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

Blog archives (November 2017)

Ideal Postal Scale weighs in style

While visiting an antique mall in New Braunfels, Texas, last month, I saw several postal scales of varying sizes and designs. One in particular caught my eye, and although I didn’t purchase it during that visit because I thought it was priced a bit too high, I later returned and made a lower offer which was accepted.

Ideal Postal Scale
Ideal Postal Scale

The basic design of this Ideal Postal Scale, which can accommodate items weighing up to two pounds, has been around for well over a century. The label on the front of the scale has markings for each ounce, but instead of simply having a number indicating each ounce, the label indicates lists what was at the time of its manufacture the appropriate amount of postage for each step up in weight.

Ideal Postal Scale label
Ideal Postal Scale label

By consulting a reference book that I purchased earlier this year—U.S. Domestic Postal Rates, 1872–2011 (Third Edition), by Henry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz—I’ve concluded the scale dates to the latter half of the 1920s.

Although the 2¢ per ounce rate used for first-class mail was in effect from the 1880s on until 1932, the rates listed for other classes of mail indicate that rate changes introduced in 1925 had already come into effect.

Granted, this scale can’t handle heavier packages like modern digital scales can, but I can certainly weigh my outgoing mail and small parcels in style!

New American Indian acquisitions

My collection of the 14¢ American Indian stamp has grown a bit over the past month, and two of the additions are of special note.

First, I snagged this great plate flaw on eBay! If you look closely, you can see that there is a diagonal scratch running from the “ED” of “UNITED” nearly all the way down to the bottom of the vignette. This variety is not listed in Loran French's seminal work, Encyclopedia of Plate Varieties on U.S. Bureau-Printed Postage Stamps, but that book was admittedly published nearly 40 years ago.

14-cent American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch running across vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaw

The other American Indian item that I’m more than a little excited about came by way of a postal history dealer. I’ve generated a detailed writeup, but the summary is that it is an extremely scarce example of the 14¢ stamp paying the quadruple-weight international surface letter rate that was in effect in 1934 (five cents for the first ounce, and three cents for each additional ounce).

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from New York, New York

This is a “show me another one” kind of item, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.