Arago: 5.2-cent Sleigh

5.2-cent Sleigh

The Postal Service issued the 5.2-cent Sleigh stamp on March 21, 1983, in Memphis, Tennessee. The stamp features the image of an 1890s-era sleigh. Intended to pay the third-class basic presort rate that had gone into effect January 9, it is described as a 'service inscribed' stamp. The words "Auth Nonprofit Org" are included in the design. There was no first day ceremony, but 141,979 first day covers were cancelled. There were 237 million stamps printed.

The stamps were printed on the Cottrell press at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. There were two sleeves per cylinder with the plate number appearing on every twenty-fourth stamp. The stamp was available both in the overall tagged collector's edition and in the untagged, utilitarian precancelled version with two parallel bars. The collector's edition was issued only in coils of five hundred with plate numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5. Plate number 4 is unknown for the collector's edition while plate number singles 3 and 5 are quite scarce.

The untagged, precancelled version appeared in coils of five hundred and 3,000. Plate numbers 1-6 were used for the precancelled stamp. The precancelled version is much more common both as used plate numbers and in mint plate number strips. Plate number strips with gaps between the pre-cancel bars are much scarcer.

Walter Brooks of Norwalk, Connecticut, designed the 5.2-cent Sleigh. Ronald C. Sharpe modeled the stamp, Kenneth Kipperman engraved the vignette, and Dennis Brown engraved the lettering. Sharpe, Kipperman, and Brown were with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

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