US Stamps

Michael Baadke

Fruit series grows with 3¢ Strawberries coil

April 11, 2017 02:30 PM

  • A 3¢ Strawberries coil stamp will be issued May 5 with a first-day ceremony at 11 a.m. in Boxborough, Mass., at the annual Philatelic Show sponsored by the Northeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs.
  • Several varieties of a 33¢ Strawberries stamp were issued in 1999 and 2000 as part of a set of four definitive stamps fulfilling the first-class domestic letter rate then in effect.
  • A nondenominated (44¢) Love forever stamp issued as part of a set of 10 in 2011 features a strawberry, emphasizing the fruit’s heart shape.
  • Canada’s Edible Berries definitive set from 1992 includes a 2¢ Wild Strawberry stamp, one of many issued worldwide for the popular fruit.

By Michael Baadke

The United States Fruit definitive series, which began a little more than one year ago, will add its sixth variety on May 5.

That’s when the U.S. Postal Service will issue a new 3¢ coil stamp featuring strawberries.

The stamp will be issued in a coil of 10,000 at the annual Philatelic Show sponsored by the Northeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs, which is taking place May 5-7 at the Boxborough Regency hotel in Boxborough, Mass.

The stamp show has scheduled a first-day ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday in the hotel’s Seminar room.

The Postal Service has identified nearby Acton, Mass., as the official first-day city.

The black first-day cancel for this issue is pictorial, with an image of three strawberries and leaves.

The illustration that appears on the Strawberries coil stamp is by John Burgoyne, whose artwork has been adapted for all of the current Fruit definitive stamps issued so far.

According to the Postal Service, the new stamp “features a pen, ink, and watercolor illustration of three ripe, red strawberries surrounded by leaves and hulls and three smaller, green strawberries in various stages of growth. A small white flower from the strawberry plant completes the picture.”

Collectors who want to purchase the stamp in a configuration smaller than a coil of 10,000 will be able to buy 500 stamps from the Postal Service for $15 as USPS item No. 760315. Customers cannot order the 500-stamp quantity until the stamp is issued on May 5, Postal Service spokesman Mark Saunders told Linn’s Stamp News.

The current Fruit definitive series began Jan. 17, 2016, with the release of a 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp (Scott 5039).

The series has since seen the release of a 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes coil on Feb. 19, 2016 (Scott 5038), a 1¢ Albemarle Pippin Apples coil on Aug. 12, 2016 (5037), a 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes stamp in a pane of 20 issued Feb. 24 (5177), and a 10¢ Red Pears stamp in a pane of 20 issued March 23.

The Fruit definitive series appears to be replacing stamps from the 2002 American Design definitive series. The 3¢ stamp in that earlier series was the Silver Coffeepot design, which was issued as a perforated coil stamp with moisture-activated adhesive on Sept. 16, 2005 (Scott 3759), and a self-adhesive stamp in a pane of 20 on March 16, 2007 (3754).

United States Fruit definitive stamp series (2016-present)
Scott No. Description (format) Issue date
5037 1¢ Albemarle Pippin Apples (coils of 3,000 and 10,000) Aug. 12, 2016
5038 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes (coil of 10,000) Feb. 19, 2016
5039 10¢ Red Pears (coil of 10,000) Jan. 17, 2016
5177 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes (pane 20) Feb. 24, 2017
to come 10¢ Red Pears (pane of 20) March 23, 2017
to come 3¢ Strawberries (coil of 10,000) May 5, 2017

Along with the six stamps in the new Fruit definitive series, Burgoyne also illustrated a set of four 33¢ Apples stamps issued Jan. 17, 2013, in a pane of 20 (Scott 4727-4730) and a coil of 100 (4731-4734).

The four Apple varieties on this earlier issue depict the Baldwin, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Northern Spy varieties. The 33¢ denomination fulfilled the postcard rate at the time.

Strawberries were previously showcased on several varieties of a 33¢ stamp issued in booklets and coils in a set of four from 1999-2000 (Scott 3296, 3296a, 3299, 3305 and 3405). The other stamps in the set, all illustrated by Ned Seidler, depict blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

In 2011, a set of 10 nondenominated (44¢) Love forever stamps was issued in a pane of 20, with fanciful artwork by Jose Ortega. Plants, flowers and birds appear on the individual stamps, with various heart shapes visible in each subject. One stamp in the set depicts a single red strawberry, emphasizing the natural heart shape of the fruit (Scott 4539).

Strawberries are native to North America and are grown in every state. California is the largest strawberry-producing state by far, and the United States is one of the world’s leading strawberry producers.

Technically, the strawberry is not a berry because its seeds are not on the inside of the fruit. Instead, they are arranged on the outside of the strawberry.

The fruit develops on long stems called runners within small plants that grow close to the ground.

The strawberry is a popular ingredient for jams and jellies, and also serves as a sweet treat eaten fresh. Strawberry plants are also known to grow wild.

According to the California Strawberry Commission, a state government agency, “Strawberries are low in sugar and calories and provide a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and phytochemicals.”

Many other nations have celebrated the strawberry on stamps, including France, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and Japan. Canada issued a 2¢ Wild Strawberry stamp as part of its 1992 Edible Berries definitive set (Scott 1350).

Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the new 3¢ Strawberries coil stamp are provided below.

3¢ Strawberries stamp, coil of 10,000

FIRST DAY— May 5, 2017; city— Acton, Mass., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist— John Burgoyne, West Barnstable, Mass.; designer, typographer and art director— Derry Noyes, Washington, D.C.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller A76; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; gum— self-adhesive; paper— nonphosphored type III; issue quantity— 200 million stamps; format— coil of 10,000, from 594-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits, plate number every 27th stamp; USPS item No.— 760300.

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 FDOI — Strawberries Stamp, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64144-9900.

Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by July 5.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Strawberries stamp is USPS item No. 760316 at 96¢. USPS item numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2017 U.S. Stamp Program.