US Stamps

New plate number surfaces on U.S. 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp

Jul 31, 2023, 7 AM
The U.S. 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp on this cover bears a newly discovered plate number, B222222, in the bottom margin. Plate number coil specialist Rob Washburn identified the new plate number more than seven years after the stamp was issued in 2016.

By Charles Snee

A new plate number on a United States coil stamp has been discovered more than seven years after the stamp was issued.

On July 20, plate number coil specialist and dealer Rob Washburn of Skowhegan, Maine, reported to Linn’s Stamp News that he found a new plate number, B222222, on the 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp (Scott 5039) issued Jan. 17, 2016.

The “B” prefix in the plate number represents the printer, Banknote Corporation of America.

Washburn told Linn’s he bought Red Pears coil stamps bearing the new plate number online on June 30 and then used one on an envelope he mailed July 7 to a friend in Maine.

The new Red Pears B222222 plate number single on that cover, illustrated here, was used in combination with a 2023 nondenominated (48¢) Sailboats postcard-rate coil stamp (Scott 5750) and a 2016 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes coil stamp (5038) to satisfy the 63¢ first-class letter rate that went into effect Jan. 22.

On July 9, two days after Washburn mailed the letter, the first-class letter rate increased to 66¢. Ironically, the same franking would have satisfied that new rate because the postage value of the Sailboats coil stamp also rose by 3¢, from 48¢ to 51¢.

Low-denomination Fruits coil stamps such as the 5¢ Pinot Noir Grapes “are frequently used in combination with each other to meet the minimum 5¢ franking for bulk nonprofit mailings and 10¢ franking for bulk presort standard mailings,” according to Coil Line, the official publication of the Plate Number Coil Collectors Club.

Jim McKean, senior public relations representative for the Postal Service, confirmed for Linn’s on July 25 that the new 10¢ Red Pears plate number was due to a change in paper.

“The Pears stamp was reprinted this year,” McKean said. “The change in plate number was due to a change in paper. The reprinted Pears began shipping May 2023.”

A change in paper has been the cause of new plate numbers appearing on other U.S. stamps in recent months.

Since late December 2022, Linn’s has reported new plate numbers for the following issues: 2016 1¢ Apples coil stamp (Scott 5037; new plate number P222222), 2022 nondenominated (5¢) Butterfly Garden nonprofit-rate coil stamps (5664-5665; B2222), 2022 nondenominated (70¢) Sunflower Bouquet 2-ounce rate stamp (5682; B222222), 2021 nondenominated (58¢) A Visit From St. Nick stamps (5644-5647; P2222), 2018 2¢ Meyer Lemons coil stamp (5256; B22222), 2022 nondenominated (10¢) Flags on Barns presorted standard-rate coil stamps (5684-5687; P22222), and 2017 3¢ Strawberries coil stamp (5201; P2222).

To learn more about the Plate Number Coil Collectors Club and apply for membership, visit the club’s website, or contact Daniel Farrar, Secretary, 3386 Excalibur Circle NW, Canton, OH 44708; email

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