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

Philosateleian Blog

Purgatory Post’s 200th stamp issue features Chauncey Ryder painting

Modern local posts come and go with many of them issuing only a few stamps, but Purgatory Post is a definite exception to that. The New Hampshire based local post earlier this month released its 200th stamp issue, an impressive milestone indeed!

The new 4-sola stamp reproduces The Camp, a painting by Chauncey Ryder (1868–1949), a Postimpressionist painter active in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Purgatory Post 4-sola stamp picturing The Camp by Chauncey Ryder
The Camp

According to Purgatory Post proprietor Scott Abbot, the painting pictures a small cabin in Cape Porpoise, Maine, most likely during the early 1920s. Scott says according to family lore, one of the three figures around the fire is his grandmother, so the painting has a family connection for him.

Scott has previously reproduced other Ryder works on his stamps, including a landscape depicting a New Hampshire brook.

O Beautiful stamps really stand out

Earlier this week, I walked up the street to the post office during my lunch break. There wasn’t much of a line, so I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of panes of the new O Beautiful stamps, and they are real beauties!

O Beautiful stamps, pane of 20
O Beautiful

You might be thinking, We all know you have a soft spot for landscapes, Blackston. Alright, so it’s true…but these stamps with their glossy finish really are nice. I even recognized a couple of the locations: Great Smoky Mountains (top row, fourth stamp) and Yosemite National Park (third row, first stamp—looks like a view of Half Dome from Glacier Point or somewhere in that vicinity). There’s a full listing of the sites pictured in the USPS press release about this issue.

My only complaint? The die cutting between the stamps does not extend through the backing, so I can’t easily break apart a pane of stamps for my landscapes collection. With some careful diagonal cuts I might be able to get a full set of singles out of the two panes I bought, but it will be a close thing.

Yozhgorod Zemstvo stamp latest cinderella from Alan Brignull

Letterpress operator Alan Brignull of England recently sent me a new cinderella stamp he created, a fantasy Zemstvo stamp picturing a hedgehog and apparent Cyrillic text.

Yozhgorod Zemstvo cinderella stamp on card
Yozhgorod Zemstvo cinderella stamp on card

The stamp is mounted on a sort of approval card bearing the following text:

“The postal system of imperial Russia served only the larger towns and cities, but from 1864 regional authorities were permitted to run local posts. Several thousand different stamps were issued, such as this example from Yozhgorod, presented with compliments by the Popesgrove Philatelic Co.

Alan didn’t go into detail about what inspired him to create a fantasy Zemstvo stamp, but it’s nicely done. It looks just real enough to make someone stop for a second look, but not so real as to cause confusion, and that’s just about perfect for a cinderella.

Sharing my story of how to make your own stamps

I don’t think it’s any secret that I enjoy making my own stamps; after all, it has been nearly 15 years since I started making stamps for my very own Philosateleian Post. It’s not often that I have an audience other than you and members of the Local Post Collectors Society, however, but that changed last week when I had the opportunity to share my love for local post and cinderella stamp production by delivering a presentation titled “How to Make Your Own Stamps” to the San Antonio Philatelic Association.

Sarah, my wife, tagged along, and got this picture of me explanining the cinderella stamp production process. (The back of my daughter’s head is in the foreground.)

Me presenting at the July 20, 2018, San Antonio Philatelic Association meeting
Me presenting at last week’s SAPA meeting

I realized going in that not everyone would be interested in trying to make their own stamps, so I kept my presentation brief, but still tried to provide enough of an outline to give anyone who was interested an idea of where to start. I focused on three main areas:

  1. Stamp design
  2. Stamp production
  3. Stamp use

My audience was very attentive, and there were several questions at the end of my presentation that I was happy to answer. (I found out that one of the other club members collects cinderellas and was already familiar with several of the local posts that I mentioned!) I also provided sample packets of my own work and stamps produced by others as a freebie for those in attendance. Overall, I thought it went well, and I was happy to hopefully be able to contribute a little something.

Several years ago, I wrote up a blog post titled “How to make a local post stamp” in which I went into detail on how to use Paint.NET to create a stamp design. If you’re interested in trying your hand at stamp creation, that’s not a bad place to start.

The unissued blood plasma stamp of 1945

I’ve been collecting United States postage stamps for the past 25 years or so, and I’ve spent countless hours flipping through the Scott Specialized Catalogue. I think I have a pretty good handle on what stamps the U.S. has issued, but a cover in the 50¢ box at the local stamp store last week left me scratching my head.

With a strip of three 1¢ George Washington coil stamps from the 1938–39 Presidents issue and a 1945 postmark, the cover is fairly nondescript except for a cachet created by C. Stephen Anderson, an early FDC producer. The cachet pictures a medic crouching next to a wounded solider, and its text reads in part:

“The blood plasma stamp was issued to bring to public attention the continuing need for blood plasma for the armed forces and to honor those who have given of their blood that others might live…”

Cover with cachet prepared for proposed blood plasma stamp
Blood Plasma cover

Blood plasma stamp? I didn’t remember a blood plasma stamp, certainly not one issued during World War II. Intrigued, I figured the cover was worth half a buck, and brought it home to do some additional research.

A Google search revealed that there was indeed a plan for a blood plasma stamp in 1945, but that the stamp was never actually issued. According to the National Postal Museum, an essay picturing a medic with a wounded solider was produced, but when President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the design, he thought it was “too horrific” and rejected it outright. World War II ended later in 1945, of course, and apparently the idea was dropped altogether as the stamp was never issued.

So, there you have it. A chance find in the junk box at the local stamp store led me to discover a proposed stamp issue that I never knew had even been considered.

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