Michael Heller was our speaker for December, on the topic “U.S. Domestic Postal Rates, 1800-1850.” His talk encompassed a wide variety of stampless covers from many different states, focusing primarily on the various postal rate schedules in effect during the first half of the 19th century.
Michael first discussed the growth in post offices during the early 19th century and how changes in transportation impacted their growth and the speed of mail delivery. He then showed many examples of folded letters sent over varying distances and the postal rates based on the schedules then in effect.
Some of the highlights included the so-called “war rates” of 1815-1816, when postal rates were increased 50% to help offset the costs of the War of 1812. These examples were then followed by the relatively scarce “restored rate” covers mailed in April, 1816, whose rates were in effect for just one month!
As there was not enough time to complete the presentation (due to our earlier holiday gathering), Michael will return later next year with Part 2 of his talk.