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Printing Problems, Oversupply Delay Postage Stamp Issues

April 3, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Postal Service said Wednesday it will postpone issuing five stamps - a $5 stamp honoring writer Bret Harte and a set of four 22-cent stamps depicting the craft of lacemaking.

The Harte stamp, due for release Aug. 25, was postponed because there are still plenty of the $5 railroad lantern stamp in the inventory, the Postal Service said.

Pushing the printing of the new stamp into next year will have the added effect of saving the postal service some money in a year when budgets are tight. The Postal Service had a loss of $251 million last year after three successive profitable years.

The lacemaking design proved to be a difficult one for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and was postponed because the printing process still had not been perfected just a month before the May 2 issue date.

The white color of the lace design ended up being difficult to print, because the two most likely processes didn’t work.

Simply allowing the white of the paper to show through looked bad if one of the colors got slightly out of position - not unlikely in a high-speed press run.

Overprinting the background color with an engraved printing plate and white ink did not come out because the background color showed through the ink, said stamps branch spokesman Hugh McGonigle.

That postponement is likely to cost the Postal Service money because ceremonies had been planned for the first day of issue. In addition, envelopes sent in by collectors for first-day cancellations will have to be returned.

No new dates have been set for the postponed issues.

In February, the Postal Service dumped plans to release a series of seven ″message″ stamps with designs including ″Get Well,″ ″Happy Birthday″ and ″Congratulations.″

That plan was put on hold until a marketing scheme involving greeting card stores could be arranged.

A 14-cent Christmas post card-rate stamp was deleted from last year’s program as a cost savings measure.

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