US Stamps

A question of dollars and cents

Oct 31, 2022, 9 AM
What possessed the mailer to overpay the then-current first-class letter rate of 4¢ by $3.96 on this cover?

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

The first-class letter rate was 4¢ when the cover shown here was mailed in the early 1960s within Providence, R.I. The sender running out of 1¢ stamps is only one of the possibilities for why four $1 Patrick Henry stamps (Scott 1052) were used to pay the postage.

Could it be that the sender saw only the prominent “1” on the stamp and missed the “$” sign? Or perhaps the sender was a recent arrival to the United States who hadn’t yet internalized the difference between the symbols for cents and dollars?

We’ll never know, but it does make for a nice cover for those of us who collect the Liberty issue of 1954-68.

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