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Rattlesnake Island

Local Post

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The following collection contains single stamps, sets, perforated corner blocks, imperforate corner blocks, full panes and imperf full panes, as well as, a cover.

At the western end of Lake Erie lies a small archipelago known as the Lake Erie Islands. Three of the larger islands lie in a north-south alignment: North, Middle, and South Bass Islands, the latter being the best-known due to the town of Put-In-Bay, a popular tourist mecca in the summer months. Lying approximately 2-miles to the west of Middle Bass Island and 11-12 miles north-northeast of Port Clinton, Ohio, is an 85 acre island known as Rattlesnake Island, little-known until 1966, when it became the location of the only airmail local post in the United States.

The modern history of Rattlesnake Island began with the purchase of the island about 1929 by Herbert Bennett, the owner of the Toledo Scale Company, who developed the island by putting in a lodge, harbor, and east-west landing strip. A second north-south landing strip was added in the 1950's by a Catholic order. In 1959, the island was sold to James P. Frackelton, M.D., a Cleveland surgeon and owner of the Cleveland Stamp and Coin Company, and Robert C. Schull, a stockbroker. Subsequently, Dr. Frackelton applied to the U. S. Post Office Department under Title 18 for the establishment of a local post for the island, as repeated requests for regular mail service had been denied.

In the early days, mail was delivered to the island by boat in the summer, and horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. Many a harrowing story was associated with these methods. By 1959, Ralph Dietrick, a veteran World War II pilot, and owner of Island Airways, was providing mail service to North, Middle, and South Bass Islands utilizing the famous Ford Trimotor, or "Tin Goose," as it was affectionately known. This service was enlisted by Rattlesnake Island Local Post upon it's inception, adding not a little bit of philatelic and aeronautical romance to the story. So much so, in fact, that the 1966, 1967, and later the 20th Anniversary stamps all pictured the Ford Trimotor on them, as well as one of the rubber handstamps applied to most mail.
Approval from the Post Office Department was finally obtained in 1966, and the first stamps, rectangular in shape, were issued on August 27th in three denominations: .05¢ for postcards, .10¢ for letters, and .25¢ for bulk postage - all three in perforate and imperforate form, a practice which was to continue with each years' issue (fig.1). The .05¢ stamp (black and light gray with red text) depicted a map of the island; the .10¢ stamp (pale green with black text) depicted the Ford Trimotor approaching the island; and the .25¢ stamp (pale blue with black text) depicted a boat at the island's dock. Dr. Frackelton, the designer of the stamps, thought the colors, particularly on the .10¢ and .25¢ stamps, were too light. A second printing was ordered with darker colors, and these appeared in September, 1966. Of course, additional U. S. postage had to be applied to each item in order to effect entrance into the U. S. postal system at Port Clinton, Ohio (the 1st class letter rate was then .05¢).

from: Rattlesnake Island Local Post by John R. Grow M.D.

Figure 1 - Inaugural 1966 Rectangular Stamps, 1st Printing

Along with the above set, here are the other items included in the collection:

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A set of all 3 issues in perf and imperf full panes (click for larger image)


A set of first triangle issue in perf and imperf full corner imprint blocks and a mounted set and pane (click for larger image)


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This set of panes are printed lighter than the regular panes - an error?? (click for larger image)

Imperforate block of 4 of the first 10 cent issue (click for larger image)

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Early flown cover (click for larger image)

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A few other issues in perforated and imperforated condition (click for larger image)


Some items have folds and creases from poor storage habits, but in general this is a very nice lot.


The complete collection is SOLD!!

To order or ask about this collection, just email us with your ORDER HERE

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