US Stamps

Linerless coil stamps are starting to fuse together

Jul 16, 2019, 8 AM
Coil roll of the experimental linerless United States Flag Over Porch stamp from 1997. The adhesive may have degraded. Stamps in the coil are sticking together instead of unrolling cleanly as intended.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

More than 20 years have passed since the United States Postal Service issued its first linerless roll of coil postage stamps. These stamps did not have backing paper and were coiled much like transparent tape.

Two stamp issues were produced this way in 1997: the 32¢ Flag Over Porch stamp (Scott 3133) and the nondenominated (25¢) Juke Box stamp (3132). The experiment was repeated in 2000 with the 33¢ Berries stamps (3404-3407) and in 2002 with the 37¢ Christmas Snowmen stamps (3680-3683).

If you saved mint rolls of any of these experimental issues, especially the Flag Over Porch stamps, the stamps may have fused together.

A phone call last week from coil stamp dealer Brian Engler Sr. of Pennsylvania helped to prompt this column. He was attempting to pull apart stamps from the Flag Over Porch coil roll, but the adhesive on the upper layer of the coil was sticking to a stamp deeper in the coil.

Shown here is a photograph of the Flag Over Porch coil roll in the dispenser sold by the Postal Service, and a close-up that pictures the gooey gum stretching between one stamp and another.

For collectors who have encountered this sticky problem, I am wondering what solutions, if any, can be used to get these stamps safely apart — preferably without using dangerous chemicals.

If I receive any useful tips, I will share them in a future column. You can email me at or send a letter to my attention, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365-4129.

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