CALL (800) 978-5333

Collecting Postage Due Stamps

Collecting Postage Due Stamps

Postage Due Stamps came about as a response to mail sent with insufficient postage. The extra postage due is indicated by a stamp added to an underpaid piece of mail indicating the amount of extra postage due.


The first Postage Due Stamp was issued by France in 1859. Many other nations followed, including the United States Post Office in 1879.  Postal regulations called for the postal clerk to affix a postage due stamp to an envelope in order to indicate insufficient postage and how much money the addressee had to pay to receive the mail.  Thus came into being the first series of Postage Due Stamps with denominations from 1-cent to 50-cents in 7 denominations.


Since postage due stamps are almost always used only within a single country, they are usually quite simple in design, mostly consisting of a large numeral, and an inscription saying “postage due”, “porto”, etc.; often there is no country name. As is the case with regular issue stamps, a variety of values may be needed to make up specific amounts.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) addressed the problem of underpaid foreign mail. The UPU decided that unpaid or insufficiently paid international letters should be marked with a “T” standing for the French word “Taxe,” and from April 1, 1879 the amount missing in centimes should also be indicated in black.

Some argue that postage due stamps are actually a label, as they have no value of their own. Labels have often been used to collect money for other purposes, such as magazine subscriptions. However, in the case of Postage Due Stamps, they are a Post Office issue and are related to the cost of sending letters and parcels through the mails. This certainly qualifies them as an item of interest to stamp collectors.
Actually there is no reason for mint postage dues to reach private hands as they have no use beyond the postal clerks assessing postage for mail received, and are of no value to postal patrons in paying the appropriate postage, but sold to collectors they were. In the case of a special printing of U.S. Postage Dues on soft porous paper, the combined catalog value for these 7 stamps is $86,000, and there are no catalog notes to indicate that they were ever used.


The number of special printing postage dues actually sold into the philatelic inventory is shrouded in mystery. In an article by William E. Mooz, on the 1c appearing in the Philatelic Chronicle No. 170, May 1996, Mr. Mooz offers evidence to support his theory that the actual number of true Special Printings sold was significantly lower than the reported figures. For example, the 1c (J9), Mr. Mooz estimates 500 sold, but suggest that as many as 400 purchased by G. B. Calman were destroyed to reduce the supply and increase the value of his remaining stock. Confusing the matter, it is widely accepted that nearly 9,000 1c stamps sold by the post office as Special Printings were actually regular issues (J1-J7).Printed by the American Bank Note Company, today the stamps have a catalog value of over $3000 in mint condition. Collected used the stamps value $340.00


The postage due stamp is not always affixed to individual letters. In instances of business mail, the total due might be summed, and the appropriate stamps added to the top letter in a bundle, or to a bundle’s wrapper. But most were affixed to individual letters and yet postal covers bearing valid postal-used postage due stamps tied together by a dated cancellation or other postal markings with a postage stamp on cover are somewhat rare and very few have survived on a wrapper.

Collecting postage due stamps of the United States is relatively simple and quit affordable (outside of J8-J14 as discussed above). The only tools needed are a perforation gauge and watermark fluid. Postage due issues have 5 basic designs as noted by the Scott catalog, with color, perforation and watermark characteristics to add variety, for a total of 104 issues and maybe 30 minor varieties denoting color shade differences.
Postage due stamps were used for just over 100 years. The last postage due stamps went to press in November 1985. Two changes brought about the demise of postage due stamps. The USPS required prepayment of postage in full. Thus, most mail was returned to sender for proper postage. And when mail was forwarded to the recipient, they moved to using rubber stamps and other auxiliary markings to track the postage due.
A second section of U.S. Postage Due Issues is the Parcel Post Postage Due Stamps of 1912. The parcel-post law authorized the Postmaster General, with the consent of the Interstate Commerce Commission, to issue special stamps for postage on Parcel Post Mail. Accompanying Parcel Post Postage Due Stamps were a logical accompaniment. What seemed like a good idea was not and in 1913 an ICC order allowed for regular postage to be used for parcels and the Parcel Post stamps were discontinued after the existing stock of stamps was exhausted.

For further exploration of the subject, following is an interesting reference:
A PDF article that includes a section of the Parcel Post Postage Dues
The problem of insufficient postage on letters not paying the correct fee had existed since the creation of regular postal systems, it was greatly heightened by the advent of postage stamps, that allowed customers to make their own decisions about the correct amount to pay, without the assistance of a knowledgeable postal clerk.
How postage due stamps can spice up a worldwide collection: Stamp Collecting Basics

Nature of America Stamp Series (USPS)

Nature of America, a highly successful stamp series of the United States Post Office, ran from 1999-2010 and includes 12 panes of 10 stamps each.  The series covers the wide range of natural environments found in the United States, starting with the Sonoran Desert pane (Scott #3293) and concluding with the Hawaiian Rain Forest pane (Scott #4474).


Makeshift Vending Machine Booklets

This is a story about the United States Postal Service being the good guys while doing a good job of responding to the needs of its customers.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers includes a section on Booklets: Panes & Covers and in that listing you will find a listing for MAKESHIFT VENDING MACHINE BOOKLETS.  While the editors of the Scott Catalog initially refused to include these “jury rigged” booklets, the booklets are now included with major Scott Catalog Numbers.


Exonumia: The Art of Casino Gaming Chip Collecting

Casino Gaming ChipsCollectors are discovering a relatively new and fast-growing hobby with the high-handed name of Exonumia. We call it simply casino chip collecting and some casino chips can represent substantial value.

As with most collectibles, the first question that seems to come up is that of value. What are my chips worth? The first thing to do is to distinguish between casino gaming chips and poker chips that are mass-produced and widely sold for private play. Only the former has value as a collectible.

Casino chips are most often made of clay composite, tend to be marked with the name of the casino, the city, state, and denomination. Casino gaming chips are treated like money at casinos and are often destroyed when removed from circulation. For these reasons, vintage chips won or bought at a casino are rare and highly collectible, particularly ones of higher denominations.

There are five basic factors to be considered when determining the value of a casino gaming chip:


Finding an Album for Your Champagne Cap Collection

Ah! The memories of a great bottle of champagne, and as a memento of the pleasantry, every bottle opened and savored leaves a collectable memento: the metal capsule that covers the cork. Champagne Caps usually feature bright colors, strong design, and the maker’s brand identity. They are not easily thrown away, accumulating in a drawer along with corkscrews, foil cutters, corks, or other wine paraphernalia.

Thus is born a collection out of the enjoyment of champagne that leads to the imbiber to becoming a ‘placomusophile’, a French term for “collector of champagne caps.”