US Stamps

Counterfeit School Bus coil stamps found on postcard mailed to St. Petersburg, Fla.

Oct 10, 2023, 12 PM

By Charles Snee

Counterfeit examples of the United States nondenominated (24¢) School Bus additional-ounce-rate coil stamp (Scott 5741) printed in rolls of 100 were discovered in late September. The coil and its counterpart in panes of 20 (Scott 5740) were issued Jan. 5 in High Point, N.C.

Illustrated here is a postcard mailed from Murrells Inlet, S.C., to St. Petersburg, Fla., on Aug. 14 franked with three counterfeit School Bus coil stamps. All three bogus stamps are tied to the card by a distinct Tampa, Fla., wavy-line sprayed-on postmark.

Robert Thompson of Texas, a specialist in plate number coil stamps, reported the discovery to Linn’s Stamp News on Oct. 2.

Thompson said he found counterfeit panes of the School Bus sheet stamp in March, “but this is the first counterfeit for the coil version.”

Thompson pointed out that the bogus School Bus coil was produced with a plate number, B111111.

On genuine rolls, that plate number appears below the “Additional Ounce” inscription at the bottom of every 31st stamp.

The stamp on the left on the postcard, shown above, bears a B111111 plate number. The close-up of the stamp, shown in the second picture, has been rotated 90 degrees to show the stamp right side up.

Thompson told Linn’s he found the counterfeit School Bus coil stamps Sept. 23 while sorting through a bunch of covers from Bob Murrin of Florida, who also collects and studies plate number coil stamps.

According to Thompson, the counterfeits have larger background dots than genuine stamps. Also, the letters of “Additional Ounce” on the fake stamps consist of large black dots; the letters are solid black on genuine stamps.

Robert also said the counterfeits are tagged, but the tagging is “not quite right,” compared to genuine stamps.

As of this writing, the counterfeit School Bus coil is known only used on the postcard discussed here. Thompson said he is on the hunt for mint examples.

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