Colonial Postal History
By: Ed Siskin

Mar 13 , 2012

Our speaker for March was Ed Siskin, who gave us a fascinating lecture (as always) on Colonial postal history.  Ed came prepared with a PowerPoint presentation that covered postal history from the 1600s to 1792, although his focus that evening was on the period from the Act of Queen Anne of 1711 through 1775.

While the Act of 1711 gave the British Post Office responsibility for all colonial post offices, the mails remained sparse and unreliable for many decades thereafter.  The cost of postage remained very high and there were very few post offices throughout the colonies.

Some of the early covers shown included: earliest letter from Rhode Island; earliest recorded cover from Delaware; and several covers showing postal rates that reflected the continued devaluation of Old Tenor paper currency during the 1740s and 1750s.

Other highlights included: examples of covers showing carrier rates; latest recorded cover reflecting Old Tenor rates; covers marked “Free B. Franklin” and “B. Free Franklin”; a cover announcing the Act of King George III of 1765; and covers reflecting the Constitutional Post, Subscription Post, Parliamentary Post and the Congressional Post.