US Stamps

Tagging-omitted errors discovered on 2022 Mountain Flora stamps

May 16, 2023, 1 PM
Two new tagging-omitted errors of the United States 2022 Mountain Flora stamps printed by Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. in double-sided panes of 20 were reported to Linn’s Stamp News in late March.

By Charles Snee

A new production error has been found on a United States 2022 stamp issue.

On March 28, Robert Thompson of Texas reported to Linn’s Stamp News that he had received certificates from the Philatelic Foundation for two genuine tagging-omitted errors of the nondenominated (58¢) Mountain Flora stamps issued March 14, 2022, in double-sided panes of 20 (Scott 5676-5679).

Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. of Williamsville, N.Y., printed the Mountain Flora stamps in that format and also in large rolls of 3,000 and 10,000 coil stamps.

Specifically, the errors are postally used on-cover examples of the Pasqueflower stamp (Scott 5676) and Wood Lily stamp (5677).

Both stamps are shown here cropped from the greeting card envelopes to which they are affixed. The covers were mailed from the same address in Elysburg, Pa., to the same address in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The mailing address on both envelopes is written in the same hand, which increases the likelihood that the stamps came from the same double-sided pane.

A Dec. 17, 2022, sprayed-on Happy Holidays pictorial postmark ties the stamps to their respective covers.

The Happy Holidays cancel is upside down on the Pasqueflower stamp because the stamp was affixed to the cover upside down. The stamp is shown right side up here.

According to Thompson, who is an active member of the Plate Number Coil Collectors Club, the Mountain Flora error stamps were found by fellow plate number coil specialist Bob Murrin, who “set them aside thinking they were fakes.”

After a close examination of the stamps on both covers, Thompson determined that they were genuine, not counterfeit.

(Most U.S. counterfeit stamps are printed on paper without tagging.)

Given these findings, Thompson submitted the covers to the Philatelic Foundation in New York City, which issued certificates for both on March 7 stating that the stamps were “untagged” and a “genuine use” on cover.

In response to a query from Linn’s Stamp News, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Jim McKean explained what happened with the tagging-omitted Mountain Flora stamps.

“We spoke with the stamp printer [Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.] and discovered that there was a problem on press during the print run and a very small percentage of stamps were missing the phosphor taggant,” McKean said.

“In each case, the missing phosphor was found on a row at the edge of an impression sheet. Although material was put on hold, and downstream operations checked for missing phosphor, not all of the defective material was able to be identified and destroyed.”

According to McKean, production processes “have been updated to help ensure this does not occur in the future.”

These two new tagging-omitted errors will be listed in the 2024 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, which will be published in October.

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