Starting in 1968, the USPOD (as it was called back then) started issuing commemorative mint sets. You got a little folder to hold the stamps and you got a small packet of commemorative stamps that were issued that year. The idea took hold and the USPS has been issuing commemorative mint sets ever since.
There is a problem though with some of the mint sets from the early 1980s. For a few years, the USPS would illustrate every stamp in the set. However, they didnít include actual stamps for every one that was illustrated. They included a letter in the set that told people that stamps were missing and if they wanted them, they could contact the Philatelic Sales Division (now called the Stamp Fulfillment Center) and buy them.
Of course, over the years, those letters were thrown away. When a dealer sells sets like these, the first response from the purchaser is, ďHey, there are missing stamps!Ē
For example, in 1983 the USPS created a Definitive mint set. They left out Scott #1909, the $9.35 Express Mail stamp. The picture is in the book though. They omitted the stamp to keep the price of the mint set affordable. If you bought this set and didnít know any different, you would think that the dealer is cheating you.
Also, in some years when a pane of 50 all different stamps came out, buyers think that the whole pane is in the mint set. Itís not. Usually, the USPS includes one stamp in the mint set as a representative from that pane. You donít get a full pane of 50 stamps. The USPS only provides a single stamp to keep the price of the mint set as low as possible.
I guess the USPS received enough complaints about this problem. By the latter 1980s, they switched to showing only those stamps that were included in the set. Now there were 100% of stamps to cover 100% of the spaces in the mint set. In some cases, some of the smaller format panes of stamps have been included too.
To combat this problem, Iíve now taken the approach to including this information when someone buys one of these mint sets from me.