US Stamps

John M. Hotchner

Computer-vended postage stamp inverts fun to collect

March 22, 2017 05:00 PM

  • Computer-vended postage stamps need not be dull and can be an interesting category to add to your collection. A normal Charlie Brown Looking in Mailbox design of 2015 (Scott CVP98) is shown on the left. In the example on the right, the bar code is inverted with respect to the figure of Charlie Brown.
  • Computer-vended postage inverts occur because the preprinted stock is put into the retail outlet printer upside down, as shown in these three examples showing the Statue of Liberty, an American bald eagle and a Christmas mailbox.

U.S. Stamp Notes — By John M. Hotchner

Linn’s reader Laura Gilbert of Pasadena, Md., got lucky when she purchased her Charlie Brown computer-vended postage stamps at her local post office last Christmas: She received a group of inverts.

Gilbert believes, and I agree, that the preprinted part showing Charlie Brown looking into the mailbox was loaded in the machine upside down. Thus, the post office bar code information ended up inverted and printed on top of the Charlie Brown figure.

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This could have happened elsewhere as well, and, indeed, Linn’s reader Peter Elias of Plano, Texas, has reported another example. Are there others? Undoubtedly.

This find led me to pull out my file of flawed computer-vended postage stamps, and I found three other inverts. There are also doubled prints, missing prints and misregistrations.

These examples prove that modern postage imprints need not be dull and boring. Interesting finds are possible, and they are worth collecting.