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

Philosateleian Blog

Inverted Jenny flying right side up again

There’s no question the United States Postal Service, like the country as a whole, is dealing with some serious money problems. But did we really have to stoop to this?

You’re no doubt aware of the reissue of the famous Inverted Jenny stamps last month, and you probably know that unlike the originals, which had a face value of 24 cents, the new stamps have a face value of $2. The official USPS line is that this is “to make them easily distinguishable from the 24-cent originals” (source).

I know, I can’t write that without laughing a little bit myself. If the self-adhesive format in which the reprints were issued didn’t clue someone in on their status, surely the “2013” date to the left of the design would. The only reason to issue the stamp with a $2 face value (instead of the original value or even as a “Forever” stamp) is to separate us collectors from our cash. I can accept that. I’ve ordered a single sheet myself, though I intend to keep no more than one stamp for my collection, and will use the others for postage.

What really takes the cake, though, is that 100 sheets of the Inverted Jenny reissue were printed with the airplane right side up. What do you call a stamp originally issued inverted when it is intentionally issued normally? An inverted invert? Or is it just normal, even though it’s much scarcer than the inverted variety? (Is your head hurting yet?)

The “normal” stamps are available for sale, but you can’t order them. You see, the special sheets have been placed into the stocks of regular inverts (if that makes sense), which means there’s a chance you’ll end up with one when you purchase what you think is a sheet of inverts. Not much of a chance, but a chance.

It will be interesting to see if the editors of the Scott catalogues assign the special “normal” stamps a catalogue number, or if they’re only mentioned in a footnote. While they don’t appear to be an additional attempt to grab money (unlike the press sheets of many issues being sold without die-cuts), I am myself rather unimpressed with the idea. Only 600 of these stamps exist—an intentionally created rarity arguably designed to spur sales of the stamps (with the aforementioned face value of $2 a stamp, or $12 a sheet). That, to my mind, smacks of the shenanigans of a producer of so-called wallpaper.

What do you think of the “normal” Inverted Jenny? Would you pay potentially far more than face value to a dealer in order to add one to your own collection?

What’s new with Philosateleia

“Real life” has been keeping me pretty busy recently, but here’s what’s new with Philosateleia:

  • All sites beginning with the letter “D” that are represented in my landscape stamps collection are now online. There’s still a long way to go, but I feel like I’m at least make a little bit of progress.
  • The September issue of the Philosateleian Post Horn is ready to go. If you’re signed up, you’ll receive it in your inbox next Sunday.
  • The fall supplement for The Philosateleian is also ready to go. If everything goes according to schedule, you’ll be able to download the new album pages over Labor Day weekend.

Jekyll Island, “Georgia’s Jewel,” getting local post stamp

On October 7, one of the prettiest and most peaceful spots along the Southeast’s Atlantic coast will get its very own local post stamp.

Philosateleian Post is issuing a stamp picturing a beach scene from Jekyll Island, Georgia—“Georgia’s Jewel.”

Philosateleian Post's Jekyll Island stamp
Jekyll Island stamp

Interested collectors are invited to request a free copy of the new stamp; see the press release for details.

Why The Philosateleian does not include Scott numbers

From time to time, I receive inquiries from users asking why I don’t include Scott numbers on the pages in The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album.

The answer is simple: the company that publishes the Scott catalogues won’t let me.

I recently wrote to Amos Publishing asking for permission to include Scott numbers on my album pages, and I received a brief but polite reply from Dave Akin, Amos’s rights & permissions manager, declining my request.

“We have only issued two licenses for this type of use,” writes Mr. Akin. “One is for thematic pages we do not produce and the other pays a significant license fee.”

As Mr. Akin notes, I give away The Philosateleian for free, and thus have no means of paying a “significant license fee.” And I can’t deny that there would be no obvious financial benefit to Amos to give me permission to use Scott numbers on my pages when they publish and sell album pages of their own.

You can, of course, download the editable ODT versions of my album pages and add whatever information you choose, including numbers from the catalogue of your choice; that would seem to me to be reasonable personal use. I just can’t do it for you.

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