Q:

What is the H-rate makeup stamp?

A:

The H-rate makeup stamp is a 1-cent stamp issued by the United States Postal Service. It was issued in 1998 due to a change in the postage rate that took effect in 1999.

In 1998, the USPS first-class letter rate was 32 cents, but it was scheduled to rise to 33 cents on Jan. 10, 1999. "Forever stamps" had not yet been created. The H-rate stamps were issued ahead of the postage increase to allow postal customers to continue to use the 32-cent stamps they had already purchased.

The stamp design featured the silhouette of a rooster standing on a weathervane with a bright yellow sun in the background and the words "The H-Rate make-up stamp" and "USA" across the top. The accompanying H stamp, issued in 1999, had a top hat with an American flag design set against a white background. The hat design was somewhat similar to the one worn by Uncle Sam in the iconic J.M. Flagg military recruitment posters, but with the red and white flag stripes decorating the top portion of the hat.

Similar 1-cent stamps have been issued due to postage increases throughout the history of the USPS. Some examples include such designs as a Tiffany lamp, an American Kestrel and images of Margaret Mitchell and Dorothea Dix.

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