US Stamps

Popularity of no-die-cut press sheets dwarfs supply

Jul 16, 2021, 8 AM
The no-die-cut press sheets for the Star Wars Droids stamps issued May 4 sold out quickly. A USPS publicity image is shown.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Extremely fast sellouts have plagued the relaunch of no-die-cut press sheets for United States stamps. Some collectors have reported to us that when calling to place an order they were put on hold for an hour or more, only to be told that the item has sold out.

I have written about this in previous columns, but what continues to frustrate collectors are the unknowns. The biggest of which is the unanswered question of how many are being produced of each no-die-cut press sheet.

Linn’s has asked U.S. Postal Service officials this question several times, and the only response received from spokesman Roy Betts has been, “We do not publish these numbers.”

I don’t fully understand the refusal to provide this information. It only fuels speculation that the Postal Service is hiding something.

Some improvement needs to be made on this front for next year. What we have seen so far is that collector interest is there for no-die-cut stamps, but not in press sheet format. Many of these sheets are cut down by collectors into panes, blocks or singles.

So why not produce just panes without die cuts? It would solve problems with press sheets being damaged in transit. And it should make it easier to produce a larger quantity to meet the demand that is clearly there.

And in relation to the print quantities, I think USPS officials are not taking into consideration a single stamp design versus a se-tenant issue. For example, there is just one Yogi Berra stamp, while there are 10 Star Wars Droids 10 stamps. If 500 press sheets were produced for both issues, the quantity of Star Wars Droids blocks of 10 available after a collector cuts up a press sheet would be a lot less than the number of blocks of 10 of Yogi Berra stamps.

I hope something positive changes soon on this front because the no-die-cut program has brought an added interest to modern U.S. stamps. 

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