Plate number coil

From Academic Kids

A plate number coil (PNC) is a United States postage stamp with the number of the printing plate or plates printed on it. The plate numbers typically appear as one or more small digits in the margin at the bottom of the stamp.

The plate number is on one stamp out of the number of stamps printed by a single revolution of rotary printing press used to print the stamps.

plate number coil

In the example above, which is a closeup of a strip of 1996 "flag over porch" self-adhesive stamps, we can see five plate numbers, one for each color layer. The digits are quite small, and often hard to read because they are blurred by the halftone screen.

Collectors typically save plate number coils in the following formats:

  1. PNC5 - Plate Number Coil 5 - A strip of 5 mint stamps with the plate number coil on the center stamp.
  2. PNC3 - Plate Number Coil 3 - A strip of 3 mint stamps with the plate number coil on the center stamp. A PNC3 is less desirable than a PNC5
  3. PNS - Plate Number Single - A single used plate number coil stamp. The plate number must be identifiable and not be obliterated by the postmark.
  4. On cover - An envelope bearing a used plate number coil stamp with a postmark tying the stamp to the envelope. Many collectors prefer the cover to have the correct postage used for the envelope. This means they find stamp collector contrived or philatelic covers less desirable.
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