US Stamps

By Charles Snee

New U.S. Flag and Fireworks coil error discovered in Alabama; some used on mail

January 07, 2015 04:14 PM

  • This torn strip of four Flag and Fireworks forever coil stamps is missing the vertical die cuts that normally separate the stamps. The new error surfaced in Alabama in December and will be listed in Vol. 1 of the 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

A new die-cutting-omitted error of a United States Flag and Fireworks forever coil stamp turned up in Alabama in mid-December.

Specifically, the error applies to the Flag and Fireworks coil printed in rolls of 100 by Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products (Scott 4868).

“USPS” is microprinted in the fireworks above the flagpole. Microprinting is a security feature used to deter counterfeiting.

On Dec. 20, Linn’s received an e-mail from a collector in Alabama with an attached image of a cover franked with what appeared to be a badly torn Flag and Fireworks stamp.

At the request of Linn’s, the collector sent the cover for examination.

Upon close inspection, a conclusive determination regarding which Flag and Fireworks stamp was affixed to the envelope could not be made.

Linn’s then contacted the original mailer of the cover, whose complete return address was handstamped on the front of the cover and preprinted on the back flap.

That individual, who also lives in Alabama and is not a stamp collector, told Linn’s that he bought the roll at a local post office.

When he began to use the stamps, he said, he discovered that he couldn’t easily remove a stamp from the backing paper, because the die cuts between individual stamps were missing.

Nonetheless, he told Linn’s that he continued to use the stamps on his mail by tearing them from the roll.

Linn’s asked the individual to send a small strip of stamps from his roll to examine. He agreed to send a strip of four.

When the strip, illustrated on page 1, arrived, it was apparent that it had been torn from the roll, instead of cut.

Furthermore, the individual had paper-clipped the strip to a small piece of note paper.

Unfortunately, the paper clip made a permanent imprint on the third and fourth stamps.

A dark horizontal line from the clip is plainly visible on the fourth stamp.

Linn’s called the individual Dec. 30, to advise him that the strip of four had arrived.

He informed Linn’s at that time that he had about half of the original roll of 100 left.

Linn’s and the Scott catalog editors examined the strip and determined that no evidence of die cutting exists between any of the stamps.

As such, a new Scott catalog listing will appear in the U.S. listings in Vol. 1 of the 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue as Scott 4868b; pair, die cutting omitted.

This is the second error of the Flag and Fireworks coil stamp printed by BCA. The first, Scott 4868a, is a vertical strip of three horizontally unslit between the stamps.