Sending Mail  in Vermont (1851 rate period)

The Postal Act of March 3, 1851 reduced the basic postage rate in the United State to 3c prepaid (under 3000 miles destination) and 6c prepaid (over 3000 miles destination) and correspondingly to 5c (under 3000 miles) AND 10c (over 3000 miles) on unpaid letters.  This reduction became effective July 1, 1851.

From 1847 to 1851 only 4.4million postage stamps had been produced. In the next 10 Years 1 billion 3c stamps were printed and used. The reduction in rates of 40% accelerated the public's use of the postal system.

This presentation shows how Vermont post offices responded to the new postal rates.  Until 1855 customers did not need to send their letter prepaid.  And since some post offices did not receive the new 3c stamps at first, prepayent was noted by the postal clerk on the letter.  Other post offices had such little business they did not have date stamps and needed to add the sending information by manuscript. 

Here are a few of the ways that Post Offices dealt with the new 3c pre-paid rates:

•No Stamps, No handcancels  (stampless covers)

•Handcancel town name, but no stamps

•Stamps, but no handcancels h

•Town name handcancel, manuscript killers a

•Town name handcancel, PAID 3 in a circle g

•Town name handcancel, more PAID 3 in a circle f

•Town name handcancel, PAID 3 in an arc e

•Town name handcancel used to cancel stamps d

•Other Type of PAID 3 handcancels c

•Unusual Usages b

page created January 6, 2021

page updated January 6, 2021