US Stamps

Wild Orchids coil stamps challenge Scott editors

Feb 24, 2020, 1 PM
This strip of 10 Wild Orchids coil stamps has the plate number on the ninth stamp from the left. This strip will be listed in the 2021 Scott catalogs and included in the 2020 Scott Plate Number Coils album supplement. A symmetrical plate number strip of 17 will also be listed, but this multiple will not fit on any standard album page.

By Marty Frankevicz

The United States Wild Orchids coil forever stamps issued Feb. 21 presented a challenge for the Scott catalog editors in trying to figure out how to collect a plate number strip that does not follow the precedents set by previous coil issues.

Ten different Wild Orchids coil stamps were issued, but the plate number (“B” followed by four single digits) appears on every 27th stamp depicting the eastern prairie fringed orchid. Because of this, a Wild Orchids coil of 3,000 or 10,000 cannot have 10 stamps repeating in order throughout a given roll.

The Scott editors examined a long strip of Wild Orchids coil stamps and determined that a strip of 10 different stamps can be removed from a roll. Such a strip of 10 can be found in a roll with and without a plate number.

On the plate number strip of 10, the plate number appears on the ninth stamp from the left. This strip of 10 with plate number will be listed in the Scott catalogs and will be included in the 2020 Scott Plate Number Coils album supplement.

For a plate number strip with the plate number stamp in the center of the strip, 17 stamps are needed. The first three stamps in the strip of 17 (picturing the large purple fringed orchid, terrestrial cowhorn and common grass pink orchid) appear only once. The Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid stamp bearing the plate number in the center also appears without a plate number in the 16th position in the strip.

The strip of 17 will be listed in the 2021 Scott catalogs, but there will be no Scott album page for it because it is too large to fit.

A collector can thus remove from a roll a plate number strip of 17 and the immediately following strip of 10 without plate number. This neatly covers all 27 stamps in the plate number interval.

Therefore, in each strip of 27 stamps, the three stamps that are found at the beginning of the plate number strip of 17 appear one less time than the other seven stamps.

Because the Wild Orchids stamps from a double-sided pane of 20 and the Wild Orchids coil stamps have different sizes, all stamps will be illustrated in the listings in the Scott New Issues Update in the April 20 issue of Linn’s Stamp News.

The order of the stamps in the block of 10 found on the side containing 12 stamps in the double-sided pane differ from the order in the strip of 10 different coil stamps.

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