Refresher Course

Nondenominated stamps have values too

By Jennifer York

None of the United States stamps pictured on this page bears a denomination. For most stamps, the denomination represents the postage value. This is usually indicated by numerals printed as part of the design of the stamp.

Sometimes U.S. stamps are printed without a denomination because the U.S. Postal Service does not know well enough in advance what value the stamps will have. When the Postal Service seeks an increase in domestic postal rates, it must wait for a review and recommendation from the Postal Rate Commission, an independent agency of the federal government.

Once a rate change plan is reviewed, the Postal Service may choose to put the new rate into effect very quickly. Therefore, 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.

The subjects of these stamps are usually generic so that they can be called into duty at any time. At times, however, the looming rate change has occurred near a holiday, so some nondenominated Christmas stamps and Love stamps (for Valentine's Day) have been issued.

Other nondenominated stamps include what are called "service-inscribed" stamps. These stamps have printed on them the specific mailing class that they fulfill, such as bulk rate, presorted or nonprofit.

The Breast Cancer Research semipostal is unique among nondenominated U.S. stamps. Issued July 29, 1998, it sold for 40¢, of which 32¢ covered the first-class letter rate in effect at the time. The additional 8¢ was used to fund government breast cancer research.

On Jan. 10, 1999, the first-class letter rate increased to 33¢. Breast Cancer Research semipostals continued to sell for 40¢ each after that date, but with 33¢ going toward postage and only 7¢ set aside for research.

A similar situation occurred when a rate increase implemented Jan. 7, 2001, made the first-class letter rate 34¢, thus reducing the surcharge on the semipostal to 6¢. While the price of the Breast Cancer Research semipostal has remained the same, the postal value has changed twice.

The chart below shows all the nondenominated U.S. regular postage stamps, and it provides the face values, Scott catalog numbers and issue dates for each.

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¢); and For U.S. addresses only F (29¢) and G (32¢).

There are also nondenominated U.S. 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 Eagle (10¢). There are two nondenominated Great Seal design Official envelopes: E-rate (25¢) and F-rate (29¢).

For nondenominated postal cards, the face values are John Hancock (10¢), Eagle (12¢), Robert Morris (13¢), Charles Carroll (14¢) and Old Glory G (20¢).

With the exception of the Breast Cancer Research semipostal, the postage values of nondenominated U.S. stamps and postal stationery items have not changed.



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, 1988

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

10¢
Scott 3447
Nov. 9, 2000

34¢
Scott 3448-50
Dec. 15, 2000

34¢
Scott 3451-53
Dec. 15, 2000

34¢
Scott 3454, 3458, 3465
Dec. 15, 2000

34¢
Scott 2455, 3459, 3464
Dec. 15, 2000

34¢
Scott 3456, 3460, 3462
Dec. 15, 2000
 
 
 
 

34¢
Scott 3457, 3461, 3463
Dec. 15, 2000

34¢
Scott 3496
Jan. 19, 2001

10¢
Scott 3520
June 29, 2001

15¢
Scott 3522
Aug. 3, 2001