By Michael Baadke
A new set of four United States forever stamps with a floral theme will go on sale Aug. 16 in a double-sided pane of 20 and in large coils.
The four designs show red camellias and yellow forsythia in a yellow pitcher; white peonies and pink tree peonies in a clear vase; blue hydrangeas in a blue pot; and white hydrangeas, white and pink roses, green hypericum berries, and purple lisianthus in a white pitcher.
The still life paintings that illustrate the stamps are by artist Elizabeth Brandon.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the paintings were “inspired by floral still lifes created by Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th and 18th centuries.”
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The nondenominated (49¢) Flowers from the Garden stamps should be widely seen on mail, because the Postal Service has announced large print quantities of 500 million stamps for the double-sided pane (which the USPS refers to as a booklet), 45 million coil stamps in rolls of 3,000, and 100 million coil stamps in rolls of 10,000.
Collectors will be able to order smaller quantities of the coil stamps from USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services.
A strip of 500 coil stamps will be sold for $245 as USPS item No. 755015. A strip of 25 with plate number will be offered for $12.25 as item No. 755003. For ordering information call 800-782-6724.
The stamps will be issued Aug. 16, with a 4 p.m. first-day ceremony at Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum and East Sioux Falls Historic Site, 1900 S. Perry Place, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The arboretum, on the east side of Sioux Falls, includes walking trails, wetlands, gardens and native plants, and provides educational activities and special events.
The first-day ceremony is free and open to the public, but the Postal Service requests that those planning to attend RSVP online.
Ceremony participants will include South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether, Sioux Falls city council member Michelle Erpenbach, U.S. Postal Service Employee Resource Management Vice President Simon Storey, stamp artist Elizabeth Brandon, and plant scientist Sarah Stowers.
Stamps with a floral theme are popular with the mailing public. This new stamp set comes a little more than a year and a half after a set of 10 Botanical Art stamps was issued in a double-sided pane of 20 on Jan. 29, 2016.
The 10 stamps in the 2016 set (Scott 5042-5051) each depict garden flowers using colorful illustrations published in American nursery catalogs between 1891 and 1912.
The new Flowers from the Garden stamps were offset-printed and processed by Banknote Corporation of America in Browns Summit, N.C.
The coil stamps in rolls of 3,000 and 10,000 are printed using the same process and on the same press, so all indications are that the coil stamps from the two roll sizes will be indistinguishable.
However, it will be easy to tell the coil stamps from those in the double-sided pane of 20. As usual, the coil stamps have straight edges at top and bottom, while the stamps in the double-sided pane of 20 are likely to have straight edges either on one side only, or on two adjoining sides.
However, the coil stamps also are smaller than those from the double-sided pane, and as a result, the artwork is cropped differently on all four stamps.
As an example, on the coil stamp showing the white hydrangeas and other flowers in a white pitcher, the handle on the right side of the pitcher is fully shown.
On the stamp showing the same illustration from the double-sided pane, the handle of the white pitcher is not visible at all.
The cropping of the images and the difference in sizes also affects the placement of the “USA Forever” inscription on the two varieties of these stamps.
The Postal Service is offering an undisclosed number of press sheets with die cuts for the double-sided pane of 20.
Consisting of eight panes (160 stamps), the sheet sells for the face value of $78.40.
Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the Flowers from the Garden stamps can be found below.
FIRST DAY— Aug. 16, 2017; city— Sioux Falls, S.D., and nationwide.
DESIGN: illustrator— Elizabeth Brandon; designer, typographer and art director— Derry Noyes, Washington, D.C.; modelers— Sandra Lane and Michelle Finn.
PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— phosphor tagged: overall (coils); block tagging (pane) gum— self-adhesive.
Double-sided pane of 20
PRINTING: quantity— 500 million stamps; format— double-sided pane of 20, from 800-subject cylinders; size— 0.77 inches by 1.05 inches (image); 0.94 inches by 1.19 inches (overall); 5.74 inches by 2.38 inches (full pane); 11.49 inches by 9.5 inches (press sheet); plate numbers— B followed by four single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers in peel strip area; “©2016 USPS”; USPS item No.— 672104.
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 FDOI-Flowers from the Garden stamps, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64144-9900. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Oct. 16.
The Postal Service’s set of four uncacheted first-day covers for the Flowers from the Garden pane stamps is item 672116 at $3.72. The set of four uncacheted first-day covers for the Flowers from the Garden coil stamps is item 760116 at $3.72. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2017 U.S. Stamp Program.
Coils of 3,000 and 10,000
PRINTING: quantity— 45 million stamps (coil of 3,000); 100 million stamps (coil of 10,000); format— coil of 3,000 or 10,000 from 560-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); plate numbers— B followed by four single digits on every 28th stamp; USPS item No.— 755004 (coil of 3,000); 760104 (coil of 10,000).