Does anyone know why there are US stamps that are not "whole numbers"?

I ordered some batches of vintage stamps, so I would have some unique ones on hand when someone says on their profile that they like stamps. I don’t collect myself, but it was fun to sort out the latest batch by denomination (so I can find what I need a bit faster).

I found stamps with odd denominations: 2-1/2 (written that way with the fraction), 5.9 and 7.4 cents (written as decimals).

Can anyone who knows stamps tell me why we have those strange denominations?

These are probably the Transportation Coils, a series of stamps issued only in coils for bulk nonprofit. Nonprofit organizations receive a discount for postage, especially if they buy in bulk and precancel their mail, making it easier for the postal service to send.

Many of those denominations were unusual decimal rates, such as 16.7 or 24.1 cents, used by bulk mailers and other businesses who also used precancels. Decimal rates had previously appeared on some coils of the 1975 Americana series.

An informative YouTube video. Hope this helped.

that youtube video was very informative and answer some questions i thought about in the past. i knew the postage with decimal rate printed needed a permit to use. i have bought batches of “vintage” usa postage and some of these stamps would be included. if i wanted to use them for postage, was informed some time ago (well, many years ago) that i would need a permit, which i got from my local post office for free. i must send the postcard/letter from only from that post office if using this decimal (use that name but sure there is a name for these stamps) postage stamps as they will cancel it there to enter the postal world.

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I have some of these stamps, from my father’s estate. I’ve used them without any issues, just rounding down the value to the nearest whole number.

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Thanks for adding that. I was wondering if I could use them, rounding down like you said you did. I sometimes do a little “over-postage” when I am sharing with people who are fond of stamps, so I could do that, too, just to be sure.

I have some that are 1.25 cents, but I just pretend they’re 1-cent stamps. :smile: