By Michael Baadke
There are several reasons why a stamp may be issued without a denomination printed upon it. For United States stamps, the reason often is that the U.S. Postal Service doesn't know well enough in advance the value the stamp will have.
The Postal Service claims it requires several months to create the design of a new stamp and then print the millions of stamps it has to have on hand to fulfill the needs of postal customers and stamp collectors.
When the Postal Service seeks an increase in domestic postal rates, it must wait for approval from the Postal Rate Commission, an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government.
Once a rate change plan is approved, the Postal Service may choose to put it into effect very quickly.
For that reason, it prints hundreds of millions of nondenominated stamps well in advance that it can sell at the new rate as soon as it goes into effect.
Most recently, the domestic letter rate in the United States increased by 1¢ on Jan. 10, 1999, from 32¢ to 33¢.
The Postal Service issued billions of stamps showing a representation of Uncle Sam's hat and marked with a large "H."
The H-rate Hat stamps were actually printed years earlier. When the rate change went into effect the stamp was assigned a value of 33¢ to fulfill the new letter rate.
Why is the stamp marked "H"?
It was the next letter in a sequence of nondenominated stamps that began with "A" stamps that had a value of 15¢.
The A-rate stamps were issued May 22, 1978. Postage rates increased from 13¢ to 15¢ one week later. Since then there have also been stamps issued marked with the letters B, C, D, E, F and G.
The chart on this page shows these and all other nondenominated U.S. regular postage stamps, and it provides the face values, Scott catalog numbers and issue dates for each.
A few of these stamps are available in varieties that have noticeable design differences but basically all resemble one another.
For example, the Eagle and Shield bulk-rate stamp shown at far left in the fourth row has been issued with the inscriptions "Bulk Rate USA," "USA Bulk Rate," and "USA Presorted Std." Regardless of the inscription, the stamp has a nominal value of 10¢.
Such stamps are often called "service inscribed" stamps because the stamp actually has printed upon it the specific mailing class that it fulfills, such as bulk rate, presorted first-class, or nonprofit.
Along with regular postage stamps, the United States has issued nondenominated Official stamps inscribed Postal Card Rate D (value 14¢), Domestic Letter Rate D (22¢), Domestic mail E (25¢), F (29¢) and G (32¢).
On occasion, the United States also has issued nondenominated stamped envelopes and postal cards. For envelopes the face values are A (15¢), B (18¢), C (20¢), D (22¢), Old Glory G (32¢), Nonprofit Sheep (5¢), and Bulk Rate Stylized Eagle (10¢).
The Official mail F-rate envelope has a value of 29¢.
For nondenominated U.S. postal cards, the face values are John Hancock (10¢), Purple Eagle (12¢), Robert Morris (13¢), Charles Carroll (14¢) and Old Glory G (20¢).
The postage values on nondenominated U.S. stamps and stationery items do not ever change, so items usually require additional postage if used for mailing.
July 30, 2015 08:04 PMIn the Editor’s Insights columns in the July 20 Linn’s Stamp News monthly and the Aug. 10 weekly Linn’s, I mentioned Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board without giving too much detail. Linn’s goal is to engage its audience both in print and online and to grow this audience. The role of the newly formed Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board is to assist us achieving these goals by keeping us focused on the needs of our audience and helping us adapt to today’s market. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 09:01 AMAs in previous years, Rarities Week, the series of sales conducted June 22-26 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, included several name sales as well as an assortment of notable items from around the world. The week kicked off with something of a do-over: a sizable assortment of better United States stamps and covers that had appeared in four previous sales, but whose winning bidder then failed to pay for them. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 04:35 PMThe Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade. Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamp-like mosaic. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 03:11 PMThe American Philatelic Society will host the nation’s largest annual stamp exhibition Aug. 20-23. The show will take place at the DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the largest souvenir card produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The card is one of three issued to honor the centenary of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke discusses Canada’s recently recalled $1.20 Dinosaur Provincial Park stamps featuring inaccurately described Hoodoo rock formations.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the discovery of another pane of the intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp.
Chad Snee discusses the recent sale of the glass locket containing the famed 1918 Jenny Invert airmail error stamp.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.