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

Blog archives (August 2018)

Principality of Thanatos registered cover is a visual treat

Earlier this week, I received in my capacity as editor of The Poster, the Local Post Collectors Society’s journal, a note from Damian Robinson, Postmaster General for the Principality of Thanatos. The Principality, which is part of the micronation scene, is said to exist on a small island off the Scottish coast.

Naturally, this micronation has its own stamps. Mr. Robinson’s letter was inside this envelope, which was itself enclosed and mailed in an envelope bearing appropriate British postage.

Front of registered cover bearing Principality of Thanatos stamps
Principality of Thanatos stamps on registered cover

Starting clockwise from upper left, the stamps, all of which were issued this year, depict:

  • £4 A Dream of Spring by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
  • 50p Passionflower
  • £1 Island of Thanatos
  • £1 Badger
  • 50p Sun parrots & Occussi-Ambeno gold coin
  • £2 Graf Zeppelin & Occussi-Ambeno silver coin

I thought the cover was very well done with its registration label and markings on the front. Then I flipped it over and discovered an additional form on the reverse: a receipt for registered mail that I (as postmaster for Philosateleian Post) am apparently intended to complete and return to the sending postal authority. What a hoot!

Reverse of registered cover bearing receipt for registered mail
Receipt for registered mail on cover’s reverse

This sort of material is definitely on the fringes of “traditional” philately, but there’s no doubt that it makes for an interesting side collection, and I’m impressed with the sender’s creativity. I’ll be writing up these stamps for the next issue of The Poster.

Solo use of American Indian stamp on a registered mail cover

A number of years ago, I decided to begin seeking out examples of my favorite stamp, the 14¢ American Indian, on cover. Since then, I’ve accumulated a number of examples, but only a couple of non-FDC/philatelic solo uses.

Only a couple, that is, until very recently, when I was able to pick up this lovely piece of registered mail sent between two banks in 1924:

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from bank in Chicago, Illinois

This is a fine example of the 14¢ stamp paying postage on a two-ounce letter (at a rate of 2¢ per ounce) plus a 10¢ registration fee. On the surface, it seems like it would be the most easily achieved example of a 14¢ rate during the stamp’s period of use, but the registration fee increased from 10¢ to 15¢ less than two years after the stamp was issued, so maybe it’s not as common as I might have thought.

I’ve prepared a full writeup on this cover as part of my online exhibit, 14 Cents: the American Indian Stamp.

Purgatory Post’s 200th stamp issue features Chauncey Ryder painting

Modern local posts come and go with many of them issuing only a few stamps, but Purgatory Post is a definite exception to that. The New Hampshire based local post earlier this month released its 200th stamp issue, an impressive milestone indeed!

The new 4-sola stamp reproduces The Camp, a painting by Chauncey Ryder (1868–1949), a Postimpressionist painter active in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Purgatory Post 4-sola stamp picturing The Camp by Chauncey Ryder
The Camp

According to Purgatory Post proprietor Scott Abbot, the painting pictures a small cabin in Cape Porpoise, Maine, most likely during the early 1920s. Scott says according to family lore, one of the three figures around the fire is his grandmother, so the painting has a family connection for him.

Scott has previously reproduced other Ryder works on his stamps, including a landscape depicting a New Hampshire brook.

O Beautiful stamps really stand out

Earlier this week, I walked up the street to the post office during my lunch break. There wasn’t much of a line, so I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of panes of the new O Beautiful stamps, and they are real beauties!

O Beautiful stamps, pane of 20
O Beautiful

You might be thinking, We all know you have a soft spot for landscapes, Blackston. Alright, so it’s true…but these stamps with their glossy finish really are nice. I even recognized a couple of the locations: Great Smoky Mountains (top row, fourth stamp) and Yosemite National Park (third row, first stamp—looks like a view of Half Dome from Glacier Point or somewhere in that vicinity). There’s a full listing of the sites pictured in the USPS press release about this issue.

My only complaint? The die cutting between the stamps does not extend through the backing, so I can’t easily break apart a pane of stamps for my landscapes collection. With some careful diagonal cuts I might be able to get a full set of singles out of the two panes I bought, but it will be a close thing.