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

Philosateleian Blog

Three thank yous, and a corrected mistake

I’ve been remiss in mentioning it, but over the past several weeks, two of Philosateleia’s supporters have sent generous contributions my way. In October, Vivian B. provided a gift via PayPal, and earlier this month, James F. sent a check by mail.

Vivian and James are both longtime supporters who have sent gifts to help pay the bills in the past, and I’m pleased to say that their contributions this year should cover virtually all of Philosateleia’s expenses for 2018. Thank you to you both!

An error corrected

Steve R., a user of The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album recently pointed out an error on one of the pages for 19th century official mail stamps. The page for stamps of the Executive Department contained a space captioned “Daniel Webster,” the individual depicted on the 15¢ value used during the 1870s. The problem is that no such stamp ever existed!

The highest value in the Executive Department set was the 10¢ Thomas Jefferson, and I’ve updated the page with the correct name. You can download the corrected file from the updates & supplements page.

Interestingly, this mistake had apparently existed since I launched The Philosateleian way back in 2006, and I’d never caught it. That probably tells you something about how much time I spend in that part of my album, but I’m glad to be able to put it right. Thank you, Steve, for pointing out the problem!

Winter 2017 update for The Philosateleian

The USPS has issued only a dozen new stamps over the past few months, but some of them may have already started showing up on your incoming mail, and you probably need spaces for them in your stamp album. You'll get those needed spaces with the Winter 2017 Supplement (197 KB, 4 files, 5 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album, which is now available!

This is a rather small update as far as stamp album supplements go, so it shouldn’t take long for you to print the pages and integrate them into your album. I hope you enjoy.

Ideal Postal Scale weighs in style

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.

Ideal Postal Scale
Ideal Postal Scale

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.

Ideal Postal Scale label
Ideal Postal Scale label

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!

New American Indian acquisitions

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.

14-cent American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch running across vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaw

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).

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from New York, New York

This is a “show me another one” kind of item, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.

Rosback tabletop perforator for sale

Update: this machine has been sold. Thank you for your interest!

When I started seriously searching for a pinhole perforating machine back in early 2014, I had no idea whether or not I would ever actually get to own one. Late that year, however, I did have the opportunity to purchase a Franklin tabletop perforator.

Since that time, I’ve been able to purchase two other perforating machines: a Southworth tabletop perforator, which I use to perforate my Philosateleian Post local post stamps, and a recently acquired Rosback tabletop perforator. I’m now offering the Rosback for sale!

About the machine

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.

Rosback tabletop perforator
Rosback tabletop perforator

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.

Rosback tabletop perforator logo
Rosback tabletop perforator logo
Rosback tabletop perforator handle with bolt
Rosback tabletop perforator handle with bolt

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.

Rosback tabletop perforator pins
Rosback tabletop perforator pins
Rosback tabletop perforator adjustable guide
Rosback tabletop perforator adjustable guide
Paper perforated by Rosback tabletop perforator
Paper perforated by Rosback tabletop perforator

My price

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!

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