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Economics Summaries
Postal Rates

U.S. Postal Rates
Historical Chart

Postage Stamps Cost
by Vaughn Aubuchon

Here is a table showing how the cost to mail a letter in the United States has grown over the years.

This chart lists every standard postage stamp increase for the past century. The cents-per-decade column has been added for clarity, to show the acceleration of postage stamp prices in recent decades.

30

100

60

30

80

80

30

US Postal Rates Over Time -
Historical Cost to Mail A Letter

Year
Postal Rate/
Postage Stamp
Denomination
Increase
in
Cents
Cents
Increase
per
Decade

One-half Ounce Rates

Up to 3,000 miles
per 1/2 oz.

1855
3 ¢

-

 -

Over  3,000 miles
per 1/2 oz.

1855
10 ¢

Drop letters

1855
1 ¢

All U.S.,
per 1/2 oz.

1863
3 ¢

One Ounce Rates

All U.S.,
per 1 oz.

1885
2 ¢
 -1

  -1¢

1890's

1900's

(W.W.1 Emergency increase)

1917

3 ¢
1

(restoration of
pre-war rate)

1919

2 ¢
-1
All U.S.,
1st oz.
1920's

1932

3 ¢
1
1940's

1958

4 ¢
1
1963
5 ¢
1
 2¢
1968
6 ¢
1

1971

8 ¢
2
 

1974

10 ¢
2

1975

13 ¢
3

1978

15 ¢
2
1981
18 ¢
3
 10¢
1981
20 ¢
2
1985
22 ¢
2
1988
25 ¢
3

1991

29 ¢
4
 

1995

32 ¢
3

1999

33 ¢
1
All U.S.,
1st oz.

Jan. 7, 2001

34 ¢
Add. oz = 21¢
Post card = 20¢
1
11¢

Jul. 1, 2001

34 ¢
Add. oz = 23¢
Post card = 21¢
0

Jun. 30, 2002

37¢
Add. oz = 23¢
Post card = 23¢
3

Jan. 7, 2006

39¢
Add. oz = 24¢
Post card = 24¢
2

May 14, 2007

41¢
Add. oz = 17¢
Post card = 26¢
2

May 12, 2008

42¢
Add. oz = 17¢
Post card = 27¢
1

May 11, 2009

44¢
Add. oz = 17¢
Post card = 28¢
2
All U.S.,
1st oz.

Jan. 1, 2011

Priority and Express Mail Rates Increased
-

Apr. 17, 2011

44¢
Add. oz = 20¢
Post card = 29¢
Current
Rates

Jan. 22, 2012

45¢
Add. oz = 20¢
Post card = 32¢
1

Jan. 27, 2013

46¢
Add. oz = 20¢
Post card = 33¢
1

Jan. 26, 2014

49¢
Add. oz = 21¢
Post card = 34¢
3

The "forever stamp" went on sale on April 12, 2007, at 41 cents each. These stamps can be used forever, and will still be good to mail a first-class letter in the future, even though the rates go up.

You can still buy "forever stamps", but they will now cost you 49 cents each, after Jan. 26, 2014.

There you have it.

130 - 450

100

120

50

50


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This Vaughns U.S. Postal Rates History Chart
was last updated on 2014-04-10.