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

Philosateleian Blog

Winter 2021 update for The Philosateleian

As we near the end of 2021, I’m pleased to announce that you can update your stamp album one more time before the close of the year. The Winter 2021 Supplement (203 KB, 3 files, 29 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is ready for you to download and print whenver you like.

In addition to including spaces for the United States postage stamps issued in September and October, this update adds pages for the narcotic tax stamps issued between 1919 and 1970. If you don’t collect fiscals, you can omit those pages and print just the updated pages for 2021.

If you’ve previously switched to The Philosateleian’s annual update track instead of printing updated pages on a quarterly basis, my file for 2021 should be ready for download early next year.

This marks the conclusion of my sixteenth year of producing The Philosateleian, and I truly appreciate everyone who has supported my project or even just dropped me a line to say they’re enjoying my album pages. It’s nice to know folks out there are benefiting! I hope you enjoy this update.

Latest ALA envelope features new faux stamp designs

The post office box has been pretty well packed the last couple of times I’ve checked it, mostly with holiday fundraising mailings from a variety of non-profit organizations. Today’s haul included a mailing from the American Lung Association, which included a business reply envelope with four pre-printed Christmas-themed stamp-sized designs on it.

American Lung Association business reply envelope bearing four pre-printed Christmas-themed stamp-sized designs
American Lung Association business reply envelope

I still prefer envelopes that have actual stickers or labels affixed to them; those seem more like cinderella stamps than simply pre-printed designs. Nevertheless, this is more interesting than a plain old business reply envelope, so I don’t suppose we can complain much.

(By the way, this doesn’t really fit into my current collecting interests, so I’ve listed it in my online shop at a very low price just in case someone else would like to have it.)

USPS previews planned stamp issues for 2022

The United States Postal Service earlier this month released a preview of some of the new stamps scheduled for release in 2022.

The most appealing of the designs to me is the set of 16 featuring various National Marine Sanctuaries. Those stamps feature everything from landscapes to close-ups of various marine animals, and they’re quite attractive. Oddly, the preview artwork suggests that none of the stamps bear any text identifying which sanctuaries are pictured, which seems a bit of a lost opportunity.

Also catching my eye was the design for the newest entry in the current series of low-value definitives, a 4¢ stamp picturing blueberries. I think those fruit stamps look very nice.

For the most part, I’m not crazy about the other designs. The Mountain Flora stamps picturing various flowers are fine, but do we really need new flower stamps every year? Of the 62 different designs pictured in the USPS press release, no fewer than eight (nearly 13%) picture flowers. Maybe, in today’s politically charged climate, flowers are a “safe” subject not likely to inspire controversy, but yawn.

One positive note on the flower stamps: two of them are intended for use by nonprofit organizations and will presumably supplant the Patriotic Nonprofit design released in 2017. Could this be an initial foray into larger sets of nonprofit stamps? I, for one, would like to see the USPS issue a coil of nonprofit stamps featuring 10, 25, or even 50 different designs—not necessarily flowers, but presidents or landmarks from each of the 50 states or something like that. It sure would make receiving junk mail more interesting!

What do you think of next year’s announced stamps? Take a look at the press release, then leave a comment below.

Purgatory Post commemorates 19th-century steamship Belknap

Purgatory Post this month launched a new series of stamps picturing steamboats that have sailed on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire with the November 2 release of a 1-sola stamp picturing the Belknap.

1-sola Purgatory Post stamp picturing Belknap
Purgatory Post Belknap stamp

The Belknap carried passengers and cargo between villages on the lake from 1833 until 1841. The ship met its end in October of that year when storm winds blew the Belknap and a raft of logs that it was towing into rocks near what is now known as Steamboat Island, where it sank in shallow water. Purgatory Post operator Scott A. tells me the wreck site is popular with divers today.

I really like seeing local post stamps that commemorate local subjects, topics that are relevant to the geographical area in which they operate. This certainly qualifies, and I doubt too many people outside New Hampshire have ever even heard of the Belknap before now, but I’m happy to feature it here.

14¢ American Indian travels solo on parcel tag

The newest addition to my collection of 14¢ American Indian stamps on cover is closing in on 100 years old. Mailed from the James Manufacturing Company of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, this parcel tag bears a single copy of my favorite stamp.

Front of parcel tag bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian parcel tag mailed from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Reverse of pracel tag bearing mailing address
14¢ American Indian parcel tag mailed from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin (reverse)

This falls into a rather interesting area of postal history. Since the stamp in this case was precanceled and there are no dated markings of any sort, we can’t say with any great specificity when the parcel tag was mailed. That doesn’t make it any less significant a solo use of the 14¢ American Indian, in my opinion, but a dated cancellation would arguably add some visual appeal.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what rate the stamp paid, it was for a four (or possibly five) pound fourth class or parcel post item sent to a destination between 150 and 300 miles from its place of mailing. I provide a more thorough breakdown in my complete write-up.

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