By William F. Sharpe
In the Nov. 7 Computers and Stamps column about album pages, I neglected to mention Kevin Blackston’s Philosateleia site.
Blackston includes album pages for almost all United States stamps issued through late 2016. Blackston is a member of the American Philatelic Society, the Local Post Collectors Society, and the Letter Writers Alliance.
These pages are available for free downloads in both PDF (Portable Document Format) or ODT (Open Document Text) versions.
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Download the PDF versions if you just want to print the pages as published. Use the ODT versions if you want to edit the pages before printing.
ODT files can be opened by several free word-processing programs, such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice, as well as recent versions of Microsoft Word and other commercial programs.
You can view a sample single page PDF to see the general arrangement of his pages.
You can download all 800 or so pages from Blackston in one file. You also can download each of nine volumes, or you can download files for individual years. There’s even a set of extra pages that have been requested by users.
The pages provide a wide left margin to allow for a three-hole punch when putting them into an album.
In addition to album pages, Blackston includes an extensive stamp gallery with pictures of most U.S. stamps from 1851 through 2008.
The gallery also features the 14¢ Fourth Bureau issue of 1923 (Scott 565). Although the stamp is inscribed simply “American Indian,” the subject is Hollow Horn Bear (1850–1913), a Brule Sioux warrior.
Look at the long list of landscape stamps from around the world. These are stamps that Blackston owns. Each stamp is illustrated along with an appropriate comment.
Blackston also operates a local post, issuing local post stamps that cover transport from his home to the nearest mail receptacle or post office. His stamps use water-activated dry gum.
Visit the site’s local post page to find a link to Blackston’s printing and perforating services. He offers to print and/or perforate stamp sheets for art stamp creators and other local post operators. You can download a PDF form to order these services.
Blackston uses a vintage hand-operated Southworth perforator that he recently purchased.
Blackston has been writing a blog since 2009. Typically, there are one or two entries each month. You can look through his entries either by date or by topic.
Blackston includes a link to the site, a site providing a tool that lets users create their own album pages, as shown nearby.
You set page parameters on the left side and specify a page title, stamp description, height, and width on the right side. Keep adding individual stamps to create a PDF page.
The “page binding” choice allows for wide left or right margins, even margins, or alternating left and right margins if you want to print two-sided album pages. You also can specify either a single or double line for your border.
You can sign up for a free account so that you can save and edit the templates and pages you create.
Click on the “help” heading at this site to see information about measuring stamps, upgrading, and a listing of other sources for free album pages.
The main benefit of upgrading for $15 per year is that you can then eliminate the “Created at FreeStampAlbum.com” tagline in the lower-right corner of each page.