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Official stamps

Modern Official issues

During a trial period in the 1980s, the franking privilege was revoked for several government departments and agencies, which were required to use official stamps on all official mail (or otherwise account for their postage costs, such as through meters). The experiment apparently led to better accounting for postage costs, and was expanded to all government agencies by the mid-1980s.

After experiencing high demand from collectors for plate blocks and plate number strips of the first modern official issues, the USPS responded by discontinuing plate numbers on many subsequent denominations. Plate number single collectors often collect the Copyright single or ZIP single as a substitute, since it is the only marginal marking that exists for these stamps. Plate numbers reappeared on the 37 Official coil issued in 2003, 39 coil in 2006 and 41 coil in 2008, but did not reappear on sheet-format Official stamps before they were discontinued altogether as stocks ran out around 2013.

Scott O127, 1 (with cent sign, no microprinting), plate number 3

Scott O143, 1 (as "1" - no cent sign), Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O154, 1¢ (with cent sign and microprinting), Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O163, 1 self-adhesive, Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O128, 4 (with cent sign), original darker blue, plate number 5

Scott O128 var, 4 (with cent sign), later medium blue, plate number 3

Scott O146, 4, ("04" - no cent sign), Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O146A, 10¢ (no cent sign), Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O129, 13, plate number 1

Scott O138, (14) - "D" postal card rate, plate number 4

Scott O129A, 14 Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O130, 17, plate number 4

Scott O130 var, 17¢ precancel, plate number 4

Scott O147, 19, Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O147 var, 19¢ precancel, Copyright single

Scott O135, 20 coil, plate number 1

An imperforate error of this coil is known..

Scott O155, 20 sheet stamp, Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O139, (22) coil, plate number 1

Scott O148 var, 23 sheet stamp with no microprinting, imperforate error, photographically cropped from a larger block, plate number A111. Sometimes seen as "Scott O148a."

These imperforate stamps were not regularly issued and are listed in the Scott catalog as printer's waste.

Scott O156, 23 sheet stamp with microprinting, Copyright single (no plate numbers issued)

Scott O159, 37 coil, plate number S111

Scott O160, 39 coil, plate number S111

Scott O162, 41 coil, plate number S111

Scott O132, $1.00 with decimals, plate number 4

Scott O132 var, $1.00 precancel with decimals, plate number 2

Scott O151, $1 without decimals, Copyright single (no plate number issued)

Scott O161, $1 without decimals, microprinting, Copyright single (no plate number issued)

Scott O133, $5.00, plate number 3

No plate numbers appear on the following Official coil stamps:

  • 15 (Scott O138A)
  • 20 (Scott O138B)
  • 22 (Scott O136), with shiny gum or dull gum
  • (25) "E" (Scott O140)
  • 25 (Scott O141) or imperforate error (Scott O141a)
  • (29) "F" (Scott O144)
  • 29 (Scott O145)
  • (32) "G" (Scott O152)
  • 32 (Scott O153)
  • 33 (Scott O157)
  • 34 (Scott O158)

No plate numbers appear on the following Official sheet stamps:

  • 1 without cent sign (Scott O143; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 1 with cent sign and microprinting (Scott O154; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 1 self-adhesive pane (Scott O163; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 04 (Scott O146; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 10 (Scott O146A; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 14 (Scott O129A; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 19 (Scott O147; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 20 (Scott O155; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • 23 without microprinting (Scott O148; printer's waste example illustrated above)
  • 23 with microprinting (Scott O156; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • $1 without decimals, solid background (Scott O151; Copyright single illustrated above)
  • $1 without decimals, 2006 year date, cross-hatched background, microprinting (Scott O161; Copyright single illustrated above)

 

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This page last updated December 24, 2019.