Now "D" has taken its destined place in the limelight that "A," "B" and "C" had before it in the ranks of nondenominated stamps from the United States, and that leaves only 22 letters of the alphabet to go.

The Postal Service has just put out the store of "D" stamps and related postal stationery items that were produced in 1982 and then stored until the next change in postal rates.

The change goes into effect in two weeks, at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 17, when the cost of mailing a first-class letter will go up to 22 cents from 20 cents and increases will take place in other classes of mail.

The "D" stamp joins its "A" and "C" companions in representing a 2-cent jump; the "B" made a bigger leap to 3 cents. The nondenominated orange "A" stamp appeared at the beginning of 1978 when rates went from 13 cents to 15 cents. The violet "B" stamp appeared early in 1981 when rates climbed to 18 cents. It did not take long, to the fall of the same year, for the brown "C" stamp to make its appearance.

The nondenominated stamps may not be put on letters going abroad; they are for use only within the United States. Their use is prohibited on international mail, which, for technical postal reasons, must bear denominations.

Nondenominated official mail items for use by federal departments and agencies will also be issued, the Postal Service said, adding that details on these will be coming along later.

The 22-cent "D" stamps have been issued in post office panes of 100 and coils of 100, 500 and 3,000 stamps and $4.40 booklets containing two panes of 10 stamps each. A "D" embossed envelope selling for 27 cents -- 22 cents postage and 5 cents for the envelope -- has also been issued.

They were issued in Los Angeles without any first-day ceremonies.

Except for a new color -- green -- the "D" stamp is identical in design to its alphabetical predecessor. The "A" and "B" stamps differed in one respect; they did not have "Domestic Mail" across the top as a reminder that the nondenominated stamps could not be used on overseas letters.

Otherwise the design, created by Bradbury Thompson of Riverside, Conn., is the same for all four nondenominated issues. The dominant element is a stylized eagle with wings spread, facing left. The arc from the beak to the talons provides room for the letter. Across the bottom is "US Postage." All the lettering is in white.

The design of the new envelope is identical to the stamp design except that the eagle and the lettering are embossed in white against a green background.

The new stamps have companions in nondenominated postal cards in the Patriot Series that pay tribute to Charles Carroll, a Marylander, a member of the Continental Congress and a Catholic. The last fact had importance because he and his cousin, a Jesuit priest, served with Benjamin Franklin on a mission to swing Catholic Canada over to the side of the colonies. The mission was fruitless.

The design of the postal card features a portrait of Carroll in a circle flanked on the left side by the name and the designation "Patriot" on the right side. Below Carroll's likeness is "US Domestic Rate."

The card was put out at New Carrollton with no first-day ceremony.

Collectors of the first-day-of-issue cancellations will have an extra 30 days in addition to the usual 30-day grace period from the day of issue of the items, which was Feb. 1. As a result, the deadline for ordering is April 2. Orders must be postmarked by that date. The usual alternative ways of ordering prevail. The extension for placing orders was necessitated by the lateness of the announcement.

Collectors acquiring "D" stamps: Those acquiring the stamps at post offices and affixing them on envelopes, which must bear addresses, should send their covers to Customer-Affixed Envelopes, "D" Stamps, Postmaster, Los Angeles, Calif. 90052-9991. No remittance is required.

Postal Service affixing stamps: Collectors preferring complete processing by the USPS of orders for pane stamps, coil stamps or booklet panes should send their covers, with addresses, to "D" Stamps, Postmaster, Los Angeles, Calif. 90052-9992. Orders must indicate which stamps are to be affixed. Only full booklet panes of 10 stamps removed from booklets will be affixed and canceled at a cost of $2.20. For stamps, the cost is 22 cents for each to be affixed. Personal checks are accepted, cash is not welcomed, payment by postage stamps is rejected.

Embossed envelope and card: Collectors acquiring the stationery items, which must have return addresses, should send their orders to Customer-Provided Stationery, "D" Envelope, Postmaster, Los Angeles, Calif. 90052-9991 or Customer-Provided Stationery, Charles Carroll Postal Card, Postmaster, New Carrollton, Md. 20784-9991. Collectors wishing processing by the USPS should use the same addresses but end with 9992 instead of 9991. The No. 6 3/4-sized envelope will be provided unless the No. 10 is specifically requested. Both single and double reply cards are available, and orders should specify which. The price is 27 cents per envelope and 14 cents per post card, 28 cents per double reply card.

The following February dates in italics are the currently scheduled first days of issue by the United States, the United Nations and Canada. In the rush of higher-rate issues, the United States may be pouring out stamps with little advance notice.

United States -- 7: Sinclair Lewis, Sauk Centre, Minn.; 12: Alden Partridge, Northfield, Vt.; 25: Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Fredericksburg, Tex., all in Great Americans Series; date unspecified, Mary McLeod Bethune, commemorative in Black Heritage Series.

United Nations -- 1: Four for I.L.O.'s Turin Center.

Canada: 8 -- International Youth Year.