Unlike agencies of the Imperial government, agencies of the individual German states were not exempt from postage. Two of the states, Prussia and Baden, entered into franking contracts (Baden on 1 June 1885 under contract Nr. 16 and Prussia on 1 April 1894 under contract Nr. 21) under which all postage amounts were replaced by a lump-sum payment. In order to track the franking usage of these agencies, official counting stamps were issued.
In 1903, this set of official counting stamps was issued for use in Prussia. The text is “Frei durch Ablösung Nr. 21” (“Free by means of franking privilege Nr. 21”). The frame of the stamps is that of the Germania series.