Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Private Mailing Cards

St Paul Private Mailing Card

This is not one of the prettiest cards in my collection--and it's even damaged--but it is one of only two Private Mailing Cards I have. In the United States, beginning in 1876, the Postal Service printed cards that could be sent through the mail at a rate of one cent. Any cards not printed by the USPS were charged the two cent letter rate.

As the idea of postcards became more popular and as mass printing became economically feasible, Congress authorized Private Mailing cards in 1898. The 1906 World Almanac and Encyclopedia outlines the regulations affecting these cards:


Because the Postal Service was fearful of losing business, they weren't too keen on making it easy for private companies to take away one of their revenue sources. However, in December 1901, the government relaxed the restrictions, allowing the use of the word "postcard" on pieces not provided by the USPS.

Until 1907, only the address could be printed on the back side of the card, whether they be private mailing cards or postcards. Any message had to appear on the front, around or over the image.

2 comments:

June said...

Interesting - nice to see such an old picture of out State Capital.

New follower from Swap-Bot.
June - mnifye

Christine H. said...

Oh, that's a great card. I also have very few private mailing cards. they are special treasures.

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