By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
The U.S. Postal Service issued five 49¢ Ferns coil stamps Jan. 27, 2014 (Scott 4848-4852), and then on March 6, 2014, issued the same designs as nondenominated forever stamps (4874-4878).
The stamps were printed by CCL Industries with plate number C1111.
The Ferns forever coils were only on sale for a short time before the printer lost the contract to Sennett Security Printers, which printed the current version with plate number S1111. Both versions have vertical serpentine gauge-11 die cuts, but they are easily distinguishable by the plate number.
The CCL Industries version quickly sold out at post offices and was only available by mail order from Philatelic Fulfillment in rolls of 10,000.
Many collectors and dealers missed buying this version at face value from the Postal Service.
The 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the plate-number strip of five at $10 in mint never-hinged condition. The plate-number strip of 11 is valued at $16.50. Postage value for a strip of five is $2.45 and for a strip of 11 is $5.39.
Plate-number strips of five are currently selling in the $5-to-$9 price range. Plate-number strips of 11 are currently selling in the $16-to-$22 range. Buy them now before they rise further in value.