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.
blogEleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds share ideas …,” and Linn’s is fortunate to have thoughtful leaders of the stamp hobby on its Editorial Advisory Board. Board members participated in a lively discussion of “The State of the Stamp Hobby” Aug. 21 at the American Philatelic Society Stampshow in Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
August 19, 2015 01:58 PMIn an unusual development for our hobby, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service is blogging about stamp collecting. Read More ›
August 17, 2015 12:19 AMFrom 1967 to 2006, Royal Mail (Great Britain’s post office) advertised all new issues with posters displayed in post offices. Most of these posters had pictures of the stamps along with basic information such as the date of issue, instructions for first-day covers, etc. Some were a little more elaborate. Read More ›
August 14, 2015 09:46 AMWill the United States Postal Service issue a Christmas stamp this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic television musical special A Charlie Brown Christmas? Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
Watch as Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty discusses the hiring of a new executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the new Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board and the upcoming APS Stampshow.
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.