US Stamps

BEP package labels for U.S. Christmas stamps

Nov 20, 2023, 11 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

If you want to dress up your collection of United States Christmas stamps, try to find examples of the package labels used to identify shipments of mint stamps sent from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to retail post offices.

These labels had a secondary function in warning postal personnel that the stamps enclosed were “positively not to be placed on sale until the day following the (first day of sale date) as announced in the postal bulletin.”

The labels for the 1971 8¢ Nativity Christmas (Scott 1444) and the 1980 15¢ Christmas Stained Glass (1842) stamps are the only ones I have been able to find. Both labels are shown in Figure 1, and the issued stamps are in Figure 2.

Note that the 1971 label states that the package contains 125,000 stamps. That works out to 2,500 panes of 50 stamps each, for a total of $10,000. It is not known why the quantity was eliminated from the labels sometime between 1971 and 1980.

Can Linn’s readers report any other Christmas stamp package labels? If so, please get in touch with me by email at, or by mail to John Hotchner, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

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