The Semi-Postal program was created in 1997 when Congress directed the USPS to issue a stamp to benefit Breast Cancer Research. Originally the eight cent surcharge was for cancer research. After the January 10, 1999 first class postage rate increase, the stamp was valued at 40 cents (33c stamp with a seven cent surcharge). After the January 7, 2000 increase, the rate became a 34 cent stamp with a six cent surcharge. On March 23, 2002 the stamp was sold for 45 cents with a postal value of 34 cents. When the postal rate increased on June 30, 2002, the postal rate rose to 37 cents. On January 8, 2006 the postal rate rose to 39c and on May 14, 2007 the postal rate rose to 41 cents and the stamp sold for 55 cents.
The Breast Cancer Research stamp was reissued as (B5) in 2014 and is still current.
The latest (55 cent + 10 cent) Semi-Postal stamp (B7) was issued on December 2, 2019 to raise money to study Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Complete Booklets (BK and BKC)
As a matter of convenience for the postal customer, stamps were produced in small booklet panes of three to ten stamps. These panes were combined into booklets which included from one to five panes. They were stapled or glued and covered by protective card stock. Complete booklets differ from convertible booklets as extra card stock was used to protect the individual panes. Booklets were discontinued in 2013 with the Harry Potter Stamps (BK307).
Air Mail (C)
Fifteen years after the first powered flight in 1903, the Post Office was tasked with standardizing Air Mail practices. The airmail system was developed in three stages — the pioneer period, government flights and contract airmail which began February 15, 1926. As a result there are series of stamps depicting everything from aircraft to pioneers in flight to various historical events over the 92 years of their use.
The US Air Mail stamps were discontinued in 1993, but the C Prefix continues on as International Rate with the last series (1999 to 2012) depicting American Natural Wonders.
Air Mail Special Delivery (CE)
This depression era series of two stamps was issued to prepay the air mail special delivery fee with a single stamp.
The central design was the Great Seal of the United States and is rumored to have been designed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Special Delivery (E)
These stamps were used to pay the additional service fees for letters and packages that required immediate delivery. Special Delivery service was officially ended in 2001 after 115 years of operation.
This one series stamp was issued in 1911 to pre-pay a letter’s registration fee of 10 cents. It was retired in 1913 as any stamp could be used to pay the registration fee rendering this stamp unnecessary.
Certified Mail (FA)
Another one series stamp was first issued in 1955 for proof of delivery of first class mail for which no indemnity value was claimed.
Postage Due (J)
Postage Due Stamps owe their existence (1879) to the local postmaster not reporting but collecting unpaid postage. By law, Postage Due Stamps were to be affixed by postal clerks to any piece of mail to denote the amount collected because of insufficient prepayment of postage. This series of stamps were discontinued in 1985 as automation kept underpaid items from entering the mail stream.
Stamps of the then current 1917-1919 Washington-Franklin series were surcharged the double rate value for use in Shanghai. These stamps were intended to be used on mail from Shanghai to addresses in the US. They were sold in Shanghai and at the Postal Agency in Washington DC.
Official stamps were first issued in 1873 to eliminate fraud through the misuse of the franking privilege by government department personel. These stamps were issued by department until 1911 then were discontinued with the introduction of penalty mail envelopes. Official stamps were reintroduced in 1983 on a government wide basis. The last stamp issued in the modern series was a 1 cent make up rate stamp in 2009.
Parcel Post (Q)
This series of twelve stamps was issued in 1912 to pre-pay Fourth Class package mail. Fourth Class mail was renamed Parcel Post effective January 1, 1913, hence the name of this series.
Parcel Post Postage Due (JQ)
This series of five stamps was issued in 1913 to pay Postage Due on Parcel Post mail.
Special Handling (QE)
This series of four stamps was issued in 1925 for use on Fourth Class mail which secured expedited handling of this class of mail.
Postal Insurance (QI)
The Postal Insurance series consisted of five booklets (QI1-QI5.)
These Vending Booklets of one stamp each were issued to pay insurance on parcels for loss or damage. The booklet also contained instructions for use and a receipt form if a claim was needed.
Hunting Permit (Duck Stamps) (RW)
The Federal Duck Stamp, formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is a stamp that must be purchased prior to hunting for migratory waterfowl. It is also used to gain entrance to National Wildlife Refuges that normally charge for admission. The stamp was authorized March 16, 1934 to license hunters as a means to raise funds for wetland conservation. 98% of the proceeds goes to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Sales to collectors were made legal on June 15, 1934 just prior to the issue of RW2.
Junior Duck Stamps (JDS)
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp is an American art competition sponsored by the United States government for students to draw or paint a duck realistically. The national winner’s design is used to create a non-postal stamp which is sold to raise funds for environmental education.
This series began in 1989 with a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). It was recognized by the United States Congress in 1994 when the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program Act was enacted.
Each year, Junior Duck Stamp State Coordinators in all 50 U.S. states, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands help to bring the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program to more than 28,000 students. To honor the most dedicated coordinators, the Junior Duck Stamp Program developed the Green Ribbon Award for State Coordinator of the Year.