Posted 9 years ago
This simple measurement and optical tool should be any serious stamp collector's object of fascination. Said to be from the early 1930s, this tiny gadget is molded in dense Bakelite. This multi-function gadget has a stamp measurement scale, a stamp perforation gauge, and tiny tub for watermark inspection, all supported for closer viewing with a movable and hovering magnifying lens.
I acquired this item as a collectible, but it also comes handy in use as a good perforation gauge for early US stamp issues in my collection. The Roto-Gage was manufactured by Imperial Molded Products Corporation, Chicago, USA. My Roto-Gage came in its original box which still holds the retailer's price tag - Parker & Batterby, 46 W, 50th St., N. Y. C. (Cutlery - Kodaks) $ 2.50 - possibly the original price.
The National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution has one of these on display (the magnifying glass missing though), which was on FDR’s desk in the Oval Office from 1937 until 1945. It seems a fifteen-year-old stamp collector from Illinois had given it to the President. FDR's association with the Roto-Gage is mentioned all over the Internet today. I guess that makes it a more desirable collectible item in the list of office antiques from the turn of the 20th Century.