US Stamps

Readers share different viewpoints on U.S. Postal Service policy for coil stamps

May 3, 2021, 1 AM
A U.S. 10¢ Red Pears coil stamp was issued Jan. 17. Artist John Burgoyne provided the illustrations for both the Red Pears and the Grapes stamps.

Editor’s Insights — By Donna Houseman

We received a thoughtful response from Richard L. Beecher and Richard Gran­strand regarding my Aug. 28 editorial about the minimum quantities of coil stamps collectors are required to purchase. The headline of the column read “USPS heeds stamp collectors’ demands for smaller minimum quantities for coil stamps.”

Beecher writes that there has been no change to the Postal Service’s policy, and correctly points out that forever-rate coils in large rolls have been available in collector-friendly strips of 25 for years.

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The intention of the Aug. 28 editorial was to make clear that those shorter coil strips are what collectors want the Postal Service to make available, not the strips of 500 that they have been forced to purchase of the low-denomination Fruit coils issued over the past two calendar years.

If the Postal Service has gotten that message, great. If not, they are bound to hear further concerns from collectors, and from Linn’s.

Commenting about the Fruit coil stamps, Beecher added in his letter that “we would all like to see a lower price point for these attractive stamps.”

Though I expressed my comments in conditional terms, saying, “It appears that officials at the Postal Service might have heard the outcry from collectors who were enraged at the cost to purchase low-denomination coil stamps,” the headline accompanying the column was unintentionally misleading.

I may have jumped the gun by suggesting the minimum requirements might be evolving once again, citing the fact that the Flowers from the Garden forever stamps are being offered in strips of 25.

We do applaud the USPS for providing that option for collectors and would like it to continue, and apply to lower denomination coils as well.

It remains a puzzle why the 2016 nondenominated (5¢) USA Star nonprofit coil from a roll of 10,000 can be sold in strips of 25, but the 2016 denominated 5¢ Grapes coil cannot.

Beecher noted that he would certainly like to see all coils better promoted in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, the online Postal Store, and the USPS eBay website. We agree.

Gran­strand writes: “I usually don’t spend any time complaining about the USPS because it’s a waste of time. However, I do take issue with Donna Houseman’s column in the August 28, 2017 issue.

“The USPS has NOT heeded collectors’ demands of smaller minimum quantities for coil stamps.

“The USPS should have offered smaller quantities when stamps were first issued. That they did not was just another money grab.

“One still must buy a minimum of 10,000 3 cent strawberry stamps, 3000 1 cent apple stamps and 10,000 5 cent grape stamps.

“I for one do not salute the USPS, having had to put up with their ridiculousness for over 35 years.”

I am grateful to Beecher and Granstrand for sharing their thoughts on this subject.