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New printer wins bid for 2003 federal duck stamp

Ashton Potter, a company in Buffalo, New York, has been chosen as the printer for the 2003-2004 Federal Duck Stamp. The outsourcing of the stamp printing has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars a year over the past two years that can better be used to purchase additional wetlands for the Refuge system.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving was the printer for the first 68 duck stamps, from 1934 to 2001, and did an outstanding job. They lost the contract for the 2002 stamp, which was awarded to Banknote Corporation of America.

The Banknote Corporation’s first issue has the dubious distinction of containing the least engraving of any of the 69 stamps issued since 1934.

The centering of the 2002 stamps is also of very poor quality compared to other recent duck stamps. Sam Houston Duck Co. has purchased over 70 panes of twenty so far, and after returning many to the Kansas City outlet for exchange, we were informed by the postal clerks “this is the best we have on hand.”

Hopefully, future low bidders will not mean reduced quality, regardless of who does the printing. The tradition of a top quality federal stamp should be maintained for the best waterfowl conservation program in the world. If you have an opinion either way, let the Duck Stamp Office hear from you. They have recently moved, so note their new address: Federal Duck Stamp Office, 4501 N. Fairfax Dr., Mail Stop MBSP-4070, Arlington, VA 22203. 703-358-2000, fax: 703-358-2009.

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