US Stamps

New Flags definitive stamps debut June 14 at Mount Rushmore event

Jun 10, 2024, 11 AM

By Jay Bigalke

On June 14, Flag Day, the United States Postal Service will issue four new Flags definitive (regular-issue) stamps in Keystone, S.D., without an official first-day ceremony.

However, local postal officials are planning a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial outdoor amphitheater at 13000 Highway 244 in Keystone. There is no admission charge to visit the memorial, but there is a parking fee of $10.

Ceremony participants will include USPS district manager for Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota Lisse Garrett, Mount Rushmore National Memorial superintendent Michelle Wheatley, and Linn’s Stamp News editor-in-chief Jay Bigalke.

The designs of the nondenominated (68¢) Flags stamps were first revealed in October 2023.

The Flags stamps will be issued in six varieties, according to technical details published in the May 2 issue of the Postal Bulletin.

The stamps will be offered in two different double-sided panes of 20 (a format that the Postal Service refers to as a booklet), two different rolls of 100 coil stamps, and in rolls of 3,000 and 10,000 coil stamps.

Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. and Banknote Corporation of America, the Postal Service’s current contract printers, each printed one of the double-sided panes and one coil roll of 100.

Unlike the last Flag stamp issuance in 2022, no pane of 20 is planned that allows for individual stamps to be sold at post offices.

For this year’s issue, the two printers produced a total of 4.187 billion stamps across all six formats. Print quantities range from a low of 12 million stamps produced in coil rolls of 3,000 to a high of 1.25 billion stamps for one of two versions of the coil stamps in rolls of 100.

All the new stamps were printed using offset lithography and likely contain microprinting somewhere in the design. However, the details about the stamps in the Postal Bulletin did not mention the security feature.

The stamps on the intact double-sided panes of 20 can be distinguished by the multicolor plate number printed on a narrow selvage strip separating the two blocks of four on the eight-stamp side of the pane.

Stamps printed by Ashton Potter will show a plate number beginning with the letter P followed by four digits. The plate number on the stamps from Banknote Corporation will begin with the letter B followed by four digits.

Rolls of coil stamps are usually wrapped with a leader strip that might identify the printer as either APU or BCA. Plate numbers on the coil stamps from the two printers will show the same letter-number combinations as the double-sided panes.

According to the Postal Service, plate numbers on the new Flags coil of 100 stamps will appear on every 32nd stamp.

“For the 3K and 10K Flags stamp coils the plate number will appear every 27 stamps,” according to USPS spokesman Jim McKean. “To get that number, one stamp design will not repeat on the final grouping of four. That missing design is consistent throughout the coil.”

It is likely that 20 Scott catalog numbers will be assigned for the Flag stamps: four each for the stamps in the two double-sided panes of 20, four each for the coil stamps in the two rolls of 100, and four for the coil stamps in rolls of 3,000 and 10,000.

A final listing determination will be made after the Scott editors have examined the actual stamps.

Postal Service art director Ethel Kessler designed the Flag stamps using artwork created with gouache on an illustration board by illustrator Laura Stutzman.

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