Arago: 1-cent American Kestrel

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1-cent American Kestrel

On May 10, 1995, without advance publicity, the Postal Service issued a redesigned version of the American Kestrel (Scott 2476) definitive. The denomination inscription “01” was replaced with “1¢.” In addition, a black “1995” year date was added to the stamp's bottom left corner. Since American Bank Note Co. no longer had a contract with USPS, the printing job was given to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The redesigned yellow, magenta, cyan, and black definitive (Scott 2477) was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the six-color Goebel Optiforma webfed offset press (043) and perforated 11. The stamp was printed and distributed in panes of one hundred, ten across and ten down, offset printed by plates of four hundred subjects. One group of four offset plate numbers is printed in the selvage adjacent to one upper-corner stamp and one lower-corner stamp on the same side. “© USPS 1991.” “100 x .01 = $1.00.” and “PLATE/POSITION” and a pane position diagram are printed in the selvage.

On January 20, 1996, a 1-cent American Kestrel (Scott 3044) coil stamp was issued at the American Postage Stamp Show in New York City. The design was the same as that of the previous BEP American Kestrel stamps, except that the year date changed to “1996.”

The black, yellow, magenta, and cyan definitive was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the six-color offset, three-color intaglio webfed D press (902) and perforated 9.8 vertically using a Huck stroke perforator. The stamp was printed and distributed in coils of five hundred and 3,000. Offset printing plates of 432 subjects were used. One group of four offset plate numbers is printed on every 24th stamp.

On November 19, 1999, USPS issued a self-adhesive version of the American Kestrel (Scott 3031) definitive in conjunction with American Stamp Dealers Association’s Postage Stamp Mega-Event in New York City. The design was the same as that of the previous BEP American Kestrel stamps, except that the year date changed to “1999.”

The self-adhesive was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the offset portion of the Giori four-color offset, three-color intaglio webfed press (801) with die-cut simulated perforations, 11. The stamp was printed and distributed in panes of fifty, ten across and five down, using offset printing plates of three hundred subjects. One set of four offset plate numbers are printed in the selvage above or below each corner stamp. “© USPS 1991.” and “PLATE/POSITION” and a pane position diagram are printed in the selvage.

A fifth revised American Kestrel stamp (Scott 3031A) was issued October 2000. The design was the same as that of the previous BEP American Kestrel stamps, except that the year date changed to “2000,” and it was printed in blue. It was also the first of the American Kestrel stamps to be microprinted, with “USPS” in black on the vertical branch below the bird’s claws.

The grey, black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and blue self-adhesive stamp was printed on the Banknote Corporation of America Goebel 670 offset press, and distributed in panes of fifty, ten stamps across and five down on the pane. Offset printing plates of four hundred subjects were used to print the stamps. One set of six plate numbers preceded by the letter ‘B’ appears in the selvage above or below each corner stamp. The stamp has die-cut simulated perforations, 11¼, cut on a rotary die cutter. “© USPS 1991.” “.01/x50/$0.50.” and “PLATE/POSITION” and a pane position diagram are printed in the selvage.

The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the smallest falcon in North America. Adorned with reddish, blue, and cinnamon colors, both sexes have reddish and blue crowns. Males have blue wings, and cinnamon or rusty backs, and tails with a chestnut patch on top of the head. The breast is white with dark spots. Females have a cinnamon body color with dark streaks with chestnut wings with black bars and chestnut streaks on the breast. The breast is a lighter tan color with vertical brown streaks. The American Kestrel is approximately 9-12 inches long with a wingspan of 20-24 inches, weighing 2.8-5.8 ounces. It feeds on large insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

American Kestrels are widely distributed across the Americas, their breeding range extending as far north as central and western Alaska, across northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North America, into central Mexico, the Baja, and the Caribbean. In winter in many southern parts of the range female and male American Kestrels use different habitats. The female uses the more open habitat, and the male uses areas with more trees.

References:

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 1991

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 1995

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 1996

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 1999

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 2000

Scott 2005 Specialized Catalogue of U.S. Stamps and Covers

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/American_Kestrel.html)


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