Transportation coils

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Canoe, 5 cents, plate number S11

The Transportation coils series is a set of definitive stamps issued by the United States Postal Service between 1981 and 1995. Officially dubbed the "Transportation Issue" or "Transportation Series", they have come to be called the "transportation coils" because all of the denominations were issued in coil stamp format.[1] All values except three were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.[2]

The theme of the series was historical transportation vehicles used in the United States since its independence. The designs are spare, consisting only of the vehicle itself, and with inscriptions describing the general type ("Circus Wagon" or "Ferryboat") and a date, either a decade or sometimes a specific year.[2] The stamps are primarily engraved, almost all in a single color on plain white paper (the $1 seaplane is in two colors). Some of the denominations also received special service inscriptions in black, such as "Bulk Rate" or "ZIP + 4 Presort".[2] Many of those denominations were unusual decimal rates, such as 16.7 or 24.1 cents, used by bulk mailers and other businesses[1] who also used precancels.[2] Decimal rates had previously appeared on some coils of the 1975 Americana Series.

Because of their heavy use by businesses mailing to households, vast quantities of these were produced, and were a common sight in the daily mail of the 1980s and 1990s.[citation needed]

Plate numbers were printed in small letters at the bottom of the stamps at intervals of twenty-four, forty-eight, or fifty-two depending on the printing press employed and these stamps are known as plate number coils.[2] The series has become popular with stamp collectors, both because of the "classic" engraved designs, and because to the emergence of the plate number collecting. Many issues with specific plate numbers are hard to find and can be valuable.[citation needed]

Stamps of the series (ordered by denomination, not issue date):

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "U.S. Transportation Coils of 1981". 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Transportation Issue (1981-1995)". Arago; National Postal Museum. 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Agris, Joseph. The Transportation Coils and Other Plate Number Coils Issues. Houston, TX.: Eclectic Publishing, 1987 332p.
  • Lawrence, Ken. "A Tribute to Transportation Coils." The American Philatelist. Vol. 105 No. 6 (June 1991), p. 530-541.
  • Winick, Les. The United States Transportation Coils. Florham Park, N.J.: The Washington Press, 1988 4p.