‘Red, White and Blue’ flag stamps to be issued April 25 at Westpex

By Jay Bigalke

The United States Postal Service provided this preliminary design image of the four Red, White and Blue forever coil stamps to be issued April 25 at the Westpex stamp show. This image shows the stamps next to each other, while the actual stamps will be issued with spaces in between.

Four United States nondenominated (49¢) Red, White and Blue forever stamps will be issued April 25 in coils of 10,000.

A 2 p.m. first-day ceremony is scheduled during the Westpex stamp show. The event will take place in the Irvine Room at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, Calif., just south of San Francisco International Airport.

This is the second large coil with more than 100 stamps to be issued with a forever denomination. The first was the Ferns coil of five designs issued March 6.

The four Red, White and Blue stamps, designed by USPS art director Ethel Kessler, each show slightly different interpretations of the American flag.

Collectors will be able to differentiate the similar stamps by counting the number of complete stars shown in each design. From left to right, in the nearby illustration, the star counts are: four, two, five and three.

The Postal Service states that the designs were “inspired by 20th-century American ephemera, such as pins and flags.”

The U.S. Postal Service’s preliminary design pictured here shows the stamps directly adjacent to one another, but the actual stamps will be issued with spaces between them to facilitate their use in stamp-affixing machinery. The stamps are being issued primarily for use by businesses that send first-class letters in large quantities.

The gravure-printed stamps were manufactured by USPS contractor CCL Label Inc. of Clinton, S.C.

An initial print quantity of 150 million forever stamps (15,000 coils) was produced.

A plate number appears on every 32nd stamp in the coil roll.

No press sheets are planned for this issue.

A digital color postmark will be offered on sets of five uncacheted first-day covers at a cost of $8.20.

Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the Red, White and Blue forever coil stamps can be found in the box on this page.

Nondenominated (49¢) Red, White and Blue forever coil stamps

FIRST DAY— April 25, 2014; city— Burlingame, Calif., and nationwide.

DESIGN: designer and art director— Ethel Kessler; typographer— Greg Berger; modeler— CCL Label Inc.; engraver— WRE.

PRINTING: process— gravure; printer and processor— CCL Label Inc., Clinton, S.C.; press— Dia Nippon Kiko; inks— red, blue; paper— nonphosphored, type III, overall tagged; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 150 million stamps (15,000 coils); format— coil rolls of 10,000, from 320-subject cylinders; size— 0.84 inches by 0.73 inches (image); 0.98 inches by 0.87 inches (overall); plate numbers— “C” followed by two single digits every 32nd stamp; USPS item No.— 776504 (coil of 10,000).

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 first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Red, White and Blue Forever Stamps, Retail Manager, 220 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by June 24.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted set of four first-day covers for the Red, White and Blue stamps is item No. 776516 at $3.72.

Published 4/10/2014 11:00 AM