Aug. 8, 2021

36. 2021 Postmark Experiment Results

36. 2021 Postmark Experiment Results

In today’s episode, we will be talking all about the results of the 2021 Droids Postmark Experiment

Drilllog Kickstarter


The new rates will take effect on August 29, 2021.

New Postal Bulletin

The results blog post

The results table

The Chien-Shiung Wu postmarks were returned but they were all done with the black and white postmark.

For the Droids postmarks, the 24 Pounds Strathmores and the Press-N-Peel envelopes came out on top of this 5 envelope comparison.  The 24# Strathmores, in my opinion, are a better product than the USPS uses for their own postmark product.  I will be posting pictures from the experiment on Instagram in the following days.  Each of the envelope types have links to their product pages on  All materials, including stamps, mailers, envelopes, and postage were paid for by John West. 

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 Golden, CO 80402  

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36 Postmark Experiment 2021 Droids results

[00:00:00] John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 36 of stationer Rover, where we are all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host John West, and I'm joined by my cohost Evan Harris. In today's episode, we'll be talking about the results of the 2021 postmark experiment featuring the droid. So good day, Evan 

Evan: [00:00:18] Hi, how are you doing?

John: [00:00:20] extremely well, glad to be back in the United States of America, find laughter almost two weeks abroad or two months abroad. 

Evan: [00:00:27] What's abroad. Yeah.

John: [00:00:29] We're finally in the same time zone. 

Evan: [00:00:31] Yeah. For the first time in the same time zone.

John: [00:00:34] Yeah. with all the traveling and everything else. My retail therapy has suffered greatly, so I don't have anything new acquisition wise other than I did change my drill log Kickstarter after listening to Brad Dowdy, talk about the the different sizes and the fact that the the normal Kickstarter drill log is about the same size as an unposted.

Cool Waco [00:01:00] sport. I thought really hard about that and went back and changed it to the twin tip because you can post false post the the cover onto the back of that and make it longer. My hands aren't small, so I wanted the bigger handle for that. So I changed my Kickstarter for that.

And I think I, when I did that, it was today. They have 25 days left on that kickstart. 

Evan: [00:01:23] great to know. I haven't bought it yet, but I keep considering it. I don't think I'd use it that much. That's why I haven't I might end up doing it.

John: [00:01:31] Yeah. And I understand that you are working on a new journal and it's from somebody we've talked to.

Evan: [00:01:36] That's right. Since our last recording, I finished my journal, the journal I was using, which was a left turn of 1917. And I bought, I had purchased after we talked to Darrell to musubi journals. So I started one of those and it is a a Suby folio journal. So don't have a fancy cover yet. When he releases the covers, I'll be buying one.

But it cross grid. Tomomi river old Tomo [00:02:00] refer journal.

John: [00:02:01] Nice. And you picked up too though. So you were thinking ahead and stocked up. 

Evan: [00:02:04] I'm thinking I had it with how many pages are in it. Each one should last nearly a year. If not, a little more.

John: [00:02:10] Nice. And so the us postal service is helping me out a little bit with my my FOMO for retail therapy. And just to give everyone a heads up here, the new postal rates will be taking effect on August 29th, 2021. So if you want the less expensive, forever stamps that will work after the postal price increase, get them now. 

Evan: [00:02:32] Yeah. So of course there are designs that are not out yet that unfortunately you cannot get, but there are ones that have been released already that you can and plenty of the ones we've talked about, all this.

John: [00:02:42] The big one that I've got on my radar are the solar science ones. 

Evan: [00:02:46] I need to pick up some of those. The Raven story also looked really neat in those gym outreaches.

John: [00:02:52] Since we're talking about the poster bulletin there has been a new poster bulletin since the last time we talked and they've got a bunch of new postmarks [00:03:00] in their black And whites and a few new color pictorial postmarks

Evan: [00:03:05] And that's right. So there are a bunch of new black and white ones. We're not to go over all of them for various events, but some of the ones that we liked and were favored about last time, I mentioned a different one somewhat related for a stamp show and. Nevada, but this is the space topic to study group stamp out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which I would probably join if I lived there.

And it's for Apollo 15 again, and this one is especially commemorating James Irwin who was born in Pittsburgh. 

John: [00:03:32] Yep. Nice. And I, they ended up with a few of them in here from a Rosemont, Illinois, one for the great American stamp show, one for celebrating the windy city. And then the other one that caught my attention is a one for the. Wilbur Czech festival in Wolver station, in Wolverton, Nebraska. And for those of you that don't know where that is, you are completely excused.

It is a very small dot on the map. Southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska. 

[00:04:00] Evan: [00:04:01] I did not know that there's another Wilkins the Wilkinsburg stamp club has another one from Pittsburgh just to, from Pittsburgh as well.

John: [00:04:07] Actually Rosemont, Illinois, I'm just looking at this house four different new postmarks. 

Evan: [00:04:13] That is, yeah. For 

John: [00:04:14] somebody has been busy. 

Evan: [00:04:15] someone, us, somebody has been busy. There's also if you happen, you can't do it unless you have a time machine happened to be on the day of recording in Bram, Minnesota, you can go to the brand PI day for PI capital of Minnesota. Yeah.

John: [00:04:30] Yeah. And then for the color postmarks we've talked about some of the stamps, but this will be the first time we've seen some of the new color pictorial postmarks and one of them's for the Mid-Atlantic lighthouses.

And that one's a, that one's a pretty one.

Evan: [00:04:44] that it is. I like both the color in black and white for this and the stamps are interesting and well done. I think we're also for the first time that we've noticed the first day of issue stamps for the Missouri statehood stamps there is one featuring [00:05:00] some plants that was very nice and a more traditional black and white one with the outline of the city.

John: [00:05:05] Yep. And then the the last one that's going to be new for us. And this is, cause this is going to be a new stamp release. They're also going to be doing a pictorial postmark for the happy birthday stamp. And that will be coming out of Kansas. 

Evan: [00:05:19] Yes, but nominally, like many of these are nominally re out of somewhere else. The backyard games are out of Rosemont. The Missouri statehood is out of Jefferson city, Missouri.  Not Kansas city, which is in Missouri. But the, I liked that the happy birthday stamps are nominally out of toast, North Carolina.

John: [00:05:39] Yep. Yeah. I've missed that. I've, I'd forgotten that the stamps are issued from a different area yeah, that's correct. Toast North Carolina. 

Evan: [00:05:47] Which I don't know where it is in North Carolina, but I like the name.

John: [00:05:50] I have to be, have to go look that one up 

Evan: [00:05:53] The happy birthday stamps will be released from toast on September 9th, 2021.

[00:06:00] John: [00:06:00] very good. Yeah. And I think the pictorial postmark isn't until first of the year, 2022. 

Evan: [00:06:06] No. So the pictorial postmark is available until 120 days after first release. So it's available until January 9th, 2022.

John: [00:06:14] Okay. I got that one. Reversed. Got it. Okay. So mentioning postmarks the big news from my end of things is now that I'm finally back in the United States, I have finally had the chance to rummage through all of the packages that were sent back. And we finally have the results of the great 20, 21 pictorial postmark experiment in which I sent.

Five different varieties of envelopes for  color pictorial postmarks to Kansas city, Missouri for their big center down there. And All 10 packages, the chin shin wou stamps. And postmarks actually every single one of those came back black and white. So somebody either didn't understand what first day of issue [00:07:00] meant on the address labels or that was the winner of the, it's not my job, man award for the day. Mega center, but the the droid postmarks came back and all of those were postmarked properly with the color pictorial postmark. And that included everything from the 24 pounds Strathmore all the way through the 80 pound linens that were sent out. So all of those came back and Just wanted to talk through some of the results that came back.

I've got a spreadsheet that I'll put a link in the show notes too. I've also got a. Blog post up on stationary that has the final results table. But if you want to see the full table, I'll have a link to that up in the show notes. I may have to put it up as a PDF, but it'll definitely be I'll put the full table up for everyone.

And the different things I have in here for data pieces, I've got the envelope type, including links to [00:08:00] the. product sites that for each of the envelope types, the color, the best postmark for that type, the worst postmark for that type, the amount of ink penetration, the sharpness of the.

Impression the brightness of the ink, the color scale of the ink, and then an overall rating, which is just an average of those previous categories. And then I put in the cost per 50 envelopes at the time of purchase. I think some of these prices have changed. So I'll go back and take a look at those and I may post up the new prices for those, but it definitely affected one of the ratings that I had in there. And it changed it from a marginally might recommend to, would not recommend just because of the amount of cost per envelope that you'd have from that one. 

Evan: [00:08:49] Yeah. 


So I, I find interesting looking through the spreadsheet, that there was such variation in what the best and worst images on each war.

[00:09:00] John: [00:08:59] And a lot of that came down to how good the detail was on the individual postmark, as well as some of the darker ones. We're affected adversely by the brighter envelopes. So the brighter, the white of the envelope and the brighter, the ink was as it came across on the postmark, it affected some of the darker ones.

There was a, the BB eight and the C3 PO are both a little bit darker because they wanted to have room. Those images for there to be like light glare coming off of the metal. So they made them darker. The two that I ended up picking, as my recommendations are both extremely bright white envelopes that ended up with very bright impressions on them.

And for the darker droids. It made them look better for the bright or for the [00:10:00] dark droids, like a BBA and a C3 PO it washed out the image a little bit, almost like overexposing a camera image. So that was that was what I was seeing. 

Evan: [00:10:12] That makes sense. Were the, did you get these arrived in like the cardboard sleeve package that the normal black and white ones through Kansas city get.

John: [00:10:21] No everything came back. Cause the way I prepackage them, I put them into a bubble wrap. Mailers. And they, all of them were, all of them were sealed, but they were all packed into a cardboard box because of the screw up that I had with the zip code, they had to repackage everything so that they could put the proper zip code on the box.

Evan: [00:10:44] that makes sense. It just, you know what I'm talking about with  have a lot of the Postmates I've sent have been received?

So it comes well, there'll be the letter, which, because I'm only doing the black and white postmarks, I've always been letter locked a card, a thin piece of cardboard, and like [00:11:00] basically shrink, wrapped.

John: [00:11:02] Okay. So they set them up as if they were the postmarks that they send out to the post office. Cause when you get them in there, What does it fill a technically that's not even filled technically sealed. It's just, they're rapping 

Evan: [00:11:13] No, but if you've ever, if you've ever bought stamps online from them, it's the same package.

John: [00:11:18] Exactly. And yeah I've actually got my chin chin, Wu archetype has that kind of packaging with a cardboard backing and then the slip cover, the clear slip cover over the top. 

Evan: [00:11:28] So if my envelopes make it there, or if my letters make it there without having damage, they're definitely making it to the final destination with the white seal.

John: [00:11:39] nice. Cause there'll be they'll end up being Wrapped Nice. 

Evan: [00:11:42] with a cardboard backing but unlike mine, which, because they're actually using a physical stamp to deal with those stamps were down. These are digital color images. So each one's going to be identical and maintain that quality. But it's really interesting to see that some of these results.

John: [00:11:58] Yeah. The the big thing [00:12:00] that I took away from it was, I don't know what envelope the USP S is using for their reference sets, but it's definitely not a. An absolute bright white envelope. And they may have changed the way they had their printer set up at the time. But the one thing I noticed is that the color and brightness of their impressions were not as good as the ones that they had on, especially the Strathmore 24 pound that I had, but some of their sharpness was better for things like the C3 PO and the BB eight. Postmarks, those came out better, but in terms of the overall color and color and brightness almost all of the commercially available ones were at least as good as the U S P S version was for brightness. And the two that were [00:13:00] recommended were almost. Not quite an order of magnitude, but definitely a step up well above what the U S P S envelopes were for that, and same way for the color.

The color saturation was so much better on the Strathmore 24 pound, which really surprised me because that was the lightest envelope that I used. And it was also one of the cheapest envelopes that I use.

Evan: [00:13:25] Yeah.  The two cheapest envelopes in your test where the two are the two you recommend?

John: [00:13:29] Yeah. And so there you go. What you pay for, isn't always what you get. And the one I would absolutely I had on would not recommend, but I think I'd even go a step further up would not recommend?

at all for pictorial postmarks or those linen ones, just because. It really the texture of that envelope severely impacts the sharpness of the impression. 

Evan: [00:13:55] I've not, I've never used the envelopes, but I've used highly textured [00:14:00] paper. Original like original crown mill and in letter locked postmarks and that has worked fairly well. But again, those were our first letters and letter locking. So my tolerances are a little low, are a little less.

John: [00:14:14] Yep.  So I guess the final results of the whole thing was that the Strathmore 24 pound was my ultimate winner. Out of 10, it got a 9.75 rating on it. The only area where it failed in comparison to the U S P S reference was the sharpness. And it was because of that. An overexposure phenomenon that happened because of the brightness of the envelopes.

And then the number two at 8.75. So quite a bit down from where the Strathmore 24 pound was, but still a good result was the 80 pound press and peel envelopes that came out and I guess for some of them, like you were saying before, some of the interesting [00:15:00] results were things like the linen the linen envelopes, the worst impression was the IgE 11.

And then the very next one was the Strathmore 80 pound where the. Impression was the IgE 11 one, because it was a little bit duller. And therefore you could see more of the detail on that particular envelope, but Yeah.

definitely my big thing. That stopped me from recommending the 80 pound Strathmore's is that they were absolutely the most expensive envelope set in the bunch.

Actually I have them listed here at 1695 for 50 of them, and I believe they've actually increased the price to 17 95, 4 50 envelopes. And with the lukewarm. Results that I got from that I just won't recommend them. So the two recommendations are Strathmore 24 pound and the 80 pound press and pills for that.

And yeah really [00:16:00] good results 

Evan: [00:16:01] Okay. 

John: [00:16:01] for those two. And I think I'll have to do another postmark experiment with another of these postmarks might, I might try to do something like the. The happy birthday or something like that. Something colorful. 

Evan: [00:16:17] Happy birthday once need. I might wait for another. The Raven story is also a beautiful image, but it's pretty much almost, it's almost a black and white image in itself.

John: [00:16:26] Yeah. I might wait for another series, like the droids where you've got five different or 10 different images. 

Evan: [00:16:32] Yeah they do those pretty regularly. The only ones that I believe are out right now are 

John: [00:16:38] the, sun science might. 

Evan: [00:16:39] the sun sign. There are a few actually out right now, the tap dancing, the sun science the heritage breeds and the the Mid-Atlantic lighthouses and Western wear.

Those are all series.

John: [00:16:53] Yeah, but they're not the actual postmarks aren't 

Evan: [00:16:57] The postmarks themselves are not. That is true. [00:17:00] Getting the postmark itself is a little less common. I don't think the buds bunny one was either.

John: [00:17:06] Okay. So that, might've been a really rare item then for the post office to do that. So that might be the only time I get a chance to really do that extensive of a test. 

Evan: [00:17:17] Well, We will keep an eye out for it. And if if there's the chance again, I'm sure we will be letting everyone know.

John: [00:17:23] Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, so that was the that was the final result of the postmark experiment and yeah, I sad that the Chinchilla postmarks all came back in black and white, but that's just the way it works out. Yeah. So the next couple of episodes we're going to be concentrating a lot more on the letter locking side of things.

Both of us have been doing some research and looking through some of the letter locking videos, and I think we'll be doing some more stuff there.  Still working on the interview. , On that side of things [00:18:00] probably going to be taking a little different tact for some of the interviews, since I haven't gotten any takers from the last batch of interview requests.

So go a different route 

Evan: [00:18:10] Yep.

John: [00:18:12] and yeah. Thank you all very much for tuning in. Thank you very much, Evan, for making time for me today to 

Evan: [00:18:19] It's great to be here as always. 

John: [00:18:21] ham. Thank you very much. And we will talk to you all in two weeks