Now That's Interesting by Neal Danielson

Souvenir of passing events -- The Answer

The Domestic Letter Rate First Day Cover presented in the August 2004 issue of the Newsletter, page 3, begged several questions. Not knowing the answer to a couple questions relating to the Event Cover, the Editor asked if anyone out there could shed some light on the cover.

The Event Cover in Question as Shown in the August 2004 Issue

No one came forth with an answer, so from past experience with such questions in the Newsletter, an answer was requested from the USPS Historian, Megaera Ausman, at the L'Enfont Plaza, Washington, DC. The following response was received.

Your questions about your Wichita cover led me to the Postal Bulletin and the Statutes at Large to find the answers.

You wanted to know the Special Delivery rate on July 6, 1932. It was 10 cents, although your cover shows 12 cents in postage stamps added to the stamped envelope. The 1924 Postal Laws and Regulations were in effect on July 6, 1932-the 1932 Postal Laws and Regulations went into effect later that year-and I have enclosed page 343 from the 1924 book that lists, in Section 831, the special delivery rate. The same section requires the words "Special delivery" to be plainly written directly under, but not on, the stamps, as shown on your cover.

You also asked about the cover's notation that "The increase in first class postage effective today extends to July 1st, 1934" and whether a Postal Bulletin indicated the rate increase was for a short time. This language could have been taken from The Postal Bulletin, No. 15928, dated June 9, 1932, or directly from legislative language. Please see Section 1001(b) of the Statutes at Large, June 6, 1932. I have enclosed subsequent language in the Statutes that kept temporarily extending the rate until an Act of June 30, 1947, established permanent rates, including the existing 3-cent rate for First Class Mail. I am enclosing copies of these pages as well

The Postal Bulletin, No. 15928, Sec. 384 On and after the thirtieth day after the date of the enactment of this act and until July 1, 1934, the rate of postage on all mail matter of the first class---shall be 1 cent for each ounce or fraction thereof in addition to the rate provided by existing law. (Act of June 6, 1932, sec. 1001.) [the existing postal rate was 2 cents]. (2) Upon all matter of the first class…postage shall be charged…at the rate of 3 cents for each ounce or fraction thereof; and drop letters shall be mailed at the rate of 3 cents per ounce or fraction thereof, including delivery at letter-carrier offices, and 1 cent for each ounce or fraction thereof where free delivery by carrier is not established. (39 U.S.C., 280; Act of June 6, 1932, sec. 1001.) Each of the laws in subsequent years referred to Sec. 1001 and kept it at the 3 cent rate, but in 1947 the laws changed to permanently make it 3 cents so they did not have to keep changing the law to reflect the 3 cent rate. The postal rate finally change in 1958 to 4 cents. The Answer!!

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Poested November 7, 2004 RR