First-Class Postage Rates Since 1845
Background

Prior to the middle of the 19th century, rates were based on the number of sheets in a letter and the distance it was traveling. In 1845, rates were based on the weight of a letter and the distance it was going. Beginning in 1863, domestic letter rates became "uniform," that is, they were based solely on weight, regardless of distance. The chart below lists postage in cents.

Effective Date
1/2 Ounce
March 3, 1863           3
March 3, 1883           2
                        Per Ounce
July 1, 1885            2
November 3, 1917 3
July 1, 1919 2
July 6, 1932 3
August 1, 1958 4
January 7, 1963 5
January 7, 1968 6
May 16, 1971 8
March 2, 1974 10
First Ounce Each Additional Ounce
September 14, 1975 10 9
December 31, 1975 13 11
May 29, 1978 15 13
March 22, 1981 18 17
November 1, 1981 20 17
February 17, 1985 22 17
April 3, 1988 25 20
February 3, 1991 29 23
January 1, 1995 32 23
January 10,1999         33 22
January 5, 2001 34 23
Effective Date Postal Cards
Postal Service Issued
Postcards
Privately Manufactured
May 1, 1873 1
July 1, 1898 1 1
November 3, 1917 2 2
July 1, 1919 1 1
April 15, 1925 1 2
July 1, 1928 1 1
January 1, 1952 2 2
August 1, 1958 3 3
January 7, 1963 4 4
January 7, 1968 5 5
May 16, 1971 6 6
March 2, 1974 8 8
September 14, 1975 7 7
December 31, 1975 9 9
May 29, 1978 10 10
March 22, 1981 12 12
November 1, 1981 13 13
February 17, 1985 14 14
April 3, 1988 15 15
February 3, 1991 19 19
January 1, 1995 20 20
January 10, 1999 20 20
January 7, 2001 20 20
July 7, 2001 21 21



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