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Jay Bigalke

A proposal for multidenomination coils; could such a format help nonprofit mailers?

February 14, 2018 12:00 PM

  • Combining single 1¢ Albemarle Pippin Apples, 2¢ Meyer Lemon, 3¢ Strawberries, 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes and 10¢ Red Pears stamps from the Fruit series that started in 2016 adds up to 21¢, the current additional-ounce letter rate.

Philatelic Foreword — By Jay Bigalke

The January postage rate increase for first-class letters bumped the cost to 50¢, a nice round number. Even with the forever stamp’s existence, there is a need for denominated stamps.

Many low-denomination stamps are used by nonprofit organizations on mailings, and stamp collectors also enjoy plastering an envelope full of stamps.

An article in the Feb. 5 Linn’s looked at a recent direct-mail donation-appeal reply envelope franked with five 10¢ Red Pears definitive coil stamps.

I imagine that organizations using stamps in this way appreciate the ease of making up the 50¢ rate, as opposed to the earlier rates of 49¢, 47¢, 46¢ and so on.

The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers published a brief stamp-related report in early 2017 about the use of low-denomination stamps on mailings.

“Some large nonprofits have found this a very successful strategy,” the report said, adding, “it would seem to make sense for USPS to work with nonprofit customers to ensure the availability of sufficient, workable low denomination stamps.”

One of the suggestions the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers put forward was having the United States Postal Service create large coil stamp rolls (3,000 and 10,000) of “low denomination stamps that are printed together in rows that add up to the First Class rate and can be applied with automation.”

Such an offering “would be a big step in the right direction,” according to the alliance.

With a 50¢ rate in place, the USPS has some additional time to think about that proposal.

However, I have seen 2¢ and 3¢ stamps used to make up the 5¢ nonprofit franking for envelopes, so composing a coil roll with the new 2¢ Meyer Lemon stamp and the 3¢ Strawberries stamp would be possible. Another option would be a 3¢ Strawberries stamp followed by two 1¢ Albemarle Pippin Apples stamps.

Because the coils are already only available for purchase through USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services and basically created for use by the mailing industry, why doesn’t this exist already?

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I recently stumbled across a fun franking for collectors to use if they send mail needing postage to fulfill the 21¢ additional-ounce rate, particularly for anyone who purchased coil strips of 500 of the recent stamps in the Fruit series.

If you combine a 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢ and 10¢ stamp from this series it adds up to 21¢. Pair that with a forever stamp and your mail will have a colorful franking.