This page includes U.S. Varieties Clearinghouse Columns from the 1994 issues of Across the Fence Post.
January issue No column this issue
February issue No column this issue
March issue No column this issue
April issue No column this issue
May/June issue No column this issue
July/August issue No column this issue
By Gregg Greenwald, Mbr. Central Wisconsin Stamp Club
Gregg Greenwald began collecting stamps in 1971 at age 7. He became interested in United States modern varieties (especially perforation and tagging) two years ago, when he bought a shortwave ultraviolet light. He is a member of the American Philatelic Society, American Revenue Association, United Postal Stationery Society and Bureau Issues Association. Gregg is employed at Marshfield Clinic as a computer programmer/analyst. We welcome Gregg's philatelic expertise and encourage your in-put to this new interactive column.
In recent years, the U.S. Postal Service has been contracting printers other than the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for production of its modern issues. In 1992, it issued a new set of security specifications for stamp paper suppliers,* and it has changed its philosophy about how and when stamps are to be tagged. The BEP, too, has been making changes by placing several new printing presses on line, as well as new perforators. Thus, as definitive stamps are reprinted, new varieties are often created. These varieties include differences in perforations, color of ink, paper, gum, and tagging.
For example, a perforation variety occurred on the 1 ^ Dorothea Dix (Scott #1844 and #1844c) when perforation equipment broke down. A variety of the 39 ¢ Grenville Clark (Scott #1867 and #1867c) occurred when new perforating equipment was brought on line.
The 4 ¢ Father Flanagan (Scott #2171a) is an example of how colors can deviate from those of original printings when definitives are re-printed.
The 1992 paper specifications introduced differences in brightness and tint, as seen in sunlight or under shortwave ultraviolet light. An example is the American Bank Note Co.'s non-denominated Eagle and Shield (Scott #2604).
Paper specification changes also have had an impact on the type of gum used. Definitives with a face value greater than -9 ¢ are being reprinted with shiny gum, as seen with the $1 Seaplane (Scott #2468), and service inscribed precancels, which previously had shiny gum, are being reprinted with a smooth, matte-finish gum - Stamp Venturers' S ¢ Canoe (Scott #2454) and BEP's 23 ¢ Chrome USA (Scott #2608A).
New tagging varieties, however, are providing the richest field for varieties. Currently, there are five different types of tagging being used:
(1) untagged, where stamps have no phosphorescent taggant;
(2) block tagged, where a square of phosphorescent taggant is placed in the middle of the stamp;
(3) overall tagged, where the entire stamp area is covered with a phosphorescent taggant;
(4) surface-coated prephosphored paper, where the stamps are printed on top of phosphor-coated paper that exhibits a uniform appearance under shortwave ultraviolet light; and
(5) embedded prephosphored paper, where the stamps are printed on top of phosphor-embedded paper and appear grainy or mottled under short-wave ultraviolet light.
Interest in these new varieties has grown, spurred mainly by plate number coil collectors. Groups such as the Plate Number Coil Collectors Club and study groups within the Bureau Issues Association have made great strides in researching the new varieties. Dealers, however, are either unwilling or unable to keep up. A few plate number coil dealers do stock all varieties of coil stamps, but there are only one or two dealers that I know of that carry definitive sheet stamp varieties.
Consequently, in order for collectors to keep up with what is out there and, more importantly, where to find all these varieties, this column was born. I read countless philatelic magazines and journals to keep up with the new varieties, and I will try to provide sources where I have located some of these stamps.
With your help, I can report additional finds and/or sources. If you know of a local philatelic center that has a stock of a new variety, let me know so I can pass this information along to our readers.
To initiate this interaction, here's my report on one variety, followed by a request for your help on a another.
The 20 ¢ Truman (Scott #1862) was reprinted last year on embedded prephosphored paper with shiny gum. The stamp was printed having plate number 4. Previous versions are: (1) L-perforated; (2) Bull's Eye-perforated, block tagged; and (3) Bulls Eye-perforated, overall tagged. I found the embedded prephosphored paper variety at the St. Paul philatelic center. For those of you wishing to place an order (a minimum of 20 must be purchased for a plate block), the address is: Pioneer Postal Emporium, 141 4th St. E, St. Paul, MN 55101-1636; phone (612) 293-3187. Unfortunately, the stamps I received in April were poorly centered. Since that time their stock may very well have improved. In the end, I had to purchase a pane from the Philatelic Fulfillment Service Center in Kansas City. The order number is 1022.
The stamp that I have been unable to find a source for is the gravure-printed 5 ¢ Circus Wagon (Scott #2452B) from plate
A3, which was produced in 10,000-stamp rolls. The stamps from plate A3 are untagged, as are those from plates A1 and A2. The red ink used to print stamps from plate A3, however, glows under shortwave ultraviolet light, whereas the ink from plates A1 and A2 does not. Has anyone found a source for these stamps? Kansas City still has a stock of A2, and I have not found a philatelic center with the new version.
Please direct your comments/questions to me at the address shown above. If a response is requested, please include a SASE.
*The Plate Number and Great Americans Review, May 1993, Vol. VIII, No. 3.
New paper specifications have created new gum varieties for several current stamps. This month, I'm focusing on the new precancel varieties.
The BEP's 23 ¢ USA presort precancel (Scott #2605A) has been reprinted with a new type of gum. The previous version had a very shiny, high-gloss gum. The new version has a smooth, matt-finish gum that closely resembles the gum found on the 23 ¢ USA printed by Stamp Venturers (Scott #2508B). See Linn's Stamp News July 4, 1994, p. 13, for further details on the variety.
I purchased my BEP matte-finish gum variety at the Minneapolis Philatelic Center. For those of you wishing to order (a minimum of 20 must be purchased for a plate number coil), the address is: Stamp Shoppe, Main Post Office Lobby, lst St. & Marquette, Minneapolis, MN 55401. The phone number is (612) 349-4937.
The BEP has also reprinted the non-denominated Eagle and Shield bulk rate coil (Scott #2605) with the same smooth, matte-finish gum. Just like the 23 ¢ USAcoil, the previous version had a shiny, high-gloss gum. Has anyone found a source for these? They have been reported as coming only from rolls of 3,000, but the rolls can be distinguished from the shiny gum variety by the smaller diameter of the new variety.
Please direct your comments/questions to me at tile address shown above if a response is requested, please include a SASE.
By Gregg Greenwald, Mbr., Central Wisconsin Stamp Club
New printings of two stamps of the Great Americans issue have been released. The new varieties are the 10¢ Red Cloud (Scott #2176) and the40¢ Claire Chennault (Scott #2186). The stamps have been printed on embedded prephosphored paper with shiny gum.
This is the fourth variety of the 10¢ Red Cloud. Previous versions include (1) block tagged, (2) overall tagged, and (3) surface-coated prephosophored paper varieties. As for the 40¢ Chennault, it is the third variety. Previous versions include (1) overall tagged and (2) surface-coated prephosphored paper varieties. In addition, the biographical notes about Chennault have been retained in the sheet selvage.
I purchased the new Red Cloud and Chennault varieties at the Green Bay Philatelic Center. For those of you wishing to order (a minimum of 20 must be purchased for a plate number strip), the address is: Stamp Shoppe, 300 Packerland Dr., Green Bay, WI
54303-9998; phone (414) 498-3849. For the record, the following Great Americans sheet stamps have all been reprinted in the past year or so with shiny gum. All of these stamps were originally issued on paper with dull gum. The varieties (in addition to the two mentioned above) are:
20¢ Truman - Bull's Eye-perf 11.2 (Scott #1862a)
23¢ Cassatt - (Scott #2182)
50¢ Nimitz - Bull's Eye perf 11.2 (Scott #1869a)
52¢ Humphrey - (Scott #2190)
75¢ Willkie - (Scott #2193)
$1 Hopkins - (Scott #2194A)
Please direct comments/questions to me. If a response is requested, please include a SASE.
By Gregg Greenwald, Mbr., Central Wisconsin Stamp Club
With the new rates scheduled to take place early next year, it might be a good time to make sure that you have acquired the new varieties of the current-rate stamps before they go off sale. This month, I'll go over some varieties of 29 ¢ stamps.
In 1992, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced the 29 ¢ Wood Duck booklet (Scott #2493), issued as a single pane of 10 stamps -with the plate number 4444. The new variety was issued on prephosphored paper with surface taggant. In addition, there is a good chance that some of the booklets that contain 20 stamps were printed on the same paper. The previous version of the BEP's 29 ¢ Wood Duck was overall tagged. You may still be able to buy the booklets at some philatelic centers.
Another book-let, this time the 29 ¢ Tulip produced by KCS Industries (Scott #2527), also had a paper-type change when it was reprinted. The new variety was issued on prephosphored paper with embedded taggant, matte-finish gum, and carries the plate number K3333. The previous version, with plate numbers K1111 or K2222, was printed on prephosphored paper with surface taggant and shiny gum. The Philatelic Fulfillment Service Center order number for a booklet of 20 is 6641 X.
The third 29 ¢ stamp that I'll deal with this month is the Computer Vended Postage coil produced by the BEP (Scott #CVP31). The new variety was issued on prephosphored paper with embedded taggant and shiny gum. The previous version was printed on prephosphored paper with surface taggant and dull-finish gum. The Philatelic Fulfillment Service Center order number for a single stamp is 9344; the order number for a plate strip of 30 is 9345.
Please direct comments/questions to me at the address shown above. If a response is requested, please include a SASE.
Latest update: June 14, 2005