Beginning with the Major League Baseball All-Stars forever stamps of 2012 (Scott 4694-4697), the United States Postal Service started selling uncut press sheets without the die cuts that normally separate stamps.
Not long after that, I began searching for postally used examples of imperforate stamps cut from these sheets.
As of mid-March, I had acquired 28 such covers; all of them are addressed either to Linn’s Stamp News, Scott Publishing Co., or Amos Publishing, which owns both Linn’s and Scott.
This total suggests that collectors (and some dealers) are cutting up the imperforate press sheets and using them for postage in sufficient numbers that it shouldn’t be too hard to acquire a cover franked with one.
Nonetheless, you need to be diligent and patient in your search.
Of course, I have it easier than most because of my access to the mail that Amos Publishing and its divisions receive each day.
Every other week or so, I sort through hundreds of subscription-reply envelopes looking for the unusual.
The imperforate stamps from press sheets are the latest varieties that I cull from the pile and set aside.
An important reminder: stamps from uncut press sheets, both with and without die cuts, are not listed with numbers in the Scott catalogs.
The low print quantities and availability via mail order only make them ineligible for Scott catalog numbers.
Herewith are a few statistics for the cache of 28 covers I have amassed thus far.
The earliest example, illustrated in Figure 1, is a cover addressed to me that is franked with a 2012 War of 1812 Bicentennial stamp picturing the USS Constitution, postmarked Aug. 22, 2012, in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Aug. 18, 2012, was the official first day of the normal (with die cuts) War of 1812 Bicentennial stamp (Scott 4703).
As such, the Figure 1 cover represents an early use of the imperforate stamp from the press sheet.
The most recent cover, pictured in Figure 2, postmarked Feb. 22 in Portland, Ore., bears a 2013 War of 1812 Bicentennial — Battle of Lake Erie stamp.
Seventeen different issues are represented among the 28 covers I have found. Each cover bears a single imperforate stamp of the given issue.
Of these, the 2012 War of 1812 Bicentennial stamp featuring the USS Constitution is represented the most, with four such covers.
In second place, with three covers, is the imperforate 2013 Emancipation Proclamation stamp.
Six issues each are shown on two covers: 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams), 2012 Purple Heart, 2012 Lady Bird Johnson (Plant for more Beautiful Streets, Lady Bird Johnson), 2012 Christmas (Holy Family), 2013 Muscle Cars (1966 Pontiac, 1967 Shelby) and 2013 Johnny Cash.
Finally, nine issues each are documented on just one cover: 2012 Earthscapes (Railroad Roundhouse), 2012 Christmas (Santa Claus and Sleigh), 2013 Chinese New Year, 2013 Rosa Parks, 2013 La Florida (bottom-right stamp from block of four), 2013 New England Coastal Lighthouses (Portland Head), 2013 Made in America — Building A Nation (Coal Miner), War of 1812 Bicentennial — Battle of Lake Erie and 2013 Medals of Honor (Army).
Twelve of the covers are franked with an imperforate stamp with selvage on one or more sides, which provides added proof that the stamp came from a press sheet without die cuts.
The 2013 La Florida stamp on the cover illustrated in Figure 3 shows marginal selvage at right and bottom.
As an added bonus, the plate number V111111111 appears in the bottom selvage.
One question to ponder for the future: How might the Scott catalog editors deal with the discovery of a legitimate die-cutting-omitted error for a die-cut stamp that also was printed in uncut press sheets without die cuts?
Well, to paraphrase an old saying, we’ll cross that philatelic bridge if (and when) we get to it.
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
September 28, 2015 03:30 AMAfter the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, postal workers not only saved the mail, they saved the new post office building. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.