METROPOSTCARD.COM GUIDE TO POSTCARD MAILING RATES
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A Guide to
U.S. Postal Rates


While a cancel on a postcard should provide it with definitive dating, at least to when it was sent, many postmarks are smudged well beyond readability. Before this system was automated in 1963 the rubber hand stamps these cards were cancelled with had rotating parts or interchangeable pieces so that the date could be changed on a daily basis. This routine proved tiresome for many postal employees who simply left out the date. At other times pieces of type were lost and never replaced. It was common for early postmasters not to bother including the year in the date, no doubt assuming that the customer knew what year it was. By knowing the relationship between postage rates and their dates of use, a time frame can be created for the issuance of a postcard. There are of course inherent problems with this method as postcards were sometimes mailed decades after publication. Another problem is that most postcards were published when the rate remained steady at one cent. Even so there are instances where this information can be helpful.

Rates highlighted in red indicate a drop in price.


POSTCARD MAILING RATES IN THE UNITED STATES

Before May 12, 1873

2 cents

Mailed cards same as letter rate.

May 12, 1873

1 cent

Rate only for pre-printed postals and advertising cards.

July 1, 1898

1 cent

Rate for private mailing cards and then post cards after 1901.

November 2, 1917

2 cents

Rate raised for temporary War Tax.

July 1, 1919

1 cent

War Tax ends.

April 25, 1925

2 cents

July 1, 1928

1 cent

Rate lowered due to public protest.

January 1, 1952

2 cents

August 1, 1959

3 cents

January 7, 1963

4 cents

January 7, 1968

5 cents

May 16, 1971

6 cents

Rates begin to be based on cost.

March 2, 1974

8 cents

September 14, 1975

7 cents

December 31, 1975

9 cents

May 29, 1978

10 cents

March 22, 1981

12 cents

November 1, 1981

13 cents

February 17, 1985

14 cents

April 3, 1988

15 cents

February 3, 1991

19 cents

June 1, 1995

20 cents

A surcharge was added to pre-printed postals on January 10, 1999.

July 1, 2001

21 cents

June 30, 2002

23 cents

January 8, 2006

24 cents

The Postal Regulatory Commission begins limiting rate increases by tying them to the Consumer Price Index.

May 14, 2007

26 cents

May 12, 2008

27 cents

May 11, 2009

28 cents

January 2, 2011

30 cents

January 22, 2012

32 cents

The USPS claims that rate increases are not keeping up with cost.

January 22, 2013

33 cents

January 26, 2014

34 cents

May 31, 2015

35 cents

April 10, 2016

34 cents

First decrease since 1975.



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