US Stamps

New plate number discovered on Butterfly Garden Flowers coil stamps

Feb 28, 2023, 8 AM
A United States 2022 Butterfly Garden Flowers nonprofit-rate coil stamp bearing a newly discovered plate number, B2222, franks this donation-solicitation envelope, shown cropped. A collector in Maine reported the find to Linn’s in mid-February.

By Charles Snee

A new plate number has been discovered on the United States 2022 nondenominated (5¢) Butterfly Garden Flowers nonprofit-rate coil stamps (Scott 5664-5665).

In mid-February, postal historian and plate number coil specialist Rob Washburn of Skowhegan, Maine, reported to Linn’s Stamp News the discovery of a Butterfly Garden Flowers coil stamp bearing plate number B2222 on a donation-solicitation mailing from Smile Train (a charity that supports safe and quality cleft care for children).

A plate number consisting of the letter B followed by four single digits appears in the bottom margin on every 24th Butterfly Garden Flowers stamp.

Each digit represents one of the four process colors used to print the stamps: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The B represents the printer, Banknote Corporation of America.

Stamps from the initial printing show plate number B1111 on the stamp picturing three cosmos flowers (Scott 5664).

The stamp with the new plate number is shown here, photographically cropped from the Smile Train envelope.

“A friend who knows I like to collect junk mail gave [the envelope] to me,” Washburn told Linn’s.

What precipitated the plate number change for the Butterfly Garden Flowers stamps?

Jim McKean, senior public relations representative for the U.S. Postal Service, informed Linn’s that “the plate number change was due to a change in paper by the printer, Banknote Corporation of America.”

The “NONPROFIT ORG/USA” inscription in the top left corner of each Butterfly Garden Flowers stamp indicates that a permit is required to use it on mail. The stamps are intended for use on bulk mailings by authorized nonprofit organizations.

Collectors can use these and other service-inscribed stamps on regular mail by completing USPS Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile. When filling out the form, be sure to check the box labeled “Precanceled Stamp Authorization.”

The completed form must be submitted at your local post office. Mail franked with service-inscribed stamps must be presented at the counter for postmarking and processing.

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