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P is for Plate Number Coil

Below is my table (sorted by general type, then by denomination) of all the PNC's through January, 1996. For my page explaining what PNC's are, and how to collect them go here. This table is very cryptic, in an effort to condense as much as possible into the smallest space. The Terms and Abbreviations at the bottom of this page should help.


This table was published originally in the September, 1996 issue of The American Philatelist,
with whose permission I am reproducing it here. The original title was "Collecting Plate Number Coils".

Click on any Scott number to bring up an image of that stamp.

Note that many of the images look the same, since the distinction between them is
the tagging (or lack thereof), which is visible only under UV light;
or the gum, which is visible only from the back;
or some subtle design variation detectable only with precise measurements.

Image & Scott
No.

Denom.

Design and PC/SI

Year

Press

Tagging

Gum

Plate
Nos.

Key
Features
(Printer)

Retail
Price

Transportation Series


1897

Omnibus I

1983

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-6

(small "1¢")

.40


2225

"

II

1986

B

Block

Dull

1,2

(large "1")

.55


2225a

"

II

1990

B/C

None

Dull

2,3

(large "1")

.60


1897A

Locomotive I

1982

Cott.

0'all

Dull

2-4,6,8,10

(small "2¢")

.50


2226

"

II

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

(large "2")

.60


2226v

"

II

1994

C/D

None

Dull

2

(large "2")

.70


1898

Handcar

1983

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-4

.65


2252

Conestoga

1988

B

Block

Dull

1

.90


2252a

"

"

1991

C/D

None

Dull

2,3

1.00


2252av

"

"

1995

C/D

None

Shiny

3

1.00


2123

3.4¢

School Bus

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1,2

.90


2123a

"

PC

1985

Cott.

None

Dull

1,2

5.00


1898A

Stagecoach I

1982

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-6

(letters 19½ mm)

.90


1898Ab

"

I PC

1982

Cott.

None

Dull

3-6

(letters 19½ mm)

6.00


2228

"

II

1986

B

Block

Dull

1

(letters 18 mm)

1.00


2228a

"

II

1990

B

0'all

Dull

1

(letters 18 mm)

12.50


2451

Steam Carriage

1991

C/D

0'all

Dull

1

1.00


2451b

"

"

1991

C/D

None

Dull

1

1.10


2124

4.9¢

Buckboard

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

3,4

.90


2124a

"

PC

1985

Cott.

None

Dull

1-6

1.40


1899

Motorcycle

1983

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-4

1.00


2253

Milk Wagon

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

1.10


2452

Circus Wagon I

1990

B

0'all

Dull

1

(yellow paper)

1.50


2452a

"

I

1991

B

None

Dull

1

(yellow paper)

1.45


2452B

"

II

1992

Grav.

None

LG

A1,A2

(white paper)

1.50


2452Bv

"

II

1994

Grav.

None

LG

A3

(ink glows under UV)

1.50


2452D

"

III

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S1

("5¢")

1.50


2453

Canoe I SI

1991

C

None

Dull

1-3

(brown ink)

1.50


2454

"

II SI

1991

Grav.

None

Shiny

S11

(orange ink)

1.20


2454v

"

II SI

1993

Grav.

None

LG

S11

(orange ink)

1.80


1900

5.2¢

Sleigh SI

1983

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-3, 5

8.50


1900a

"

SI+PC

1983

Cott.

None

Dull

1-6

12.00


2254

5.3¢

Elevator SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1

1.00


2125

5.5¢

Star Route Truck

1986

B

Block

Dull

1

1.60


2125a

"

SI

1986

B

None

Dull

1,2

1.50


1901

5.9¢

Bicycle SI

1982

Cott.

0'all

Dull

3,4

15.00


1901a

"

SI+PC

1982

Cott.

None

Dull

3-6

25.00


2126

Tricycle

1985

B

Block

Dull

1

1.10


2126a

"

PC

1985

B

None

Dull

1,2

1.30


2127

7.1¢

Tractor

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

2.00


2127a

"

SI-a

1987

B

None

Dull

1

(nonprofit)

3.00


2127b

"

SI-b

1989

B

None

Dull

1

(5-digit + 4)

1.60


1902

7.4¢

Baby Buggy

1984

B

Block

Dull

2

8.50


1902a

"

PC

1984

B

None

Dull

2

3.50


2255

7.6¢

Carreta SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1-3

1.75


2128

8.3¢

Ambulance I

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1,2

(letters 18½ mm)

1.25


2128a

"

I PC

1985

Cott.

None

Dull

1-4

(letters 18½ mm)

1.35


2231

"

II PC

1986

B

None

Dull

1,2

(letters 18 mm)

3.00


2256

8.4¢

Wheel Chair SI

1988

B/C

None

Dull

1-3

1.80


2129

8.5¢

Tow Truck

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

2.60


2129a

"

SI

1987

B

None

Dull

1,2

2.60


1903

9.3¢

Mail Wagon SI

1981

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-6

carmine rose

12.50


1903v

"

SI

1981

Cott.

0'all

Dull

3,4

brownish rose

30.00


1903a

"

SI+PC

1981

Cott.

None

Dull

1-6, 8

carmine rose

14.50


1903av

"

SI+PC

1981

Cott.

None

Dull

3,4

brownish rose

25.00


2257

10¢

Canal Boat

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

1.50


2257a

"

"

1992

B

0'all

Dull

1

4.25


2257v

"

"

1993

B/C/D

EP

Shiny

1,2

3.00


2457

10¢

Tractor Trailer I SI

1991

C/D

None

Dull

1

(yellow paper)

1.75


2458

"

II SI

1994

Grav.

None

LG

11,22

(white paper)

2.00


2130

10.1¢

Oil Wagon

1985

B

Block

Dull

1

2.25


2130a

"

PC

1985

B

None

Dull

1,2

2.25


2130b

"

SI

1988

B

None

Dull

2,3

2.00


1904

10.9¢

Hansom Cab SI

1982

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1,2

28.00


1904a

"

SI+PC

1982

Cott.

None

Dull

1-4

27.00


1905

11¢

Railroad Caboose SI

1984

B

Block

Dull

1

4.00


1905a

"

SI+PC

1984

B

None

Dull

1

3.00


1905av

"

SI

1991

C/D

None

Dull

2

2.00


2131

11¢

Stutz Bearcat

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-4

1.40


2132

12¢

Stanley Steamer I

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1,2

(letters 18 mm)

1.75


2132a

"

I PC

1985

Cott.

None

Dull

1,2

(letters 18 mm)

1.75


2132b

"

II PC

1987

B

None

Dull

1

(letters 17½ mm)

19.00


2133

12.5¢

Pushcart

1985

B

Block

Dull

1,2

2.65


2133a

"

PC

1985

B

None

Dull

1,2

2.70


2258

13¢

Patrol Wagon SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1

2.45


2259

13.2¢

Coal Car SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1,2

2.45


2134

14¢

Iceboat I

1985

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-4

(letters 18 mm)

2.25


2134b

"

II

1986

B

Block

Dull

2

(letters 17½ mm)

3.30


2260

15¢

Tugboat

1988

B

Block

Dull

1,2

1.80


2260a

"

"

1990

B

0'all

Dull

2

2.90


2261

16.7¢

Popcorn Wagon SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1,2

2.50


1906

17¢

Electric Auto

1981

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-7

2.00


1906a

"

PC-A

1981

Cott.

None

Dull

3-7

("Presorted" 11.3 mm)

2.10


1906av

"

PC-B

1981

Cott.

None

Dull

3-6

("Presorted" 12.8 mm)

15.00


1906avv

"

PC-C

1981

Cott.

None

Dull

1-5, 7

("Presorted" 13.4 mm)

18.50


2135

17¢

Dog Sled

1986

B

Block

Dull

2

3.00


2262

17.5¢

Racing Car

1987

B

Block

Dull

1

3.00


2262a

"

SI

1987

B

None

Dull

1

3.10


1907

18¢

Surrey

1981

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-18

3.00


1908

20¢

Fire Pumper

1981

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-16

2.50


2263

20¢

Cable Car

1988

C/D

Block I

Dull

1,2

(Tagging 20.5 x 23.5 mm

2.60


2263v

"

"

1988

C/D

Block 11

Dull

2

(Tagging 19 x 22 mm)

2.60


2263b

"

"

1990

C/D

0'all

Dull

2

4.00


2463

20¢

Cog Railway

1995

C

EP

Shiny

1,2

3.00


2264

20.5¢

Fire Engine SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1

3.00


2265

21¢

RR Mail Car SI

1988

B/C

None

Dull

1,2

3.00


2464

23¢

Lunch Wagon

1991

C

SP

Dull

2,3

3.50


2464v

"

"

1992

C

EP

Dull

3

4.00


2464vv

"

"

1993

C

EP

Shiny

3

4.00


2266

24.1¢

Tandem Bike SI

1988

B

None

Dull

1

3.50


2136

25¢

Bread Wagon

1986

B

Block

Dull

1,5

(reddish)

3.50


2136v

"

"

1988

C/D

Block

Dull

2-4

(yellowish)

3.20


2466

32¢

Ferry Boat

1995

C

EP

Shiny

2-5

5.00


2468

$1

Seaplane

1990

B

0'all

Dull

1

8.00


2468v

"

"

1993

C/D

EP

Shiny

3

8.00

Flag Issues


2893

(5¢)

"G" Flag SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

A11111,A21111

(Nonprofit Presort)

1.00


1891

18¢

Flag and lighthouse

1981

B

Block

Shiny

1-7

4.25


1895

20¢

Flag & Supreme Court

1981

B

Block I

Shiny

1-3,5,11, 13,14

(large block)

4.25


1895v

"

"

1981

C

Block II

Shiny

4,6,8-10,12

(small block)

4.25


1895e

"

PC

1984

B

None

Shiny

14

55.00


2115

22¢

Flag & Capitol

1985

B

Block I

Shiny

2,4,6,10, 13-16,21

(large)

3.00


2115v

"

"

1985

C/D

Block II

Shiny

1,3,5,7, 8,11,12 ,17-20,22

(small)

3.00


2115b

"

"

1987

C

SP

Shiny

T1

3.00


2605

23¢

Flag Presort

1991

Grav.

None

LG

Axxx (6)

3.50


2606

23¢

USA I SI

1992

Grav.

None

LG

Axxxx (9)

(ABNC, "23" = 6 mm tall)

4.00


2607

"

II SI

1992

Grav.

None

Shiny

1111

(BEP, letters = 16½ mm)

4.00


2607v

"

II SI

1994

Grav.

None

LG

1111

4.00


2608

"

III SI

1993

Grav.

None

LG

S111

(SVS, letters = 15½ mm)

4.50


2280

25¢

Flag & Yosemite

1988

B

Block I

Shiny

1-3

(large block)

3.25


2280v

"

"

1988

C/D

Block 11

Shiny

4,5, 7-9

(small block)

3.25


2280vv

"

"

1989

C/D

EP

Shiny

1-3,5-11, 13-15

3.50


2888

(25¢)

"G" Flag SI

1995

Grav.

SP

LG

S11111

(1st Class Presort)

4.50


2523

29¢

Flag & Mt. Rushmore I

1991

C/D

EP

Shiny

1-9

(BEP)

4.50


2523A

"

II

1991

Grav.

EP

LG

A11111,A22211

(ABNC)

4.25


2609

29¢

Flag & White House

1992

C/D/F

EP

Shiny

1-16, 18

5.00


2889

(32¢)

"G" I

1995

Grav.

EP

Shiny

1111,2222

(BEP, black "G")

5.00


2890

"

II

1995

Grav.

EP

LG

Axxxx (36)

(ABNC, blue "G")

5.00


2891

"

III

1995

Grav.

EP

Shiny

S11111

(SVS, red "G" perfed)

5.00


2892

"

III

1995

Grav.

EP

Shiny

S2222

(SVS, rouletted)

5.00


2913

32¢

Flag over Porch I

1995

Grav.

SP

LG

xxxxx (5)

(BEP, red date)

5.00


2913v

"

I

1995

Grav.

SP

Shiny

11111

(BEP, red date)

5.00


2914

"

II

1995

Grav.

SP

LG

S11111

(SVS, black date)

5.00

Interested in Flags On Stamps?

Collector Bob Hunt has started a study group for that topic - email him at "bh1861@att.net" and tell him you want to join.

OR visit his web site to learn more. And don't miss Flags on Stamps by Richard Mallett.

Contingency Issues


2112

(22¢)

"D" Eagle

1985

Grav.

Block

Dull

12

6.00


2279

(25¢)

"E" Earth

1988

Andr.

Block

Dull

1111,1211, 1222,2222

2.50


2518

(29¢)

"F" Flower

1991

Grav.

SP

Shiny

1111,1211,1222, 2211,2222

3.75

(see Flag Issues, above)

(various)

"G" Old Glory

1995

Miscellaneous Issues


2902

(5¢)

Butte SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S111

(SVS)

1.00


2905

(10¢)

Auto SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S111

(SVS)

1.80


2602

(10¢)

Eagle & Shield I SI

1991

Grav.

None

LG

Axxxxx (42)

(ABNC, "USA" red)

2.60


2603

"

II SI

1993

Grav.

None

Shiny

xxxx (6)

(BEP, "USA" blue)

3.10


2603v

"

II SI

1993

Grav.

SP

Shiny

22221,22222

(BEP, error)

25.00


2603vv

"

II SI

1993

Grav.

None

LG

22222

(BEP)

3.10


2604

"

III SI

1993

Grav.

None

LG

S11111

(SVS, metallic gold)

3.50


2604v

"

III SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S22222

(SVS, green fluoresces)

3.50


2908

15¢

Cadillac Tailfin I SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

11111

(BEP, blue date)

2.25


2909

"

II SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S11111

(SVS, black date)

2.25


2149

18¢

Washington

1985

Andr.

Block

LG

1112,3333

3.00


2149a

"

SI

1985

Andr.

None

LG

11121,33333

6.50


2149av

"

SI

1985

Andr.

None

Dull

33333,43444

7.00


2529

19¢

Fishing Boat I

1991

Grav.

SP

LG

Axxxx (4)

(ABNC, jagged "1")

3.00


2529a

"

II

1993

Grav.

SP

LG

Axxxx (7)

(ABNC, smooth "1")

3.50


2529b

"

II

1993

Grav.

None

LG

A5555

(ABNC, smooth "1")

10.50


2529C

"

III

1994

Grav.

SP

LG

S11

(SVS, 1 rope loop)

4.25


2005

20¢

Consumer Education

1982

Cott.

0'all

Dull

1-4

100.00


2150

21.1¢

Letters

1985

Andr.

Block

LG

11111,11121

3.50


2150a

"

SI

1985

Andr.

None

LG

11111,11121

3.75


2281

25¢

Honeybee

1988

(Mix)

Block

Shiny

1,2

3.00


2911

25¢

Juke Box I SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

111111

(BEP, blue date)

4.00


2912

"

II SI

1995

Grav.

None

LG

S11111

(SVS, black date)

4.00


2525

29¢

Flower (rouletted)

1991

Grav.

SP

Shiny

S1111,S2222

4.25


2526

29¢

Flower (perf I0)

1992

Grav.

SP

Shiny

S2222

4.00

Computer-Vended Postage


CVP31

"

Variable Denomination I

1992

C/D

SP

Dull

1

(BEP)

8.00


CVP31a

"

Variable Denomination I

1992

C/D

EP

Shiny

1

7.50


CVP32

"

Variable Denomination II

1994

Grav.

EP

LG

A11

(ABNC)

5.75


CVP33

"

Variable Denomination III

1996

Grav.

EP

LG

11

BEP

?

Officials


O135

20¢

Official

1983

B

Block

Shiny

1

60.00


O139

(22¢)

"D" Official

1985

B

Block

Shiny

1

70.00

Terms and Abbreviations

Scott No. - Most of the stamps are numbered as listed in the Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue. In a few cases, I make distinctions that Scott does not, or to which it assigns no unique number or letter, in which case I add "v" (for variety) to the Scott number.

Gum types - I have tried to use the latest terms, sorting gums into three types ? dull, low gloss (LG), and shiny. In most cases, these terms are unambiguous, and you should have no trouble determining the gum type on an individual stamp. A stamp with dull gum, for example, often looks as though it has no gum at all. The gum has no sheen, little or no stickiness, and feels rough. Shiny gum is just that ? very smooth, very shiny (it reflects a bright light source clearly), and sticky to the touch if there is the least moisture on your fingers. Low gloss gum is somewhere between the other two. It feels smooth and has a slight sheen and some stickiness (it will take fingerprints, for example), but it is quite clearly neither dull nor shiny. In a few instances, however,the terms are relative and make sense only when you have seen examples. Of the four recent 32- cent "G" coils, for example, the BEP version (black "G") clearly has shiny gum, and the ABNC version (blue"G") clearly has low gloss gum. The two printed by SVS (red "G") lie somewhere in between low gloss and shiny and even differ slightly from each other. I have called them shiny, but minus the ABNC version, I might have gone with low gloss.

Precancel (PC) - Any overprint added after printing (a practice no longer in use), such as black bars, even if it includes text such as "PRESORTED FIRST CLASS," I have designated a precancel (PC).

Service Inscription (SI) - I have used this term only when the design of the stamp includes some text indicating its intended use (ZIP+4 or Presorted First-Class, for example), and that inscription was printed with the rest of the design.

Presses - Most of these stamps were printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the BEP), where production equipment and methods have been extensively studied and documented by staff and collectors. The names used are the ones listed in the reference works on my other PNCs page. The presses are as follows:

         Cott. = Cottrell press - single-color intaglio presses (4 of them) at the BEP. The method of printing, with two plates fastened together to form the printing cylinder, created joint lines on the stamps, with a line and plate number every 24 stamps. The last Cottrell was retired in 1985.
         B = B press at BEP, Giori single- station three-color intaglio press with a single seamless printing cylinder, hence no joint lines. Plate numbers occur once every 52 stamps. Dismantled in 1993.
         C = C press at BEP, Goebel single- station three-color intaglio press, single seamless cylinder, plate number every 48 stamps.
         D = D press at BEP, Goebel multi- station combination offset-intaglio press, with an intaglio station identical to that of the C press, hence a plate number every 48 stamps.
         F = F press at BEP, Goebel multi- station combination offset-intaglio press, with an intaglio station identical to that of the C press, hence a plate number every 48 stamps.
         Grav. = generic term, Gravure press, mostly non-BEP, or nothing more specific available
         Andr. = Andreotti multi-station multi- color gravure press at BEP, producing a set of plate numbers (one per color) either every 24 or every 38 stamps.
         (Mix) = more than one press was needed to produce the stamp (BEP)

Tagging - First, a definition:

"Tagging" is the addition of a phosporescent substance, as a coating, or as a part of the paper, to make a stamp visible under the ultraviolet light (UV) used in USPS automated cancelling and sorting machines. It was first used on U.S. stamps on an experimental basis in 1963, and by 1974 was standard on all first-class stamps. Lower value stamps are generally NOT tagged, so that they cannot be used to fool the machines.

I use seven designations for tagging types ? None, O'all, Block, Block I, Block II, SP, and EP. Their meanings are as follows:
1. None: Just that, totally untagged. All precancels are untagged, except by error. Service-inscribed stamps have no tagging, unless they are philatelic issues of stamps issued originally with precancels. Finally, low-value definitives issued since 1990 are untagged, in an effort to prevent their use as a way of underpaying postage.
2. O'all: Overall tagging. This refers to tagging that is applied to the entire surface of the stamp after the design has been printed. It is usually smooth and even in tone and texture, and may obscure the stamp design when activated (under UV light). If you have difficulty recognizing the differences among overall, embedded phosphor (EP),and surface phosphor (SP) tagging, compare known examples of each and develop your own set of rules for differentiating. In most cases, it should not be difficult.
3. Block: This refers to a rectangle of taggant applied last in the printing process on top of the design. It usually is centered on the stamp, leaving an untagged border on all sides. (While the total absence of tagging on a stamp not regularly issued that way may increase its value, variations in the centering of the block tagging do not.) The size of the rectangle varies from one issue to another, however, and sometimes even on the same issue (see Block I and Block II). The block tagging on the 11-cent Railroad Caboose stamp is unusual in that it carries the design of the 20-cent Flag over Supreme Court coil. This came about because the Caboose coil was tagged specially for philatelic sale, using tagging mats that had been used on the other stamp, and had worn down to the shape of its design.
4. Block 1: Larger of two block tagging styles on the same issue. There are four instances, three of them on flag issues, related to the press on which the issue was printed (B or C), since the tagging is applied by a station of the press, more or less as an integral part of the printing process. Of the fourth instance, on the 20-cent Cable Car, which was printed on the C and D presses, I have seen no explanation. I assume the two come from different printings and different tagging mats.
5. Block II: Smaller of the two block tagging styles on the same issue. See Block 1.
6. SP: Surface phosphor is a variety of tagging where the phosphor is added as a last step in the paper-making process, as a coating. It is generally smooth and even, like overall tagging, but usually less bright. Since the taggant is applied before the printing process, and the design is on top of it, it should not interfere with the design when activated.
7. EP: Embedded phosphor is a variety of tagging where the phosphor is actually a part of the coating on the paper (not of the paper itself ? it is not visible from the back). It usually is rather mottled in appearance, which is the chief method of distinguishing it from surface phosphor tagging. Like surface phosphor, it lies under the stamp design.

Printers - From 1894 until the 1980's, almost all U.S. stamps were printed at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving (BEP), the government bureau that prints all our money. In the past 20 years, more and more of the stamp printing has gone to private firms, as the need to economize has forced the USPS to look at other printers. If no printer is stated in the Key Features column, it was the BEP.

         BEP - Bureau of Engraving and Printing
         SVS - Stamp Venturers - a loose partnership of printing companies formed specifically for the purpose of printing stamps for the USPS. The printing company used varies according to the needs of the stamp.
         ABNC - Guilford Gravure for American Bank Note Company

Retail Price - This was the Scott U.S. Specialized Catalog price for the cheapest 5-stamp plate number strip of the item in January of 1996 (scarcer plate number bring higher prices). Some prices are higher now.


The above table was originally published in the September, 1996 issue of The American Philatelist, with whose permission I am reproducing it here. The original title was "Collecting Plate Number Coils".

If you are interested in stamp collecting, and not yet a member of The American Philatelic Society, I recommend you join - my own membership has increased the value and enjoyment of my stamp collecting activities immeasurably. Click on their logo above to visit the main page of their web site and learn more.


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Revised -- 04/07/2008