1997 Flag Over Porch (Linerless Coil)
- One of the first US linerless coil stamps (the other being US #3132)
- Pictures same design as 14 previous major stamp varieties
Stamp Category: Definitive
Value: 32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue: March 14, 1997
First Day City: New York, New York
Quantity Issued: 5,000,000
Printed by: Printed for 3M by Stamp Venturers at J.W. Fergusson and Sons
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Coils of 100 (Self-adhesive without liner paper)
Perforations: 9.9 (Die-cut simulated perforations)
Tagging: Phosphored paper
Why the stamp was issued: To cover the First Class Mail Rate and, according to the USPS, help preserve the environment by testing stamps without backing paper.
About the stamp design: The same design as 14 previous major stamp varieties, picturing Dave LaFleur’s image of the American flag flying over a traditional front porch (first used in 1995). Booklet and coil stamps bearing the same design (printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing) were issued earlier in 1997, on January 24th.
First Day City: The stamp had no First Day of Issue Ceremony, but was put on sale for the first time at the Postage Stamp Mega-Event in New York City.
History the stamp represents: Up until 1997, self-adhesive stamps were produced with a backing paper – a glossy paper the stamps could adhere to, but also be easily removed from. In an effort to cut costs and be more environmentally friendly, the USPS decided to experiment with linerless self-adhesive coils. In order to do this, the stamps would have to receive a special silicone coating to keep them from sticking to each other.
The process to produce these stamps turned out to be quite complex. The 32¢ Flag Over Porch stamps were printed by Stamp Venturers in Richmond, Virginia. They were shipped to 3M Corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota. There, they were coated with adhesive on the back and silicone on the front. The stamps were then shipped back to Stamp Venturers, cut down into 100-stamp coils, and packaged similarly to tape dispensers.
Despite the lengthy process of creating the stamps, the USPS thought the idea had merit, and the first linerless coil self-adhesive stamps (US #3122 and 3133) were issued on March 14, 1997. The stamps were tested at 17 post offices and a few bulk-mail houses. They received positive feedback and the USPS announced it would continue to issue linerless coils.