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Computer Vended Coils (CVP) differ from other stamps we collect as PNCs in that the vending machine prints the value on each stamp as it is purchased. Collectors do not try to get every possible face value. If you are new to CVP collecting, read this first.
  1. Vertical coils - Scott CVP #31
    First issue: Scott 31 & 31a
    Second issue: Scott 31b & 31c
  2. Horizontal coils - Scott CVP #32
  3. Collecting Computer Vended Coils
    What People Collect,
    Centering ,
    Finding the Plate Number
    Cover prices ,
    New Release Cost

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Vertical coils: First issue

Distinguishing features: Small asterisk. Period near top of value. Small font.

Release date: 20 Aug 1992

Plate number is on left side half-way up the stamp.

Used in ECA-GARD machines

Type1- smooth tag & dull gum. Type 2-mottled tag & shiny gum

DescriptionPS1 PS3PS5CoverFDC
Scott #CVP 31:#1 smooth tag, dull gum.
Vs*1 -18 sd24.00 24.50 25.00 50.00
Vs*19, 23, 29 sd 7.00 7.50 8.00 10.00
Scott#CVP 31a: #1 mottled tag shiny gum
Vs*19, 23, 29 ms 7.00 7.50 8.00 10.00
Vs*1 set (1-18) 432.00 441.00 450.00
Vs*1sd+ms set of 6 42.00 45.00 48.00
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Vertical Coils: Second issue

Large asterisk. Period at bottom of value. Small font.

Plate number is on left side half-way up the stamp.

Type1- smooth tag & dull gum. Type 2-mottled tag & shiny gum

DescriptionPS1 PS3PS5Cover
Scott #CVP 31b:#1 smooth tag,dull gum.
Vl*19 sd49.00 49.50 50.00 100.00
Vl*20, 23 sd9.00 9.50 10.00 10.00
Vl*29, 32 sd11.00 11.50 12.00 12.00
Scott#CVP 31c: #1 mottled tag shiny gum
Vl*19 ms49.00 49.50 50.00 100.00
Vl*20, 23 ms7.00 7.50 8.00 9.00
Vl*29, 32 ms8.00 8.50 9.00 12.00
Vl*sd +ms set (of 10) 170.00 175. 180.00
Vl*sd+ms short set of 870.00 74.00 78.00
The postal rates changed during the time this stamp was current & there are 4 denominations collected. Soon after the stamp was introduced the machines were set to produce no more 19 values. The 19 occurs on both papers because both papers were introduced at the same time.

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Horizontal coils

The denomination is prefixed with a "$".

Used in Unisys PMC machines

Plate number is centered at the bottom of the stamp.

Two types. Type 1: Scott CVP 32. American Bank Note printing released Feb 19, 1994 (no date at bottom, plate number prefix "A").
Type II: Scott CVP xxx. BEP version (year date 1996 at bottom of stamp & plate number with no letter prefix).

Description PS1 PS3 PS5 Cover
First Day Cover
Scott #CVP 32:#A11 .
V$19, 23, 29 7.00 7.50 8.00 10.00
Scott#CVP xxx: #11
V$20, 23, 32 5.75 6.25 6.75 7.50
V$ set of 6 38.25 41.25 44.25

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About Computer Vended Coils

What People Collect, Centering , Finding the Plate Number Cover prices , New Release Cost

How CVPs are collected
The first computer vended PNCs were placed on sale Aug 20, 1992. They have not been a huge success, but experimentation continues. The machines print a wide range of values (at first the machines would print denominations from 1 to $99.99). Collecting an example of each value would involve 9999 items, some of which would be quite expensive. Taking a lead from Frama collectors who encountered the same problem in Europe, US PNC collectors have generally narrowed the field to examples of three rates: postcard rate, first class rate, & the second oz rate current while the stamps were being vended. Some collectors add a 2 oz first class rate example to these strips.

A difficulty with current collecting practice is that it involves getting 3 or 4 strips each mono-valued (ie made up of 3 or 5 of the same denomination: 19-19-19-19-19 or 29-29-29-29-29). An alternative which is sensible, cuts cost, and preserves philatelic values, would be to collect multi-valued strips made up of the different denominations necessary to show the rates. Thus a current PS5 would have 3 denominations in it, with the 1st class postage rate in the center. It would be 20-23-32-23-20 as a PS5, and 20-32-23 as a PS3. It is possible to get the machines to make strips like this, but I don't know if it is possible to get collectors to adopt them.

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Grading criteria for CVP coils include one more aspect than coils with pre-printed denominations - and that is the centering of the denomination itself. Most PNCs are bought and sold in F-VF grade so I want to start by reviewing the centering standards on CVPs for F-VF stamps.

Perforations: If the perforations are so close to the design that you need to check to see if they touch, they are at best "Fine" and if they touch "Average". I would say also if they are close enough to the design that it makes the stamp appear badly out of center, the centering is "Fine."

Plate number:. Similarly if the plate number is cut by the edge of the stamp, the stamp is "Average". If the plate number is so close to the edge that you need to look closely, the stamp is at best "Fine".

Denomination: Collectors have paid relatively little attention to the placement of overprints, such as the precancel bars or words on the earlier PNCs. However those elements tended to be better centered than the CVP denominations. I don't know if anyone has given much thought to the CVP question either, but it seems to me that there ar certain minimum standards.

The denomination is printed over a pre-printed design of a kind of webbing with a frame on three sides of it: the right, left and bottom. The denomination should not touch this frame. It also should not touch the "USA" above it. If it does it is not better than "Fine."

Ideally the denomination should be centered in all four directions in the space below the USA. Such CVPs are rare and worth a considerable premium over the normal "XF" or "VF" premiums charged. I would suggest a double price for starters until the market price can be better established.

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Cover prices for CVP coils are for examples paying the correct postage and clearly dated within the period that the stamps were current. Note that stamps may be current for a short period after they are no longer available, while stocks are being used up. Frankly most CVP covers will be philatelic in nature - that is, created by collectors. Covers actually recovered from the mail stream and non-philatelic in nature should be worth considerably more. I don't know if they are, and in any case I am making informed guesses about values pending discovering some actual transactions.

First day cover values are almost completely independent of the values postal covers for the same issue and prices of either are not useful in determining the price of the other.

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Plate Number Placement
Almost all US Plate Number Coils are horizontal - that is they appear along side each other, not above and below. The plate numbers on gummed coils are bottom center. An exception is found among the CVPs. The plate numbers on these stamps are located on the left side, about 1/2 way up the stamp.

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CVP PNCs are more expensive relative to face value than their fixed denomination counterparts. This is caused by a combination of limited access and very slow production which make it quite time consuming to obtain these coils for philately. To get a substantial number of strips wholesalers usually must pay a premium to the person able to find a local machine who actually spends all day sticking coins in the machine.

To cut the costs of scrap collectors began by running off 1 stamps between the plate number strips. To increase revenue and decrease wear and tear on the machines the USPS eventually modified them so they would not print values less than the postcard rate. There has been a brisk market in the limited number of sets of PNCs created with face values 1-18 on the initial CPVs, and in the 19 value of the second vertical issue.

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Scrap is the term for the stamps which a PNC dealer must buy in the coil roll which are not part of the PS5's that the dealer will sell to his customers. Generally the scrap is sold by the dealer in large quantities for a discount off of face value. When the computer vending machines could be set to print 1 stamps between the PS5s the scrap cost was substantially reduced but the postal service didn't make much income despite the wear and tear on the machines.

Vending Machines for Computer Vended Postage
  1. ECA-GARD Postage and Mailing Center machines were originally in use in 5 test sites, according to the 1996 Scott catalog (p281): Southern Maryland, Miami, Oklahoma City, Detroit, and Santa Ana, California. That was in 1992. Internet messages stated that the last of them were removed from Washington DC in March, 1997. Subsequent reports came in of machines still in operation in other cities after this date..

  2. Unisys PMC Machines were used for the horizontal coils (Scott CVP 32). These came into use in Feb of 1994 at six test sites in Northern Virgina.

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    This page's address is It was last updated 24 May 1997.