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

Philosateleian Blog

APC error label update

Back in January, we mentioned the existence of Automated Postal Center error labels that featured designs incorrectly printed on paper that already bore preprinted designs. These error labels looked like they had been accidentally overprinted.

John Ryskamp, a contributor to U.S. Stamp News, recently wrote to let us know that there are by his count 83 different error varieties. You have to count each possible printed rate (forever, first class large envelope, priority, etc.) to reach this total, and the glossy blocks that appear over the preprinted mailbox image can apparently be found with both square and rounded corners.

While APC labels are somewhat outside the mainstream, there’s certainly opportunity for specialization, and the “wrong paper” errors, as Mr. Ryskamp calls them, provide some interesting variety.

Philosateleian Post issuing American Indian local post stamp

On May 1, 1923, the 14¢ American Indian stamp went on sale in Washington, D.C., and Muskogee, Oklahoma. On May 1, 2013, Philosateleian Post will commemorate the 90th anniversary of the American Indian stamp’s issue with an American Indian stamp of its own.

Philosateleian Post's American Indian stamp
American Indian stamp

Collectors are invited to request a free copy of the Philosateleian stamp; see the Philosateleian Post’s press release for details.

U.S. album pages with se tenants always together

Although The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album generally meets the needs of collectors of used stamps, I occasionally receive an e-mail asking if I have pages available where se tenant stamps are always grouped together. I’ve typically designed pages with an individual space for each stamp unless that stamp’s design is part of a larger picture that covers two or more stamps, such as the cherry blossom stamps issued last year.

This approach works well for singles, but leaves the folks who collect blocks or even panes out of luck. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to maintain multiple iterations of The Philosateleian.

A solution for se tenants

Fortunately, however, a new project from the owner of may give collectors of U.S. se tenants another option. The Community 21st Century U.S. Stamp Album keeps se tenant stamps grouped together. That’s not a big deal for me personally, but some people do prefer that sort of arrangement.

Beyond the arrangement of se tenants, the Stamp Hacks pages have these attractive features:

  1. Black and white illustrations of each stamp
  2. Brief descriptions of each stamp

The pages really remind me of my old H.E. Harris Liberty album. It was my first “real” stamp album (one that could be expanded) which I graduated from a number of years ago. It is nice to have those descriptions, and they no doubt take a lot of time to write.

Keep in mind that the new Stamp Hacks pages are available for only a single year (2001) at this point, but the creator plans to add pages for subsequent years. It definitely seems like a project that’s worth keeping an eye on.

What does this mean for The Philosateleian?

Nothing. I realize not everyone collects exactly the same way I do, and not everyone wants their album pages laid out exactly the way The Philosateleian’s are. I plan to continue maintaining and adding to The Philosateleian. But I’m also happy to see another option out there for those who need it.

Spring 2013 update for The Philosateleian

I’m happy to announce on this brisk March morning that the Spring 2013 Supplement (246 KB, 4 files, 9 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is ready for you to download! This supplement adds spaces for stamps issued so far this year.

These pages are free, just as The Philosateleian has been free since its inception in 2006. If you like them, please consider making a donation. Most of all, enjoy, and happy collecting!

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Roto-Gage at Disney World

Earlier this month, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. It’s something that had been on our “bucket list” for several years, and it seemed as good a time as any to go.

Even though this is not peak season for Disney World, the place was packed. Wait times for some attractions were as much as 90 minutes, but the Hall of Presidents—a building with displays featuring presidential memorabilia and a brief show about United States Presidents—was, rather sadly, less than crowded. Suprisingly enough, one of the items on display had to do with stamp collecting.

Descriptive placard and Roto-Gage tool that belonged to Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Roto-Gage

The card describing the “stamp collector’s Roto-Gauge,” which is on loan from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, states the following:

Franklin D. Roosevelt began collecting stamps at age nine and continued the hobby the rest of his life. Even while President, he found time to expand his prized collection, inspiring new philatelists across the nation.

FDR was probably one of the best known stamp collectors in the world at large, but I had never heard of this tool before. The Roto-Gage (as the item was marketed) features not just a perforation gauge and small ruler, but a built-in magnifying glass and watermark tray. It was apparently intended to be something of a Swiss Army knife of stamp collecting, or as a piece of marketing material described it, “A compact and handy instrument that takes all the labor out of stamp collecting…the one thing needed to make this fascinating hobby a perfect relaxation.”

I have to wonder about the utility of having all of these tools combined into one unit; it seems to me it might be a bit unwieldy. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting piece of philatelic history, and definitely not the sort of thing I expected to see at Disney World.

Have you ever seen the Roto-Gage before? Ever used one? What do you think of the idea of combining multiple tools into one product like this?

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