What Are Plate Number Coils?

 
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POSTAGE STAMPS HAVE BEEN PRINTED AND SOLD IN COIL ROLLS FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS. UNTIL 1981, HOWEVER, THOSE COIL STAMPS DID NOT HAVE PRINTING PLATE NUMBERS ON THEM. SINCE THAT TIME, MANY COILS DO HAVE PRINTING PLATE NUMBERS. THE PHOTO ABOVE IS A TYPICAL PLATE NUMBER COIL STRIP OF THREE STAMPS. YOU WILL NOTE THE TINY PLATE NUMBER ON THE LOWER PORTION OF THE CENTER STAMP.

PLATE NUMBER COILS ARE COLLECTED IN STRIPS OF THREE OR FIVE STAMPS. PLATE NUMBER COIL STAMPS HAVE BECOME AN EXTREMELY POPULAR COLLECTING COMPONENT IN STAMP COLLECTING.

MUCH LIKE PLATE NUMBER BLOCKS, THEY OFFER AN EXTRA EDGE IN APPRECIATION POTENTIAL. THE REASON FOR THE ADDITIONAL VALUE IS THAT THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN. THE PLATE NUMBERS APPEAR ON THE STAMPS AT DIFFERENT INTERVALS ON THE COIL ROLL. IN SOME CASES THE NUMBER APPEARS ON EVERY TWELFTH STAMP WHILE OTHERS APPEAR AS SELDOM AS EVERY FIFTY SECOND STAMP.

ADDITIONALLY, THE POSTAL SERVICE MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN THESE PLATE NUMBERS BY REQUIRING THE PURCHASER TO PURCHASE AS MANY AS FIFTY TWO STAMPS IN ORDER TO GET JUST ONE PLATE NUMBER. OFTEN, THE FACE VALUE OF THE COIL IS SUCH THAT THE PURCHASER HAS A HARD TIME IN USING THE EXTRA STAMPS THAT THEY REALLY DON'T NEED. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ARE MANY COIL STAMPS ISSUED IN FRACTIONAL VALUES SUCH AS 3.4 CENTS, 5.1 CENTS, AND 5.9 CENTS.

FURTHER, MANY OF THE COIL STAMPS ARE PRINTED ONLY IN PRECANCEL FORM. A PRECANCEL ISSUE IS GENERALLY ONE WHICH IS TO BE USED BY BULK MAILERS, CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS, AND OTHER COMMERCIAL MAILERS AND REQUIRE A SPECIAL PERMIT TO BE USED FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL BY CASUAL USERS.

THIS RELATIVELY NEW SEGMENT OF STAMP COLLECTING PROVIDES A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR COLLECTORS TO FIND LONG TERM APPRECIATION FROM THEIR STAMP COLLECTIONS.