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

Philosateleian Blog

Saluting Admiral Burke

John L. recently sent this lovely cover honoring the late Admiral Arleigh Burke:

Cover honoring Admiral Arleigh Burke
Admiral Arleigh Burke Cover

Admiral Burke is one of four distinguished military members recently commemorated on a set of U.S. stamps, and this is a nice adjunct to that issue.

John also sent a donation, which will help pay for Web site hosting. Thank you, John!

Spring 2010 update for The Philosateleian

It’s a small update, but the Spring 2010 supplement (116 KB, 3 files, 4 pages) of The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now available for download.

The U.S. has issued only a few stamps since the beginning of the year, and this supplement contains spaces for all of them.

Among the additions is a space for the Vancouver 2010 stamp—rather timely considering the Winter Olympics are taking place right now!

I’ve already been given a few of the 2010 issues, and they’re now mounted safely on pages from this update. Have you seen any of the new stamps on mail you’ve received?

It’s a hard-knock life

Considering the amount of mail the USPS moves each year—more than 200 billion pieces in 2008—it’s fair to say that the vast majority makes it to its destination safe and sound. Every once in a while, however, the mail system chews something up and spits it back out.

Such is the case with this battered and bruised envelope that contained payment for my electric bill.

Damaged cover
Damaged Cover

The folks at the utility company didn’t even bother to open this one up, electing rather to simply return it to me with a note saying my check could not be processed. As the scan shows, the cover is enclosed in a USPS “body bag,” a plastic bag used to carry the remnants of destroyed envelopes to their intended recipients.

Amusingly, the postmarks on the stamps aren’t in much better shape than the cover itself. Someone at the post office apparently inverted the “25” of the date when inserting it into the postmark device, leaving the date upside down in relation to the month and year!

I wrote a replacement check to the utility company, and plan to keep this cover and “body bag” intact. If nothing else, it’s an interesting conversation piece, and one that I would not own had everything gone right.

Do you have any covers that like this one look as though they could tell a war story or two after doing battle in the mail stream?

Mother Teresa stamp sparks controversy

Mother Teresa is still nearly seven months away from appearing on a U.S. postage stamp, but the stamp’s planned issue is already drawing fire from one group.

According to a story on FOXNews.com, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is protesting the plans to release the stamp, urging officials to cancel the commemorative—and urging people to boycott the stamp if the USPS doesn’t back down.

The group claims the USPS is violating its own policies by issuing a stamp honoring a religious figure, but a USPS spokesperson says Mother Teresa is being recognized for her humanitarian work—not for her religious beliefs.

Despite the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s protests, it seems likely to this author that the planned commemorative will go on sale as scheduled this August. Indeed, compared to other recent honorees—no offense, Bart Simpson—a woman who ostensibly dedicated her life to serving others seems worthy of recognition.

What do you think? Should the USPS scrap its plans for the Mother Teresa commemorative? Or is it okay to move forward with a “controversial” subject?

Prexie Era Web site provides useful information

Virtually any collector of U.S. stamps will own at least a few Prexies, the definitive stamps that were issued in 1938 and remained in use until the 1950s. The series of stamps got its moniker because it honors all former United States presidents who had died by the time of the stamps’ issue.

The United States Stamp Society’s Prexie Era Committee explains on its Web site how each value in the series was most commonly used. Some of the stamps had denominations that did not cover a specific postal rate, and solo usages of those can be difficult to find.

The Web site also contains information about other stamps in use at the same time as the Prexies.

The Prexie Era Committee Web site’s layout is very basic and not particularly visually appealing, but the info on how different stamps were used makes it a valuable resource. If you collect U.S. stamps from that era, it’s a Web site worth bookmarking.

Do you know of any other Web sites that provide data on how particular stamps were most commonly used?

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