Post stamps canceled on December 1, 1969
Rattlesnake Island Local Post cover

Rattlesnake Island Local Post was one of the earlier modern local posts, and is of course probably one of the best known. According to the Rattlesnake Island Club website, the operation based on Rattlesnake Island in Lake Erie issued stamps from 1966–1989, and then again from 2005–2013.

Although I already had a few Rattlesnake Island stamps, this donation will definitely expand my collection. The sender expressed a desire to remain anonymous, but I want to say “thank you” anyway!

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