Refresher Course

Even nondenominated stamps have a value

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 33¢ H-rate stamp.
 
The 10¢ Bulk Rate Eagle and Shield stamp.

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.

Nondenominated U.S. Regular Postage Stamps

10¢
Scott 1579
Oct. 14, 1975

10¢
Scott 1580
Oct. 14, 1975

15¢
Scott 1735-36, 1743
May 22, 1978


18¢
Scott 1818-20
March 15, 1981


20¢
Scott 1946-48
Oct. 11, 1981


20¢
Scott 1939
Oct. 28, 1981


20¢
Scott 1940
Oct. 28, 1981


22¢
Scott 2111-13
Feb. 1, 1985

25¢
Scott 2277, 2279, 2282
March 22, 1978


29¢
Scott 2517-20
Jan. 22, 1991



Scott 2521
Jan. 22, 1991


29¢
Scott 2522
Jan. 22, 1991

29¢
Scott 2578
Oct. 17, 1991


29¢
Scott 2579-81
Oct. 17, 1991


29¢
Scott 2582
Oct. 17, 1991


29¢
Scott 2583
Oct. 17, 1991


29¢
Scott 2584
Oct. 17, 1991


29¢
Scott 2585
Oct. 17, 1991

10¢
Scott 2602-04, 2907, 3270-71
1991, 1993, 1996, 1998




Scott 2877-78
Dec. 13, 1994


20¢ yellow background
Scott 2879-80
Dec. 13, 1994

32¢ white background
Scott 2881-87, 2889-92
Dec. 13, 1994


25¢ blue background
Scott 2888
Dec. 13, 1994


5¢ green background
Scott 2893
1995


Scott 2902, 2902B
March 10, 1995; 1996

10¢
Scott 2905-06
March 10, 1995; 1996

15¢
Scott 2908-10
March 17, 1995; 1996

25¢
Scott 2911-12B, 3132
March 17, 1995; 1996; 1997

32¢
Scott 2948-49
Feb. 1, 1995


Scott 2903-04B
March 16, 1996; 1997


Scott 3207, 3207A
June 5, 1998; Dec. 14, 1998

25¢
Scott 3208, 3208A
June 5, 1998; Sept. 30, 1998

33¢
(postage value)
Scott B1
July 29, 1998


10¢
Scott 3228-29
Aug. 14, 1998



Scott 3257-58
Nov. 9, 1998

33¢
Scott 3260, 3264-69
Nov. 9, 1998