Plate number collectors have something new to look for: a different prefix letter for the 2012 United States Purple Heart forever stamp (Scott 4704) issued in a pane of 20.
The plate block from the new printing, pictured here, carries the number C111111. The original issue is inscribed V111111.
Individual stamps from the two versions are indistinguishable: The die cuts, tagging, year date and design are all the same. The press sheet configuration of 21 panes per sheet also remains the same.
Stamp printer CCL Label Inc. of Clinton, S.C., produced the new variety in January, according to information revealed in the First Quarter edition of the U.S. Postal Service’s USA Philatelic mail-order catalog.
The change in the prefix letter is the result of Avery Dennison’s secure printing division being acquired in July 2013 by CCL Label.
The plate numbers on stamps printed by CCL following the acquisition have carried the C prefix.
For ordering purposes, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., has assigned item number 185404 to the CCL printing of the Purple Heart stamp in a pane of 20.
Scott catalog editors will modify the descriptive text for the current Scott 4704 listing to note the plate number variations.