Monday Morning Brief | Rate-change covers

Apr 28, 2021, 5 AM

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee relates his quest to obtain covers for the last day of the 47¢ rate, Jan. 21, and the first day of the 49¢ rate, Sunday, Jan. 22.

Full Video Transcript:

Greetings fellow stamp enthusiasts! Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for February 27.

A little more than a month ago, on Jan. 22 to be precise, the United States Postal Service raised the cost to mail a first-class letter from 47¢ to 49¢. Other rates, including Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, also increased that day.

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For the typical postal customer, who buys stamps solely for their intended purpose of getting mail delivered, this day came and went without much fanfare.

But for a postal historian such as myself, that rate change represented an opportunity to have some fun and acquire some interesting covers for my collection: namely mail postmarked January 21, the last day of the old rates, and January 22, the first day of the new rates.

There was, however, one obstacle standing in my way: January 22 was a Sunday, which meant most post offices would be closed. But I didn’t let that minor detail stop me.

Those of you who read my monthly Dollar-Sign Stamps column in Linn’s know that I have a particular fondness for the postal history of U.S. dollar-denominated stamps. So, the cover I mailed January 21, shown here, should come as no surprise.

It is an Express Mail cover documenting the last day of the $22.95 flat rate. I decided to jazz up the franking by using an intact Jenny Invert souvenir sheet and two $5 Waves of Color stamps to pay most of the postage. The postal validation imprint label at top right paid the balance of 95¢.

Acquiring a cover postmarked on Sunday, January 22, proved more challenging, but, as it turned out, not insurmountable.

In Troy, Ohio, where I live, there is a contract postal unit in the Meijer grocery and department store. As I found out, that CPU is open on Sunday.

To be certain that I would be able to obtain a clear January 22 postmark on a cover, I visited the Meijer CPU on Saturday, January 21, to explain to the clerk what I wanted to do. She was fine with my proposal, and the cover you see here is the result: A Northern Cardinal forever stamped envelope clearly postmarked January 22. The sprayed-on bar code at the bottom shows it went through the mail.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott catalogs, I’m Chad Snee. Have a great week enjoying our wonderful hobby. Cheers!