Monday Morning Brief | Missing in action: imperforate uncut press sheets

Jun 5, 2017, 5 AM

Imperforate uncut press sheets of a United States stamp were last made available in February 2016, for the Chinese New Year stamp. Since then, explains Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee, the U.S. Postal Service has been less than forthcoming about the apparent demise of a product that sparked interest in the U.S. stamp program and captured collectors’ attention.

Full Video Transcript:

Greetings fellow stamp enthusiasts! Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for June 5.

For many months now, we’ve been trying to get some answers from the United States Postal Service’s Stamp Services division regarding a review of the U.S. stamp program undertaken last year.

One part of the review was to focus on a relatively new product that found wide appeal among stamp collectors: imperforate stamps issued in uncut press sheets.

The first imperforate press sheets were issued in 2012, for the Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps. In some cases, when issued quantities were very low, quick sellouts invariably resulted.

A few of the imperforate issues have jumped substantially in value in a short period of time.

For example, a die-cut pane of the 2013 Modern Art in America stamps is valued at $13.25 in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. Its imperforate counterpart, however, is valued at $50.

After some initial resistance, the Scott editors decided to list the imperforate stamps from the press sheets, beginning in the 2016 Scott U.S. Specialized catalog.

Back to our story: Initially, we were told findings from the Stamp Services review would be announced in December 2016.

As the weeks passed, Bill McAllister, our indefatigable Washington correspondent, stayed on the case, pressing Stamp Services personnel to provide answers.

In mid-February, the Postal Service provided this rather nebulous response:

“The Postal Service is committed to providing products for the philatelic community and collectors; therefore, we will continue to produce die cut press sheets,” the statement said.

“Whether to issue a press sheet for a particular stamp is within the Postal Service’s discretion. It has never been the Postal Service’s intention to produce press sheets for every stamp issuance.”

Notice that the Postal Service said nothing specific about the status of the imperforate press sheets.

Well, here we are, some five months later, and most of our questions remain unanswered.

Will the Postal Service issue any more imperforate uncut press sheets? The last issue available in that format was the Chinese New Year stamp issued Feb. 5, 2016.

And, as Bill McAllister reported May 31 on, the Postal Service has nothing new to report. In fact, the response we received was the same one given in February.

At this point, collectors we spoke to are now convinced imperforate uncut press sheets are a thing of the past. And that, my fellow philatelic friends, is a lamentable turn of events.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott catalogs, I’m Chad Snee. Have a great week enjoying our wonderful hobby. Cheers!