Have you read in the philatelic press about Royal Mail (the British post office) using die cuts on recent issues? Will the USPS move to a model where stamps are die cut to prevent reuse?

Stamps are already difficult to remove from envelopes since the USPS remove the requirement to have a water soluble barrier. Yes, removing that requirement probably resulted in lower production costs for the USPS. But the side effect is that stamps are difficult to remove from their paper.

Now, collectors have gotten around this problem with using lighter fluid or other liquids which have been generally positive results for those wanting to remove a stamp from its cover. To the general public though, this option is not cost effective. You have the cost of the fluid plus the cost of trying to remove the stamp from the cover. Itís more time and effort that itís worth to try and save a few pennies doing that.

But to a stamp collector, the cost is not that high and they get nice, used stamps in return. They donítí have to leave them on piece any more.

The first die cut, as part of the stamp design, is Scott #1552. That stamp was ďprecancelledĒ. It was a self adhesive issue. Using the die cuts made it impossible to remove the stamp from an envelope without damaging it.

Cancelling the mail is expensive. Even with the newer spray on cancels, the USPS still has to buy the equipment, maintain it, pay for the ink used, and so forth. If they move to using die cuts, they could possibly eliminate cancelling the mil all together.

If so, in the future, the term ďcontemporary cancelĒ will have no meaning on newer stamps. And the catalog value for a used stamp will be one without original gum.

It would definitely turn postal history upside down. No more cancels? Sure, there is plenty of older material to collect and study. But modern postal history would be forever redefined.

If stamps donít need cancelling to prevent reuse, would the USPS still offer First Day cancels? Probably, because it spurs sales of new stamps.

This also means that a user stamp would never be worth more than a mint stamp. For example, Scott #39 is worth more in used condition than mint. Thatís because there are so few legitimately used #39 copies available. Need a used copy now? Just soak the gum off and youíre done.

There is only one unique cover with Scott #122 used. Itís the famous Ice House cover. Despite many used copies of #122, itís the only surviving cover. If that was in the future, just take a #122 from your stock of mint stamps and stick it on an envelope. Now itís used!

I donít know if the USPS will ever move to die cuts and eliminate cancelling of mail or not. But if they do, itís sure to bring about big changes to the hobby we love.