By Michael Baadke
When the United States Postal Service issued its Flag Act of 1818 commemorative stamp June 9, it did not issue uncut press sheets for collectors.
The nondenominated (50¢) forever stamp was issued in a pane of 20 with a first-day ceremony in Appleton, Wis.
In recent years, when the Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps, it usually has offered press sheets of unsevered panes that collectors can purchase though USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, but it chose not to do so with the Flag Act issue.
Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts confirmed to Linn’s Stamp News that there are no press sheets available for the Flag Act stamp.
Asked if the Postal Service is changing the overall availability of press sheets for new stamps, Betts replied that “press sheets will be available on a case-by-case basis.”
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The Postal Service has previously made it clear that press sheets would be issued at the agency’s discretion.
A new press sheet program began in 1994 with the release of a six-pane press sheet for the 29¢ Legends of the West issue (Scott 2869).
In 2012, the Postal Service began offering press sheets of self-adhesive stamps without die cuts separating the individual stamps — essentially, imperforate press sheets.
The program of no-die-cut press sheets ended abruptly in the spring of 2016, when all existing stocks were removed from sale at Stamp Fulfillment Services, and any press sheets issued thereafter came only with die cuts separating the individual stamps.
The most recent press sheet issued by the Postal Service is for the Sally Ride forever stamp released on May 23. The press sheet consists of nine unsevered panes (180 stamps) and sells for $90.