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

Philosateleian Blog

Summer 2019 update for The Philosateleian

I’m happy to announce today that the Summer 2019 Supplement (81.2 KB, 1 file, 8 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now available for your to download and print.

This is a fairly straightforward update containing only a single file that itself contains only eight pages. They provide spaces for all of the United States stamps issued from March–May. Some of those stamps are showing up on incoming mail, so unless you’re on the annual update track, you’ll want to be sure to print this update for your album.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about the pages, and happy collecting!

Purgatory Post commemorates Apollo 10 anniversary

Purgatory Post earlier this month commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission with a pair of 10-sola stamps, the latest in its long-running series honoring major spaceflight anniversaries.

The first of the two stamps from the New Hampshire-based local post pictures crew members Thomas Stafford, John Young, and Gene Cernan along with the mission’s launch. The second stamp includes a picture of the lunar module Snoopy and the Apollo 10 mission patch.

Pair of 10-sola Purgatory Post Apollo 10 stamps picturing crew, spacecraft, lunar module, and mission patch
Purgatory Post Apollo 10 stamps

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing is coming up in July, and we can expect Purgatory Post to commemorate that then.

Philosateleian Post Grand Canyon FDC arrives

I admit it: I’ve been frightfully bad about posting new content here over the past couple of months. As I think I’ve probably written previously, life has a way of getting in the way of stamp collecting, but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things here.

This evening, I figured I would show you an image of a Philosateleian Post Grand Canyon National Park Centennial first day cover that I sent to myself earlier this month:

First day cover bearing copy of Philosateleian Post Grand Canyon National Park Centennial local post stamp
Grand Canyon National Park Centennial FDC

The cover got the usual blurry inkjet cancellation, but except for a couple of small scrapes—one across the sky near the top left of the stamp, and the other across the denomination at lower right—my stamp survived unscathed. I’ve seen a lot worse, believe me.

I have plenty more to write about, and a stamp album update to prepare, so stay tuned!

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.

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