Arago: 33-cent Blueberries

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33-cent Blueberries

On April 10, 1999, the Postal Service issued the Fruit Berries, a group of 33-cent multicolored self-adhesive definitives, se-tenant with four designs: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. The stamps were issued in three formats: a convertible booklet of twenty, a booklet of fifteen, and a coil, in rolls of one hundred. The stamps incorporated a “1999” year date in the lower left corner below the design.

The cyan, magenta, yellow, and black Blueberries (Scott 3294) self-adhesive stamp (convertible booklet) was printed for the Banknote Corporation of America by Guilford Gravure on a Cerutti 8/C gravure press and distributed in booklets of twenty, three stamps across and seven down on the pane, including a label in the lower right corner. Gravure printing cylinders of twenty-one subjects were used to print the stamps. One set of four cylinder numbers preceded by the letter ‘B’ appears on the first peel-off strip. The stamp has die-cut simulated serpentine 11¼ x 11½ perforations cut on an Innotech rotary die cutter.

The cyan, magenta, yellow, and black Blueberries (Scott 3298) self-adhesive stamp was also printed for the Banknote Corporation of America by Guilford Gravure on a Cerutti 8/C gravure press and distributed in booklets of fifteen, two stamps across and eight down on the pane, including a label in the lower right corner. Gravure printing cylinders of three hundred subjects were used to print the stamps. One set of four cylinder numbers preceded by the letter ‘B’ appears on the first peel-off strip. The stamp has die-cut simulated serpentine perforations, 9½ x 10 on two or three sides of each stamp, cut on an Innotech rotary die cutter.

The magenta, yellow, cyan, and black Blueberries (Scott 3302) coil self-adhesive stamp was also printed for the Banknote Corporation of America by Guilford Gravure on a Cerutti 8/C gravure press and distributed in rolls of one hundred. Gravure printing cylinders of 384 subjects were used to print the stamps. One set of four cylinder numbers preceded by the letter ‘B’ appears centered in the bottom selvage on every 12th stamp, which is always a Blackberry stamp. The stamp has vertical die-cut simulated serpentine 8½ perforations cut on a George Schmidt rotary die cutter. The sequence of the four designs on the roll is Blackberry-Strawberry-Blueberry-Raspberry.

On June 16, 2000, USPS issued the Fruit Berries in a fourth format, a linerless roll of 100 self-adhesive stamps, with horizontal die-cut simulated serpentine perforations. The stamps incorporated a “2000” year date in the lower left corner of the design. The Fruit Berries were the first regularly issued horizontal U.S. coil stamps since the 3-cent Francis Parkman (Scott 1297) Prominent American stamp in 1975.

The magenta, yellow, cyan, and black Blueberries (Scott 3404) coil self-adhesive stamp was printed by Guilford Gravure on a Cerutti 8/C gravure press and distributed in rolls of one hundred. Gravure printing cylinders of 384 subjects were used to print the stamps. One set of four cylinder numbers preceded by the letter ‘G’ appears on every 12th stamp—always a Blackberry stamp—along the right-side straight edge, reading bottom to top. The stamp has vertical die-cut simulated serpentine 8½ perforations cut on a George Schmidt rotary die cutter. The sequence of the four designs on the roll is Strawberry- Blackberry-Raspberry- Blueberry.

Blueberries are a group of flowering plants, native to North America and eastern Asia. They are shrubs varying in size from 3.9 inches tall to 13 feet tall. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, from 0.4-3.1 inches long and 0.2-1.4 inches broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink, or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is botanically a false berry 0.2-0.6 inches in diameter. They are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally turn blue or dark purple on ripening.

The blueberry is the official state berry of Maine (Wild Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium, Aiton, 1991), the official blue berry of North Carolina (Blueberry, Genus Vaccinium, 2001), and the official state fruit of New Jersey (High Bush Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, 2003).

References:

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 1999

Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook 2000

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

NETSTATE.com (http://www.netstate.com/states/tables/state_fruit.htm)


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