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The Historical Exhibit of Letterboxing Patches

Fun and Friendship:

Sometimes letterboxers don't need an extremely profound reason to create a new patch. In fact, several light-hearted novelty patches have been produced through the years. Whether they are a gesture of gratitude, a form of self-expression, a way for like-minded people to bond together, or something silly just for the heck of it, we love them!
Letterboxing Central Pooch Patch
The "Pooch Patch" was a product of the Letterboxing Central website. It was dedicated to all the canine companions that accompanied their human associates on letterboxing adventures. For a few months in 2001, these patches were given away in a series of contests that were held on the LbNA talk list. Bill and Val, the creators of the Letterboxing Central website, provided us with this patch, which is one of the last few remaining from those early days of American letterboxing. UPDATE: This patch is now available in very limited quantities from this site, with all proceeds going toward the support of this Exhibit.

Patch donated by: Bill and Val


Bonny Anne
Avast, me hearties! Be ye wary of the Bonny Anne... a right fine pirate ship and a legendary international Postal Letterbox, handcarved and assembled by Kreepy Kelli. It contained a stamp, a logbook, a treasure chest full of hand-stamped jolly roger doubloons, and an ample supply of these patches to go around. The Bonny Anne set sail in 2004 and managed to cross the Atlantic twice, visiting Ireland, England, The Netherlands, both US coasts and several points in between. She finally docked home in 2006, after many adventures that included a genuine UK letterboxing meet and at least one major gathering in the US. To our knowledge, this was the first PLB to be commemorated with an embroidered patch.
Patch donated by: Kreepy Kelli
Blue Diamond Worthy Letterboxer
There was much controversy in September 2006 when Ryan announced that Atlas Quest would be assigning "blue diamonds" to the highest ranking letterboxes on the site. In March 2007, once it became obvious that resistance was futile, Lock Wench aparently came to terms with the feature by designing this patch. She points out that patch says LetterboxER instead of Letterbox, her point being that it's more important to be a good person than it is to have what someone considers to be a great letterbox. There are no special criteria to get the patch. Lock Wench says, "If you are a blue diamond in your heart and manner, by treating others with kindness and respect and doing your best to be a positive contributor to the letterboxing hobby, you qualify." UPDATE: In 2010, Lock Wench passed the design on to us, to help support this exhibit. The following year, Lock Wench's original first lot (left) sold out, so we reordered them. However, we designed the second lot (right) to have a little extra sparkle—the diamond gem in the center is now embroidered using metallic blue thread.
Patches donated by: Lock Wench (left) and Der Mad Stamper (right)

LbNA Supporter Patch

Beginning in 2007, this patch became available as a special "Thank You" for the folks with helping hands who keep the Letterboxing North America website alive. The site's current webmaster, Choi, created the patch based on Der Mad Stamper's original design of the LbNA logo. It is sent out to anyone who donates $30 or more to help support the organization. However, Eidolon says he earned his by volunteering to update maps on the website. When he noticed that the patch was not currently represented in this collection, he sent his to us without hesitation. That's what we call placing the greater good of the community over personal bragging rights. (Thanks, Cory!)

Patch donated by: Eidolon

Cootie Crew Club
The Cootie Crew Club was founded by David from Team New Hampshire in March 2007, "for all those children... that enjoy running around at a gathering doing nothing but cootying others." Cooties are miniature letterboxes that are meant to be hidden on unsuspecting letterboxers by being dropped in a backpack, pocket or hood, or clipped onto clothing. Kids love them! Sadly, after an enthusiastic initial round of distribution, the remainder of these patches went missing during a gathering, so they are no longer available.

Patch donated by: Team New Hampshire

Super Boxer (Going Above and Beyond)

In July 2008, Susan "Buggylou" Van Wert posted on Atlas Quest that she had been fortunate to have a couple of very kind people help her out by performing some special box maintainence tasks. She stated that she would like to honor these thoughtful letterboxers by creating a "Super Boxer" patch as a way of expressing her thanks. Some concern was expressed about whether this patch interfered with the purpose of Lock Wench's Blue Diamond patch, but LW herself spoke up and said she thought there was plenty of room for another patch. Buggylou says, "The Super Boxer Patch is intended to be given to those that go 'above and beyond' to help another boxer." She designed the patch herself, and made them available for sale in August 2008. Proceeds help support the letterboxing community by being donated to various relevant websites, including the Traveling Repository of Letterboxing Patches!

Patch donated by: Buggylou
My Real Boxing Buddies
As we honor those who are special to us, let's not forget our canine companions! It is a well-known fact that a letterboxer's best friend is his or her dog. Since the early days in Dartmoor, there has been a longstanding tradition of letterboxing with dogs. In November, 2008, "Karen N K9s" had this beautiful patch made as a tribute to all the people who box with their dogs.
Patch donated by: Karen N K9s
Shut Up and BOX!
Designed and distributed by the Toadfrogs. Online arguments between letterboxers are nothing new. In fact, LbNA cofounder Der Mad Stamper chuckles and tells us, "It's an American letterboxing tradition! We've been 'flaming' each other since 1998!" Part of the problem seems to stem from a reliance on electronic communication, which is prone to misunderstanding. But DMS says, "letterboxers are a passionate lot, so squabbles are inevitable." One particular series of 'flame wars' took place on Atlas Quest in November, 2008, regarding the site's categorization of letterboxes and events. First there was disagreement about what could be called a traditional box, as opposed to an event box. Then another dispute broke out about virtual events showing up on a list with actual physical gatherings. Emotions were high, and it seemed that a lot of fuss was being made over things that are probably best left to individual discretion. Amidst the chaos, a post from Kelley of the Toadfrogs announced, "I'm going to [make] a bumper sticker that says 'Shut Up and Box'. Who wants one?" The response was so encouraging that she had this nifty "SUAB" patch produced instead, and it began shipping on December 17, 2008.
Patch donated by: The Toadfrogs
W W I N ?

Secrecy and stealth have long been an important part of the letterboxing tradition. But, when meeting someone on the trail, wouldn't it be nice to know for sure if they are fellow letterboxers? Somewhere along the line, someone suggested that we should adopt a secret signal to identify ourselves—kind of like secret spy codes in the movies. The phrase "Which way is North?" was adopted, with the accepted letterboxer response being to point straight up at the sky. This theme was eventually adopted as the theme for CapeCod Letterboxer's "North Is Up!" traveler. Back in June, 2008, Grrly Girl (who was, at the time, a relative newcomer to letterboxing) posted a message on Atlas Quest inquiring about the history of this secret signal tradition. Although she never did get a straight answer, she later posted an idea about emboidering "WWIN" on the shoulder strap of her backpack. Soon, she began making plans to produce a brightly colored shoulder strap patch that could serve as a covert signal to other letterboxers. The patch began shipping in March, 2009. Once the first run of patches had sold out, Grrly Girl offered to turn the design over to this site as a fundraiser. An informal poll indicated that some folks thought the original design was a bit large, so it was given a subtle makeover to be slightly more discreet. All proceeds from the sale of this patch now go directly toward the support of this Exhibit.

Patches donated by: Grrly Girl (left) and Der Mad Stamper (right)


The LBK9 patch, designed and distributed by Kimono Girl, became available on June 1, 2009. Kimono Girl describes it as a patch for dogs and the people who box with them, and says her goal was to have a simple letterboxing patch that did not favor any one breed or type of dog. She utilized the LB and compass pointer elements from the LbNA logo in order to keep it along the same lines as many of the other 'official' letterboxing patches. She introduced the dog bone shape and the brown paw print as symbols of 'dogdom' that would not be breed specific. She also explains that the smaller dimensions "were chosen so that this patch would fit on most medium and larger dog backpacks, and even some of the smaller ones, as I have found that most patches two inches or larger don't fit very nicely on some dog packs." At least one canine letterboxing companion has indicated that the patch actually looks good enough to eat!

Patch donated by: RaqsEnigma and Der Mad Stamper

Squires Lake Wars

This patch, created by Celtic Cross in January, 2010, commemmorates a friendly "letterboxing war" that had been building for several years at Squires Lake Park in Alger, just south of Bellingham, WA. Apparently, Gischer Gryffindors got things started in August, 2006, with their first-ever plant, the Eager Beaver box. Many other boxes followed from various planters and, on November 1, 2009, Nite Momith declared it a "war." In the clues to her Squires Lake Wars boxes, she wrote, "doesn't it just drive you crazy, when you get back home... to log in your finds and someone [has planted a new] box where you just visited... Squires Lake, however, may have gotten out of control." Since then, several boxers have persisted in planting near this small lake, seemingly in a playful attempt to simply annoy one another and play on each other's OCD tendencies. Basically, it's open season for "box poaching." Celtic Cross says this patch "is an invitation/incentive to participate and further drive each other crazy." She admits that the phrase, "It started with a beaver" is a somewhat obtuse reference to the 1859 "Pig War" between Americans and Britians over possession of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Bellingham.

Patch donated by: Celtic Cross

Injured in the Line of Letterboxing

It could probably be said that the idea for this patch has been a long time coming. Way back in 2005, there was a Postal Letterbox floating through the mail system called the "Boo Boo Box". It was created by Warrior Woman and would be sent to anyone who had sustained an injury while letterboxing. Over the years, a few people have mentioned the idea of creating a patch for this purpose, but it became official in June, 2010, when Turtlegirl 19 announced that they were available for sale. They were designed by swim_with_fish and, according to Turtlegirl 19, are intended for anyone who's been hurt while letterboxing, "Whether it is a rolled ankle or getting stuck with needle plants - we've all been there!"

Patch donated by: Turtlegirl 19


The very first series of cooties was designed by Iron Bear and carved by Camp Fire Lady for the 2004 Passport to Letterboxing event at Battleground State Park, Washington. Meant to be slipped into an unsuspecting person's pocket, pack, or other possessions, these cute little mini letterboxes are adored by many (especially children), and loathed by some. The original idea for these patches can probably be traced back to a suggestion made by Shiloh in July, 2008, regarding the creation of a "No Cootie Zone" patch for people who "don't want to participate in the cootie thing." His idea never came to be, but remotely similar designs were produced as homemade pin-on buttons, showing up at the "We Live and Breathe Letterboxing" event, and then later on the DixieGraphix website. However, Der Mad Stamper says, "I thought it was about time for cooties to go 'legit' and become actual embroidered patches." He says these designs were inspired by Iron Bear's designs from 2004. "However, I remember the 'Cootie' game well enough to know that a real cootie has six limbs and two antennae, so I did incorporate that knowledge into the designs." These patches are available exclusively from this site, with all proceeds going toward the support of this Exhibit.

Patches donated by: Der Mad Stamper and RaqsEnigma

Boneyard Boxer

This patch was designed and distributed by MushrooM. It was released on October 25, 2010, just in time for Halloween! Its creator writes, "The patch was designed for all boxers who love to play the game in cemeteries (like me!) Of course, it needed to include a touch of black humor!" Thus, the appropriate and humorous tagline, "We All Get Planted Someday." MushrooM goes on to predict, "I think the patch will be a popular first finder's prize for cemetery boxes." We think that's a very good idea!

Patch donated by: MushrooM

Wassa's Eye Bleach

When vaudevillian turned letterboxing computer genius "Wassamatta_u" teamed up with Ryan Carpenter to work on the Atlas Quest Web site, few innocent bystanders suspected the disturbing implications. By June of 2009, the AQ discussion boards had degenerated so far as to conjur visions of "Wassa" in Daisy Duke shorts and a stretchy tube top. Be still, my quivering stomach! Shiloh, a regular poster on AQ, reacted by pleading for a dose of "eye bleach." Always the people pleaser, Wassa quickly responded by offering his newly-invented Eye Bleach on the AQ Marketplace for a mere $9999. And thus, a running gag was born, which became a popular inside joke for those who kept up with the boards, but not a very successful seller for Ryan and Wassa at AQ. Ryan insisted that Eye Bleach was a bargain at any cost, considering some of the things being discussed on the boards; however, he made a desperate offer to reduce the price by 50% in October, 2009. Strangely, there were still no takers. Finally, on November 29, 2010, Ryan devised the ultimate strategy for selling the product. He subjected followers of his "Letterboxing is Fun" blog to a Top Ten list of reasons for Wassa's Eye Bleach, posting a reference to an incredibly disturbing board post each day for ten days, culminating on December 8 with the ultimate justification—affordability. That's right, Wassa's Eye Bleach was now available in the form of an eye patch. Just buy two, loop a strap through the handles, and tie them around your head to cover your eyes before logging on to the AQ discussion boards. "It's not nearly as effective as the eye bleach itself," Ryan admitted, "but you know what they say—you get what you pay for." For the record, the patch on the left, above, was the pre-order prototype that was sent for approval before any others were made. It doesn't really look any different, but it's marked "Prototype" on the back, and has been signed by Wassa himself as proof of its authenticity. Wassa writes, "I figured... what BETTER place to have the first, original, prototype Eye Bleach Patch than in the Patch Display?"

Patches donated by: Wassamatta_u

NOTE: All patches are represented at the same scale for comparison purposes. However, images
have been reduced in size to help discourage the creation of counterfeit reproductions.

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