By Michael Baadke
It sounds like something spooky happened to the United States Halloween stamps.
The United States Postal Service released a statement Sept. 28 acknowledging that when its Jack-o’-Lanterns forever stamps are issued Sept. 29, approximately 5 percent of the production run may be affected by out-of-register die cuts.
The specific nature of the die-cut variation was not described, and the Postal Service noted in advance that it will provide no additional comment.
A statement from Sandra Lane, vice president of Banknote Corporation of America, which printed and processed the Jack-o’-Lanterns forever stamps for the Postal Service, says, “Stamps with out of register die cuts have been identified as being shipped to the USPS. Out of register die cut is part of the normal process variation and requires segregation. Unfortunately, not all the material was segregated correctly. We estimate approximately 5% of the 50 million Jack-o’-lantern stamps delivered to the USPS may be affected by the out of register die cut.
“Everything we do at Banknote Corporation of America is focused on making products with the highest standards,” Lane’s statement added. “We apologize for this oversight in our quality control process. We remain committed to provide the highest level of quality and service and look forward to our continued partnership for product innovation.”
The Postal Service statement notes that BCA has been a USPS stamp supplier since 1995 and delivers “billions of stamps annually” to the Postal Service.
The Postal Service adds that “ample supply has been distributed nationwide and will meet customer needs — no special orders will be taken.”
The stamps are valid for paying postage on letters and packages, and the USPS has apologized for any inconvenience.
Depending on the severity of the die-cut variation, die-cut shifts are normally considered production freaks and are not listed as errors by Scott catalog editors. If the shift is severe enough to result in a stamp that is partially or wholly imperforate, such varieties are examined by editors of the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers to determine if they are to be listed as production errors.