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Can a defect be a girl's best friend?

Previously reported was the release of the 20-stamp pane featuring actor Marilyn Monroe. The Monroe stamp is the first in a new "Legends of Hollywood" series honoring individuals "who embody the magic of motion pictures and who have received international fame for their contributions to the arts."

Now the Postal Service has announced that the initial shipment of Marilyn Monroe stamps to post offices may contain an imperfect perforation. Of the 20-million stamps panes printed, about 1.1-million stamp panes are missing one star perforation per pane of 20 stamps. Another 600,000 panes each contain one perforation that does not push all the way through the paper, creating what is called a "shadow" perforation.

The Postal Service says all the stamp panes with the imperfect perforations appear in the same two pane positions: The skipped perforation appears on one stamp in the lower left pane position; the "shadow" perforation appears on a single stamp on the center left pane position.

Stamp panes with or without perfect perforations are available for customer purchase. In addition to the individual stamps and the pane of 20, many other Monroe items are available at most post offices.

To receive an official first-day cancellation of the Monroe stamp, purchase the stamps at your local post office, affix the stamps to your own envelopes and place them in a larger envelope addressed to: Customer Affixed Stamps, Marilyn Monroe Commemorative Stamp, Postmaster, Universal City, CA 91608-9998. Requests for first-day cancellations must be made by July 1.

The Maldives

The Maldives, a former British protectorate in the Indian Ocean, has issued a sheetlet of 12 different stamps combining to form a unified design image on the theme of "Space Exploration."

Featured are Voyager 2, Sputnik, Apollo-Soyuz, the descent of the Apollo 10, the insignia of the Apollo 11 missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, RCA Lunar Camera, the Lunar Rover, Apollo 12 astronaut Jim Irwin, Apollo 12 Lunar Module and the Lunar soil extraction.

One souvenir sheet depicts Apollo 9 astronaut David Scott making experiments and the other sheet shows Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard Jr. waving a salute to viewers on planet Earth on Feb. 6, 1971.

The stamps of the Maldives are available at your local dealer.