Greetings from The Olathe Poste!

Collecting Postmarks by Geographic Proximity
Early U.S. American West Trail System Makes For Interesting and Challenging Collecting!
Both in my line of work and through my hobby, I've had great opportunities to meet and work with some pretty amazing people.  Some are fellow members of the MPP club and, better still, they also share even more interests in common with me than simply collecting Mailer's Postmarks.

One such example is history of the American west. A topic that can be pretty challenging when it comes to collecting postmarks from towns that were founded decades ago. Towns which in some cases have disappeared over time yet held great significance in American history. Towns for example, that helped form the American West as we know it today, but that may now be known by different names or are not located in quite the same geographic location as they once were.

Some of those 'amazing people' I mentioned, like me, find this aspect of collecting postmarks very fun and exciting.  But I will warn you now, it can be frustrating, too.

Spending hours pouring over old maps and more modern renditions.  Scouring history books to find out how and when (and sometimes why) a town name, or a landmark name has changed, or where it actually was located in the first place.  Then there are those names that were used as nicknames by the early western explorers that may or may not have been further identified or cross-referenced with present day monikers.

And, as it stand now, trying to put together a geographic collection with MPP cancels alone is virtually impossible!  But some Mailer's Postmarks can be had and they truly are icing-on-the-cake when you find a willing MPP user that can add to your specific collection.

To better define what I'm talking about, look at (and make a print of) the map from the link below.  Then find one of the early American trails or emigration routes such as the Mormon Trail, if that one is of interest to you.

PDF file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader EARLY TRAILS & Emigration Routes

Then, correlate the old trail onto modern day maps (TIP: atlases work well for laying out a basic large scale model to work from). Next, highlight or list the towns that currently exist along the modern day replacements (roads and highways) of the then footpaths and wagon trails of yesteryear.

It's much easier said than done!

And, if you research the old trail systems from history books, that's when you'll start finding descrepancies that need to be sorted out. Or other things to drive you crazy, such as towns that exist in the same proximity of these old trail systems today. But when in fact they weren't even thought about until modern day civilization created them. A time long after the actual history of a trail was set into the history books. Forcing you to ask yourself the question: "Do I use this town and postmark, or not?"

Then, of course, start going after obtaining the postmarks that will comprise your collection.

The good news about a collecting project like this is: it is a project that can last for years.  Not to mention all the good stuff you're going to learn while you're at it.

Another plus... while certain topically related postage stamps may be difficult to obtain for use on covers that you send away to receive postmarks on.  There are other philatelic alternatives (Cinderella stamps) that can also be used to make special, decorative covers to spice up your collection.  (Some examples will be found elsewhere on this web site.) Not to mention that you can do whatever it is that pleases you.   Afterall, it's your collection.  Make it something that satisfies you.

One gentleman that I know who may still be working on a Bozeman Trail collection, simply uses postcards that he makes himself from white card stock, and doesn't care about fancy postage stamps. Using nothing more that whatever is the current stamp that pays the postcard rate. Quite similarly, he completed the Chisolm Trail in the same manner.   The postmarks bearing the historic town names along the trail were what mattered for him.  No frills, no thrills. But that's what collecting is all about.  Doing what makes you happy!

Just to show you that it really can be done, here's a set of album pages that I created awhile back from one of these types of projects:

PDF file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader Kit Carson's Old Spanish Trail Route

For the most part, I've got quite a little collection of excellent covers and postmarks, with covers to adorn all the album pages shown in the set. When time allows, I am still working on this collection. It's just as much fun today as when I first started on it. I hope you'll give it a try for yourself as well. And I can tell you that there is at least one Mailer's Postmark to be had for inclusion with this Old Spanish Trail mini-collection.

And by all means, if you start collecting along one of the other trails from the big "overview" map, please let me know about it. For then you will be one of those amazing people too.



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COLLECTING POSTMARKS - Add the reference book, Collecting Postmarks, to your philatelic library to help you start your own collection.

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