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Franking is postage, or anything that allows the parcel to be sent. Technically a stanp is a frank. Franking has taken on several implementations since the early days. It's often called "free-franking". Some folks are exempt from having to use postage stamps, for example Congressmen, etc. Someone else (i.e. the taxpayer) picks up the tab. In the early days, an exempt person would simply sign his name where the stamp would go - hence a "free-frank". That's probably the meaning you've read, but again anything allowing the piece to be mailed, including a stamp, is technically a frank.