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So that you stay informed:

July 22, 2014

Not widely reported is the fact that the design of the new Star Spangled Flag stamps from the 3 convertible booklets are different sizes. The width of the design varies, as does the height. The stamps are most easily distinguished in this regard by measuring the height of the flagpole:

12 mm flag at right, Sennett
13 mm flag at right, Ashton Potter
14 mm flag at right, CCL

These differences can be seen in more detail by clicking on the image below:

Click above!

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the perforation on the CCL issue also differs from the perforations on the Ashton Potter and Sennett issues, as well as the fact that the microprinting situation varies:

Sennett, perf 11 x 10, microprinting in the fireworks above the flagpole.

Ashton Potter, perf 11 x 10, microprinting at the right of the bottom white stripe in the flag

CCL, perf 11 x 11, no microprinting


Sennett / ATM sheetlet, perf 11 x 11 (or 10, as with the Sennett CB/20), microprinting in the fireworks above the flagpole.

This information has already been conveyed by Scott and Michel in their new issue listings.

February 10, 2014

Its a battle for control of the skies, and the Jennies are out of control.

August 5, 2012

Click above!

The "Major League Baseball" (MLB) stamps were issued on July 20th. These were issued in normal se-tenant sheets of 20 stamps, as well as in 4 additional sheets of 20, each with one of the 4 baseball players. It is reported that these 4 additional sheets are at postal counters only in or around those cities in which the 4 players once played. These individual stamps cannot be distinguished from the stamps in the se-tenant sheets.

Like so many other new issues, the USPS is offering press sheets, specifically press sheets of the se-tenant issue, as well as press sheets of the individual players, for a total of 5 different press sheets. Here's the catch....The press sheets have no die cutting on either the front or back. They are imperforate. The print quantity of each press sheet is reported to be 2,500, out of which 15,000 imperforate sheets can be cut - to say nothing of how many sheets might be cut up for gutter pairs and cross gutter blocks.

Here is a link of a June 13 press release from the USPS. Here are scans of the front and back of a marketing brochure I received sometime early in June with a shipment of stamps from Stamp Fulfillment Services aka Philatelic Sales Division in Kansas City. In it one finds all the relevant data concerning what's just around the corner. Lesson to me : Read the marketing materials.

The press sheets of the se-tenant issue quickly sold out. Presumably these were first available for pre-orders on or shortly after May 31. Originally 1,000 of the se-tenant press sheets were to have been sold. On June 18 these were already sold out, more than 4 weeks before the first day of issue. Without notice they were placed back on sale on Monday, July 2. On this day I was on the phone with customer service in Kansas City, and was given to understand that the press run had been increased from 1,000 to 2,500 press sheets. The se-tenant press sheets were available for anyone to order through Tuesday, July 10th. On Wednesday July 11th, they were no longer available, fully 9 days before the first day of issue.

Linn's Stamp News has reported that the originally printed 1,000 imperforate se-tenant press sheets will be destroyed, and that 2,500 new press sheets will be printed. According to usps.com the shipments of the se-tenant press sheets should be made around September 1st. The press sheets of the 4 individual baseball players can still be ordered, by the full press sheet, of course.

Last but not least, the USPS said that there were no plans for further imperforate press sheets, and that this thing with the baseball players was a one-off, more or less. Well, more turned out to be less, and guess what, another one is on the way. Linn's has reported that the War of 1812 : USS Constitution issue planned for August 18th will be issued as both a perforated and imperforate press sheet. Here is a link to the front and back of such an imperforate press sheet. Thus far the USPS has not disclosed what the press run will be.

May 20, 2012

The 2011 Christmas Ornaments were printed by Ashton-Potter and Sennett. The Ashton-Potter issue has the microprinting "USPS" on the necks of the ornaments. The Sennett issue has the microprinting "USPS" somewhere else on the stamps.

On the Sennett issue the left block of 4 from the 12-stamp side has doubled microprinting. You can see enlargements of the 8 microprintings.

May 20, 2012

The new Statue of Liberty and Flag stamps are mainly distinguishable through their microprinting, which is hidden in the stamps.

You can see enlargements of the 3 microprintings here.

March 20, 2010

Around October of last year, a new variety of 3792-3801 made its appearance. The new variety is printed on paper that is lightly tagged. Presumably this was done in error. Hopefully this variety will be assigned its own Scott numbers.

February 3, 2010

Ashton-Potter has issued their forever-stamp in an ATM-sheetlet of 18 stamps on February 3, 2010. Previously only Avery printed the forever-stamp in an ATM-sheetlet. It was easy to differentiate these from the other forever-varieties, by virtue of their coarse die-cutting. These varieties existed with the "2007" and "2009" year-dates.

Now things have become more complicated. This new variety from the ATM-sheetlet is almost indistinguishable from the previously issued "2009" forever-stamp from Ashton Potter. In mint condition things are not too bad, insofar as the new variety has printing on the back, whereas the previously issued Ashton-Potter stamp has no back printing. In used condition, one must pay special attention to the size of the year-date. The year-date on the new ATM-variety is the smallest bit smaller than the year-date on the existing Ashton-Potter stamp. It is likely the case that the new ATM-stamp is a bit thinner than the existing Ashton-Potter issue from the 2-sided convertible booklet. The paper on the new variety appears to be whiter. Both stamps have identical die-cutting.

Linn's Stamp News also reported that the new variety is overall tagged, where the entire stamp glows green under shortwave UV, whereas the prior version from the convertible booklet of 20 was printed on prephosphored paper, where the printed areas of the stamp do not glow green.

Here's a scan of the new ATM sheetlet, as well as an enlargement of both stamps, so that you can compare the 2 year-dates. The existing variety from the 2-sided sheetlet of 20 is on the left; the new variety from the ATM-sheetlet of 18 is on the right.

Click above !

The News Archive from 2006

The News Archive from 2007

The News Archive from 2008

The News Archive from 2009

The News from This Year


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