Birth of the U.S. Post Office
By: Ed Siskin

Nov 12 , 2013

Ed Siskin spoke at our November 12 meeting on the “Birth of the U.S. Post Office.”  Ed has spoken to us on a number of occasions on Colonial Postal History and, as always, his presentation was both fascinating and informative.

Ed first discussed the events of 1774 and Goddard’s efforts toward developing an American post.  He illustrated an early Providence, RI letter (1775) and another letter authorizing an independent postal system in Massachusetts.  He then discussed various Ben Franklin free franks.

Ed described the changes in Continental currency and the use of Spanish milled dollars.  He then illustrated many different folded letters showing the impact of the continued depreciation of Continental currency during the Revolutionary war.  These letters showed many different rare postal rates, including the 20 times rate (1779) and the 40 times rate (1780).  He also showed letters sent a few years later, when the postal rates stabilized.

Other rare covers included: one from Trenton in 1782 (only known Confederation postmark from New Jersey); Baltimore, 1782 (earliest recording example of first American year-dated postmark); and one of the earliest covers mailed under the administration of the U.S. Post Office (June, 1792).