The country Dalgonia issues stamps of only ten different denominations: $134$, $135$, $136$, $137$, $138$, $139$, $140$, $141$, $142$, and $143$ cents. What is the largest amount of cents which cannot be made up with a combination of these stamps?

  • $\begingroup$ what stamps give 2016 as the answer? $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Jon Mark Perry: Since 2017 is prime, there is no interval of stamp values that gives 2016 as the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Gamow well, one could say that the stamps 2017,2018,...,4032,4033 have 2016 as an answer $\endgroup$
    – Ivo
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Ivo Beckers: Yes, you are right. (But this is a degenerate solution, and somewhat boring.) $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JonMarkPerry if I'm not mistaken 5,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021 is the smallest set of numbers that has 2016 as an answer $\endgroup$
    – Ivo
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


Answer = 2009

None of the numbers less than 134 can be obtained with this set of stamps.
All of the numbers in the range 134-143 can be obtained with a single stamp.
None of the numbers between 143 and 2 * 134 can be obtained with a combination of these stamps.
More generally, numbers that lie in the range between (n-1)143 and n(134) cannot be obtained.
Because the stamps are in increments of 1, every value between 134n and 143n can be obtained.

So we need to discover where 134 * n is less than or equal to 143 * (n-1)
Solving 134n = 143n - 143
Gives 143 = 9n
So , for who number values of n greater than 15, there is no number that exists between the highest number obtainable with a combination of n-1 stamps and the lowest number that can be obtained with n stamps. All values above this can be achieved. We need the highest number that exists in the gap below this, i.e. 15 * 134 -1
Answer = 2009


What your basically asking is

What is the Frobenius Number of these numbers: 134,135,136,137,138,139,140,141,142,143

Thankfully, Wolfram Alpha has a built-in function for that


So the answer is



I'm not sure if this even qualifies as a puzzle; it's more of a math problem. There's a simple formula given on Wikipedia for finding the Frobenius number for a given arithmetic sequence.

Frobenius number for AP

We can now substitute the values $a=134$, $d=1$ and $s=9$. Using it, we get the answer 2009 as already given by @IvoBeckers

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1. it's better than my answer because you actual use a formula. And I agree that the question might be off-topic $\endgroup$
    – Ivo
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ You can also solve this by using your brain. It is a puzzle for children of age 15, posed in the year 2009. $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 9:41

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