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History of U.S. Postage Stamp Prices

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.


Postage listed below is in cents.

Domestic Letters
Effective Date Per 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
June 30, 2002 37 23
January 8, 2006 39 24
May 14, 2007 41 17
May 12, 2008 42 17
May 11, 2009 44 17
April 17, 2011 44 20
January 22, 2012 45  
 
Table from the U.S. Postal Service

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