US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

New definitive series begins with 10¢ Red Pears coil

January 22, 2016 03:27 PM

  • The 10¢ Red Pears stamp issued Jan. 17 is the first in a planned series of 2016 definitive stamps showing fruit. Artist John Burgoyne has created illustrations for at least three issues.
  • A set of four 33¢ Apples stamps issued in 2013. The illustrations on these stamps were created by John Burgoyne, who also illustrated the 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp issued Jan. 17, and two other Fruit stamps planned for 2016.

By Michael Baadke

A new United States definitive stamp series is underway, with fruit as its principal theme.

A 10¢ Red Pears self-adhesive coil stamp was issued Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C., with no first-day ceremony.

Collectors will be able to send for Jan. 17 first-day cancels from Washington using information in the technical details box shown below.

The stamps are printed and processed by Banknote Corporation of America in Browns Summit, N.C. CCL Label recently purchased Banknote Corp., which previously had printed stamps for Sennett Security Products.

Banknote Corp. is now producing U.S. stamps under its own brand. The 10¢ Red Pears issue, however, will show a plate number beginning with the letter S and followed by six digits on every 27th stamp in the coil.

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It is expected that future Banknote Corp. issues will use a plate number beginning with the letter B, similar to the $22.95 Columbia River Gorge stamp, which was also issued Jan. 17 and is described in this Linn’s issue on page 22.

The vignette (central illustration) for the new 10¢ coil stamp shows two red pears with shadows, created by artist John Burgoyne using pen and ink plus watercolor to produce the original art.

The Postal Service notes that pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, and that thousands of varieties in hues of green, yellow, red, and brown are grown throughout the world.

The U.S. Postal Service revealed Jan. 15 that the stamp would be issued in a self-adhesive coil of 10,000. A smaller “strip” of 500 stamps can be ordered from USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services for $50 as USPS item 799315, but no additional information about any other smaller ordering increments for mint stamps was revealed.

There was also no information offered about a USPS-produced first-day cover for the 10¢ Pears coil.

In a conference call with reporters on Dec. 19, 2015, acting director of USPS Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner first presented information and images for the new 10¢ Red Pears stamp, a 1¢ Apples stamp and a 5¢ Grapes stamp.

Penner did not say when the Apples and Grapes stamps would be issued, nor what format they would take, such as coil or sheet stamp.

USPS advance artwork, which can be deceiving, shows all three designs formatted as coils.

All of the stamps feature illustrations by Burgoyne, confirming that an all-new Fruits definitive stamp series is beginning.

Or did the set actually begin three years ago?

Collectors might recall that Burgoyne already created a fruit-related issue in 2013, coincidentally issued on Jan. 17 of that year.

The 33¢ Apples set of four (Scott 4727-4730) strongly resembles the preliminary artwork revealed by Penner for the 10¢ Red Pears, 1¢ Apples and 5¢ Grapes stamps.

The 2013 set was issued as self-adhesives in a pane of 20, fulfilling the then-current postcard rate.

The apples on the planned 1¢ stamps are shown as a pair on a tree branch, different from the freestanding single apples on Burgoyne’s 2013 stamps. Yet the designs of the two issues are similar, with plain white backgrounds and a shadow.

Since 2002, low denomination U.S. definitive stamps have been part of the American Design issue, which began with the 5¢ Toleware Coffeepot coil stamp issued May 31, 2002 (Scott 3612).

Other stamps in that series that have been issued in various formats over the years are the 1¢ Tiffany Lamp, the 2¢ Navajo Jewelry, the 3¢ Silver Coffeepot, the 4¢ Chippendale Chair, and the 10¢ American Clock.

There has been no word from the Postal Service formally announcing the beginning of the new Fruit definitive series or an end to the American Design issue.

Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp can be found in the box below.

10¢ Red Pears stamp, coil of 10,000

FIRST DAY— Jan. 17, 2016; city— Washington, D.C., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist— John Burgoyne, West Barnstable, Mass.; designer, typographer and art director— Derry Noyes, Washington, D.C.; modelers— Michelle Finn and Sandra Lane.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black, Pantone Matching System 4 warm gray, PMS 7619 red; gum— self-adhesive; paper— nonphosphored type III; issue quantity— 200 million stamps; format— coil of 10,000, from 540-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); plate numbers— “S” followed by six single digits, plate number every 27th stamp; marginal markings— none; USPS item No.— 799300.

First-day cancel ordering information

Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The envelope must be franked with at least 49¢ in first-class postage. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Pears Stamp, Special Events, Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282.

Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by March 17.