CLICK HERE for an illustrated table ofALL the non-denominated stamps the US has issued(there have been more than just the alphabet series).
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The "G" stamp was the latest when this was first written in the seriesof non-denominated US alphabet stamps issued to aid the transition to new postalrates in thiscountry - the USPS calls them "contingency stamps". None will win a designcompetition,but each has served its purpose well. We had A (1978) through H (1999). Athrough Dwere triumphs of ugliness,with nothing but the letter and an eagle, while E, a slight improvement,showed theEarth, F was a Flower, G was the flag(Old Glory), and H was Uncle Sam"sHat. Each paid the new first-class rate at the time it was issued (scroll down for table). Thelast three (F, G, H) were accompanied by Make-Up Rate stamps as well, to pay thedifference between the old rate and the new. The "F" Make-Up Rate stamp wasparticularly atrocious, with its bizarre text-only design. (All are illustratedbelow.)
"Patriotic and dignified" would describe these "A" covers.The "B" stamp - 18 cents - March, 1981
More fanciful, and beginning to place these rate changes in their historicalcontext,but still no open disapproval here.The "C" stamp - 20 cents - October, 1981
Surprising that these covers are not less mundane - this was the secondincrease in asingle year, and brought the total increase for that year to 1/3, from 15 to20 cents!The "D" stamp - 22 cents - 1985
Finally! A statement!The "E" stamp - 25 cents - 1988
By now the public had grown accustomed to an increase every three years, andthis onewas relatively small, as a percentage of the prior rate. I wonder if thatDodo cover hadanything to do with the decision to choose an image to represent the letter,so thatpeople did not make up their own?The "F" stamp - 29 cents - 1991
With the "F" stamp came the first of the makeup-rate stamps. Do you supposethey madeit so ridiculous to distract us from the increase itself?The "G" stamp - 32 cents - 1994
Apparently they couldn"t think of a good "G" word, and had to fall back on OldGlory,obviously another effort to diffuse criticism with an appeal to patriotism. Some cachet-makers chose to ignore or reinterpret the designated theme.The "H" stamp - 33 cents - 1999
So your challenge now is to think of all the words you can spell with justthe letters A through H. And congratulations to Ken and Al on a reallyclever FDC!Rate change stamps in other countriesHow do other countries handle rate changes? Do they issue alphabet stamps?Well,Canada got as far as an "A" stamp - every bit as ugly as ours - back in 1981,thenapparently decided they could plan ahead - no more since.
Great Britain issues non-denominated stamps that simply remain valid forever forwhatever class of postage is printed on them (e.g. 1st or 2nd).Below is a booklet pane of "1st" stamps from a recent Christmas issue.
Those are the only ones I know about right now (June, 2000).
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I suspect mostcountries just delayimplementing a new rate until they can print stamps with the correctdenomination. Ifyou know how other countries handle the situation, please email me at