US Stamps

By Donna Houseman

How to spend $50 for a 10¢ stamp, courtesy of the USPS

February 05, 2016 08:00 AM

  • A strip of 500 stamps is the minimum required quantity to purchase the 2016 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp from Stamp Fulfillment Services.

By Donna Houseman

Collectors of coil stamps and plate-number coils will get sticker shock when they order the 2016 10¢ Red Pears definitive coil stamp issued by the United States Postal Service Jan. 17.

When Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz placed an order for a strip of 100 of the new coil stamp from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., he received a reply from customer service clerk Mary Guyll stating that “the PEARS item #7993 is only being sold in 10k coils and strips of 500 item #799315 for $50.00.”

Yes, it is true. To obtain the new 10¢ Red Pears coil, you must purchase a strip of 500 or a coil roll of 10,000.

Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke had a similar experience when he attended the Ameristamp Expo in downtown Atlanta the weekend of Jan. 29-31. He reported that the clerks at the USPS sales booth at the show required a minimum purchase of a strip of 500 of the 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp.

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In the past, Stamp Fulfillment Services has sold stamps from large coil rolls in smaller increments, usually of 25 stamps. The Scott editors noticed that the fourth quarter issue of the USPS stamp catalog USA Philatelic no longer offers coils in strips of 25.

The 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp has a plate number beginning with the letter S and followed by six digits on every 27th stamp in the coil.

Collectors who want to add this coil stamp to their collections must purchase 500 stamps.

Put aside for a minute the $50 price tag. How many 10¢ stamps do you really need for postage?

I asked USPS spokesman Mark Saunders about the newly implemented policy regarding coil stamps. He responded in an email to Linn’s, “We will be reviewing our policy over this issue during the next few months.”

January was an expensive month for collectors of United States stamps. The Postal Service issued its first stamp to eclipse the $20 denomination, the $22.95 Columbia River Gorge Priority Mail Express definitive stamp in a pane of 10. Also issued in January were the $6.45 La Cueva del Indio Priority Mail definitive stamp and a $6.45 La Cueva del Indio Priority Mail stamped envelope.

A (49¢) forever definitive stamp depicting the U.S. flag was issued in multiple formats Jan. 29, including in a coil of 100 stamps. This is in addition to the Quilled Paper Heart (49¢) forever special stamp pane of 20 in the Love stamp series, and the 10 (49¢) Botanical Art definitive forever stamps in a pane of 10 and a double-sided pane of 20.

We hope the USPS will reconsider this policy of requiring collectors to spend $50 to purchase a coil strip of 500 stamps in order to add a 10¢ stamp to their album.

Coil strips of 100 allow collectors to separate the strips they need for their collection with a reasonable quantity of stamps left over to be used on mail — a win-win solution.