The Tuesday Post: Non-denominated stamps

I’m a stamp collector.  I haven’t been a stamp collector for long – only about 3 years.  It all started when I was at a thrift store hunting for cashmere for my other business.  I happened to be in the office supply aisle and I saw a Scott’s Minuteman binder – complete with pages up to 1992 and several stamps – for $5.99.

Both my mom and my father-in-law have been stamp collectors since the dawn of pre-history, so I knew this binder had value.  I brought it home and showed my husband first.  He told me that he used to have one just like it when he was a kid.  I then bragged to my mom and father-in-law.  My mom is the type of stamp collector that cuts the stamp off the envelope and throws it in a box.  None of her stamps are organized, and they almost all have the postmark attached.  To her, this was just alot of stamps that could be added to the box (and the binder disposed of).  My father-in-law has ALL of his stamps in albums, organized by Scott’s number.  He is very particular and purchases a new Scott’s catalog every year to keep his collection up-to-date.  To him, this was treasure!  The next time I saw him, he brought me my husbands childhood collection, still in the album.

I’ve spent the last 3 years, on and off, combining the two collections, and sorting misc. stamps that I have gotten through trades and estate sales.  For the most part the album is sorted chronologically, which mostly means by denomination.  One way that I use to find the Scott’s number on the stamp is to go by denomination – it at least usually places within a year or two of when the stamp was published and I flip through the catalog to find the photo of the stamp.  However, there are those stamps that were sold when postage increased and the stamps with the new denomination weren’t available yet, as well as a short period in the 1990’s where the denomination wasn’t printed on the stamp.  I have learned that these are non-denominational stamps.

Postcardy has a handy little chart for denominations for the lettered stamps, and pointed me to this link for the USPS website that has all the non-denomination stamps (including bulk mail and that odd period in the 1990’s).

BTW – my two favorite online stamp catalogs are Mystic Stamp and Arago (from the National Postal Museum).  Both are fully searchable.

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