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

Philosateleian Blog

Chambers Stamp Factory key part of postmark history

As a local post enthusiast and a holder of a mailer’s postmark permit #1 in Floresville, Texas, I’ve often wished I could acquire a steel postmarking device like the ones used by postmasters during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern rubber stamps function adequately, and they’re inexpensive, but the impressions they stamp lack the clean lines of those produced with steel handstamps.

What I didn’t realize until recently was that from the late 1860s until the early 1930s, a single company was responsible for producing steel postmarks for the United States Post Office: the Chambers Stamp Factory, which was based near Callao, Virginia. An article in The House & Home Magazine provides background information about the company’s founder and operations.

The Chambers Stamp Factory closed in 1932 after another company that you’re more likely to have heard of won the Post Office’s contract for producing handstamps. The Pitney-Bowes Company produced rubber stamps, and could do so at a much lower price than what Chambers had charged for its employees to chisel steel postmarks by hand.

It’s kind of sad in a way that a company that had been in operation for decades could be run out of business so quickly, but such is progress, and the Post Office’s migration from steel handstamps to rubber is just another part of the story of our stamp collecting hobby.

Purgatory Post issues stamp picturing steamboat James Bell

On October 19, New Hampshire-based Purgatory Post issued the latest in its series of stamps honoring the steamboat that have plied the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. The 4-sola stamp pictures the James Bell, a steamboat launched in 1866 and named for United States Senator James Bell (1804–1857).

Purgatory Post James Bell stamp
Purgatory Post James Bell stamp

According to an accompanying insert prepared by Purgatory Post’s Scott A., the James Bell was one of the larger passenger steamers on Lake Winnipesaukee for nearly 20 years, but in November 1885 it collided with ice that cut through the boat’s hull. The steamboat slowly flooded with water; attempts to effect repairs ultimately failed, and the vessel sank near Lake Village.

Purgatory Post issued the first of its steamboat stamps nearly two years ago. Hopefully we’ll see additional new issues from Purgatory Post coming soon!

Canvey Island Local Post issues four stamps in 2023

A recent mailing from fellow Local Post Collectors Society member Paul W. brought several Canvey Island Local Post stamps to my mailbox, including four issued this year alone.

The first of the stamps was issued May 6 in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III. Canvey Island Local Post printed 200 copies of the stamp.

Canvey Island Local Post King Charles III stamp
Canvey Island Local Post King Charles III stamp

On June 24, Canvey Island Local Post issued a commemorative stamp for United Kingdom Armed Forces Day. The design pictures a soldier carrying a rifle along with the Union Jack. Only 75 copies were issued.

Canvey Island Local Post Armed Forces Day stamp
Canvey Island Local Post Armed Forces Day stamp

Next up was a stamp issued July 6 to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the National Health Service. The design pictures Aneurin Bevan, who was instrumental in the agency’s creation. The original stamp was issued for the 70th anniversary of the NHS in 2018; the new stamp has “2018” crossed out by a handstamped “XX” in blue with “75” overprinted in red. Only 34 copies were so overprinted, which could make this a particularly challenging stamp to find in either mint or used condition.

Canvey Island Local Post National Health Service stamp
Canvey Island Local Post National Health Service stamp

Finally, we come to Canvey Island Local Post’s most recent release: the first stamp in the issuer’s new Famous Aviators series. The stamp pictures Geoffrey de Havilland and a DH 108 tailless jet that broke up mid-flight near Canvey Island in 1946. The stamp was issued September 27.

Canvey Island Local Post Geoffrey de Havilland stamp
Canvey Island Local Post Geoffrey de Havilland stamp

Once again, lots of new material from this English local post, and I’m delighted to be able to share it with you. Thanks to Paul for sharing copies of his latest work with me!

Another donation from a longtime supporter

I’ve been terribly tardy about acknowledging it, but longtime supporter Suzanne M. last month sent a cash gift to help out with Philosateleia’s expenses. This is not by any means the first time Suzanne has chipped in to help pay for my web hosting bills, and I just wanted to publicly acknowledge her contribution and say “thank you” once again.

Other than the time I invest in this website and in keeping The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album updated, my expenses are relatively low; I’m not forgoing meals or anything to make this happen. If you would like to help, however, I’ve shared details on what you can do to show your support!

San Diego Local Post issues flower souvenir sheet

As I continue to work through the pile of material in my mail tray, I’ve rediscovered a souvenir sheet that I received a few weeks ago. San Diego Local Post issued the sheet containing six stamps picturing various flowers during the Great American Stamp Show in August.

San Diego Local Post Great American Stamp Show souvenir sheet
San Diego Local Post Great American Stamp Show souvenir sheet

I have to admit that I’d seen SDLP’s souvenir sheet design earlier this year because Philosateleian Post printed and perforated it! I wasn’t involved in the design process, but I consider it an honor to be involved in the production process for this and other local post and cinderella stamps.

If you’ve been considering creating your own stamps but don’t have a way to perforate them, please keep Philosateleian Post’s services in mind.

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