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The numbers game.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

I read the other day in an article in the mainstream press that an upcoming stamp was
quite an honor, because the U-S Postal Service has only 20 issues a year. Iíve also read
articles that said 30 a year.

Well, it IS quite an honor, but stamp collectors say the U-S issues more than a hundred
stamps a year.

So which is it? 20, 30 or a hundred?

It all depends on how you count.

Take the Circus Posters stamps. There are 8 different designs. The Postal Service says
thatís one issue. Collectors say itís eight. Last yearís Harry Potter stamps?
Collectors 20, Postal Service 1.

The U-S-P-S this year issued rolls of Ferns stamps, with five different designs, and at
least two printing varieties. Stamp collectors say itís either 5 or 10, the Postal
Service says itís either one or Ö none.

You see, thereís the difference between commemorative stamps and what the Postal Service
calls ďmail-use,Ē like the Ferns. The agency hopes you will buy commemoratives, put them
in a drawer, and never use them for mailing.

This yearís Ralph Ellison stamp in the Literary Arts series LOOKS like a commemorative,
celebrates his centennial more or less just like a commemorative, but it pays the rate
for three ounces, so itís a mail-use stamp.

Sometimes the Postal Service counts the stamps that are actually intended to MAIL
somethingÖ and sometimes it doesnít.

So how many stamps does the U-S issue a year? It depends who you ask.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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