Monday, August 20, 2012

To Mail a Letter in 1847 Could Cost a Day's Pay

According to Gerald Tebben writing on Ohio's Columbus Dispatch website, "Things got sticky in Columbus in August 1847 when city Postmaster Samuel Medary received the first batch of federally issued postage stamps. Unlike the rubber stamps he had been using to mark postage on letters, the new stamps were pieces of paper backed with lick-and-stick adhesive."

Tebben goes on to say, "The 5- and 10-cent stamps were used to prepay postage. The light brown, 5-cent stamp, which pictured Benjamin Franklin, would carry a letter weighing up to a half-ounce for up to 300 miles. The black 10-cent stamp, which pictured George Washington, was good for greater distances."

"At a time when the laborers digging Ohio’s canals were paid just $5 a month, that postage could rival a day’s wages," Tebben points out.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM