In 1999, the USPS issued the 33˘ Flag with skyscrapers in the background. This is design A2540 in the Scott catalog. There are seven catalog numbers for this issue. Let’s see how to tell them apart.
In 1999, the USPS was transitioning to more to self-adhesive stamps. Two of these issues have water activated gum though.
Scott #3277 is perforated 11.2 on all 4 sides and printed in panes of 100. Because not many water activated sheet stamps were printed, plate blocks of this issue are uncommon, cataloging $60 as of this writing. This issue has a red year date.
Scott #3280 is the other water activated gum issue. This coil stamp is perforated 9.9 vertically. This issue has both small and large year date formats. The small and more common year date is Scott #3280. The large year date is listed as Scott #3280a.
Scott #3278 is die cut size 11 on 2, 3, or 4 sides. This issue came in full panes of 20 stamps (hence, die cuts on all 4 sides) as well as booklet form (due cuts on only 2 or 3 sides).
Scott #3278F is die cut 11.5 by 11.75 on 2, 3, or 4 sides and was only issued in booklet form. There were 20 stamps on the pane with a label arranged in 7 rows of stamps, 3 stamps wide. These booklet panes were dispensed from ATM banking machines.
Both #3278 and #3278F have black year dates.
Scott #3279 is die cut 9.8 on 2, 3, or 4 sides. It has a red year date.
Scott #3281 and #3282 are both die cut 9.8 size coil stamps. On #3281, the corner die cuts are square shaped. On #3282, the corner die cuts are round. If you find these coils still on the backing paper, on #3281 – the backing paper is the same size as the stamp. On Scott #3282, the backing paper is larger than the stamp. Also, the stamps on #3281 adjoin each other while on #3282, the stamps are spaced about 2 mm. apart.
Like Scott #3280, Scott #3281 also comes in both large and small year dates. The large year date is #3281. The small year date is #3281c. Both large and small year date varieties are the same catalog value.
Identification shouldn’t be a problem. Checking the size and shape of the die cuts is important. Hunting for both large and small year date varieties on #3280 and #3281 can be fun. Good luck!