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

Blog archives (July 2013)

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.

Summer stamp activities

In the July issue of the Philosateleian Post Horn, I asked if collectors were keeping up with their stamps during the summer, or if warmer weather had folks focusing on non-philatelic pursuits. Several readers responded.

“We have been having spring weather (rain, rain, and more rain),” writes Tom M. “This has allowed me time to plow into my collection and add many more stamps to the pages. I am still, however, behind in my goal to be all put away by year’s end, but will press on during these rainy hot days.” Dan S. is also “still collecting even though the temperature is in the 90s and dew point in the 70s.” (The weather in both cases obviously lends itself to keeping the stamps indoors.)

Other readers are taking a little bit of a break. Debbie J. says her grandchildren are on summer break, and she is spending extra time with them. And Dave N. has done little with his stamps for a couple of weeks, but he has ordered some stock pages with an eye toward organizing some stamps for sale.

Speaking of selling stamps, Dave asked about my eBay activities. I list items from time to time using the handle “philosateleian,” and you can find my items listed on my eBay My World page.

How are you spending your summer? Is there any time for stamps?

Magical world of mailboxes

Several months ago, I made mention of seeing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Roto-Gage accessory during a visit to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, with my wife. It was a pleasant surprise to find this piece of philatelic lore on display.

I was also impressed by the number and variety of mailboxes on the two Disney properties we visited. Leave it to a stamp collector to find such things interesting, I suppose. Here are the highlights.

Magic Kingdom

Disney’s Magic Kingdom is so full of colors and sounds that I wasn’t necessarily even looking for mailboxes, but this one on Main Street was too cool to pass up.

Green antique mailbox on Disney World's Magic Kingdom's Main Street
Mailbox on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street

According to the placard pictured below, Disney staff collect any mail deposited in the box, which is on loan from the U.S. Postal Service, and make sure it reaches the regular mailstream.

Label indicating Disney staff collect any mail deposited in mailbox
“It’s not just for show…”

Unfortunately, I had no stamps with me—an oversight that I’ll have to ensure doesn’t happen again—so I couldn’t test the service.

Hollywood Studios

During our visit to Hollywood Studios the next day, mailboxes seemed to be in even greater supply. We spotted a deep blue example with the old U.S. Mail logo on the side, and a two-tone red and blue piece that also said U.S. Mail in sans-serif font without any logo at all.

Blue mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
Blue mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
Red & blue mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
Red & blue mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

Both of these mailboxes were in an area designed to look like a movie set. Given that the “buildings” along this street were fake with non-opening doors, it only makes sense that the boxes would be, too.

Finally, we saw this drab olive beauty.

Olive mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
Olive mailbox at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

This box with “U.S. Mail” and “Relay Mail” on the side is not a mailbox you would put a letter in even if it was functional. As noted by Karina Chapman in her blog post titled “Relay Mail boxes: US postal history found on a walk in town,” mail carriers in the city use drab-colored relay mailboxes like these to temporarily store letters and packages, either so they don’t have to lug around everything on their route, or so another carrier who’s coming along can help distribute it. These boxes are apparently becoming less and less common, which made seeing one a special treat.


I was not expecting to see such a wide sampling of mailboxes at Disney World, and who knows—I may have missed a few. Still, it was definitely a philatelic treat in an unexpected location.