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Letter Rates 1875-1975

Introduction


1951 - 2d Empire letter rate to St Helena, part of a bulk mailing paid in cash with
Paid machine mark, also with 4d Paid handstamp for worldwide letter rate in error
A standard rate of 2d per oz was introduced upon the formation of the General (later Universal) Postal Union on 1st July 1875, although initially this applied only to member countries and non-UPU rates varied. (A treatment of these is on the "to-do" list.)

Eventually most destinations were covered by UPU treaties, and it was simpler to have one standard rate. From 1st October 1891 a uniform rate of 2d per oz applied except to Transvaal, Orange Free State, British Bechuanaland, and "other more remote places in the Interior of Africa served by way of the Cape Colony or Natal". From 1st July 1892 the 2d rate applied worldwide.

This uniform structure lasted only six years until "Imperial Penny Postage" was introduced -- concessionary rates to places in the British Empire or Commonwealth and some associated territories. From 1st October 1908 to 30th September 1957, under "Transatlantic Penny Postage", the USA also qualified for these reduced rates. (In the table below, where one set of rates changed and the other did not, the unchanged rates are shown in grey.)

From 1937 the service to Empire destinations began to be offered on an "all-up" basis -- i.e. mail was sent by air at surface rates where possible. This ceased upon the outbreak of World War 2. However, from 1st July 1948 mail to European destinations was likewise generally on an "all-up" basis at the rates below.

The Empire concession ceased on 17th March 1975 and thereafter there was a single surface rate worldwide.

Rates

Date Foreign Empire Date Foreign Empire
1875
(1 Jul)
2d - oz
5d - 1oz
7d - 1oz
10d - 2oz
1s 0d - 2oz
1s 3d - 3oz
1s 5d - 3oz
1s 8d - 4oz
1s 10d - 4oz
2s 1d - 5oz
2s 3d - 5oz
2s 6d - 6oz

Each additional oz - 2d

Initially applied to Postal Union member countries only, later changes as explained above
not applicable 1898
(25 Dec)
2d - oz
5d - 1oz
7d - 1oz
10d - 2oz
1s 0d - 2oz
1s 3d - 3oz
1s 5d - 3oz
1s 8d - 4oz
1s 10d - 4oz
2s 1d - 5oz
2s 3d - 5oz
2s 6d - 6oz

Each additional oz - 2d
1d - oz
2d - 1oz
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 3oz
8d - 4oz
9d - 4oz
10d - 5oz
11d - 5oz
1s - 6oz

Each additional oz - 1d
1907
(1 Oct)
2d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
8d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
11d - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 2d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 5d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1d - oz
2d - 1oz
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 3oz
8d - 4oz
9d - 4oz
10d - 5oz
11d - 5oz
1s - 6oz

Each additional oz - 1d
1918
(3 Jun)
2d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
8d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
11d - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 2d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 5d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1d - 1oz
2d - 2oz
3d - 3oz
4d - 4oz
5d - 5oz
6d - 6oz
7d - 7oz
8d - 8oz
9d - 9oz
10d - 10oz
11d - 11oz
1s 0d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1920
(1 Jun)
2d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
8d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
11d - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 2d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 5d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
2d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
4d - 3oz
5d - 4oz
6d - 5oz
7d - 6oz
8d - 7oz
9d - 8oz
10d - 9oz
11d - 10oz
1s - 11oz
1s 1d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1921
(13 Jun)
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
9d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
1s - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 3d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 6d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
2d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
5d - 3oz
6d - 4oz
8d - 5oz
9d - 6oz
11d - 7oz
1s 0d - 8oz
1s 2d - 9oz
1s 3d - 10oz
1s 5d - 11oz
1s 6d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1922
(29 May)
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
9d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
1s - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 3d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 6d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
4d - 3oz
6d - 4oz
7d - 5oz
9d - 6oz
10d - 7oz
1s - 8oz
1s 1d - 9oz
1s 3d - 10oz
1s 4d - 11oz
1s 6d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1923
(14 May)
2d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
5d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
8d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
11d - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 2d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 5d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1d - 1oz
2d - 2oz
3d - 3oz
4d - 4oz
5d - 5oz
6d - 6oz
7d - 7oz
8d - 8oz
9d - 9oz
10d - 10oz
11d - 11oz
1s 0d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1940
(1 May)
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
9d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
1s - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 3d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 6d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
2d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
4d - 3oz
5d - 4oz
6d - 5oz
7d - 6oz
8d - 7oz
9d - 8oz
10d - 9oz
11d - 10oz
1s 0d - 11oz
1s 1d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1948
(1 Jul)
3d - 1oz
5d - 2oz
7d - 3oz
9d - 4oz
11d - 5oz
1s 1d - 6oz
1s 3d - 7oz
1s 5d - 8oz
1s 7d - 9oz
1s 9d - 10oz
1s 11d - 11oz
2s 1d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 2d
2d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
4d - 3oz
5d - 4oz
6d - 5oz
7d - 6oz
8d - 7oz
9d - 8oz
10d - 9oz
11d - 10oz
1s 0d - 11oz
1s 1d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1950
(1 Oct)
4d - 1oz
6d - 2oz
9d - 3oz
11d - 4oz
1s 2d - 5oz
1s 4d - 6oz
1s 7d - 7oz
1s 9d - 8oz
2s - 9oz
2s 2d - 10oz
2s 5d - 11oz
2s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 2d
2d - 1oz
3d - 2oz
4d - 3oz
5d - 4oz
6d - 5oz
7d - 6oz
8d - 7oz
9d - 8oz
10d - 9oz
11d - 10oz
1s 0d - 11oz
1s 1d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1957
(1 Oct)
6d - 1oz
10d - 2oz
1s 2d - 3oz
1s 6d - 4oz
1s 10d - 5oz
2s 2d - 6oz
2s 6d - 7oz
2s 10d - 8oz
3s 2d - 9oz
3s 6d - 10oz
3s 10d - 11oz
4s 2d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 4d
3d - 1oz
4d - 2oz
6d - 3oz
7d - 4oz
9d - 5oz
10d - 6oz
1s - 7oz
1s 1d - 8oz
1s 3d - 9oz
1s 4d - 10oz
1s 6d - 11oz
1s 7d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1965
(17 May)
6d - 1oz
10d - 2oz
1s 2d - 3oz
1s 6d - 4oz
1s 10d - 5oz
2s 2d - 6oz
2s 6d - 7oz
2s 10d - 8oz
3s 2d - 9oz
3s 6d - 10oz
3s 10d - 11oz
4s 2d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 4d
4d - 1oz
5d - 2oz
7d - 3oz
8d - 4oz
10d - 5oz
11d - 6oz
1s 1d - 7oz
1s 2d - 8oz
1s 4d - 9oz
1s 5d - 10oz
1s 7d - 11oz
1s 8d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1966
(3 Oct)
9d - 1oz
1s 2d - 2oz
1s 7d - 3oz
2s - 4oz
2s 5d - 5oz
2s 10d - 6oz
3s 3d - 7oz
3s 8d - 8oz
4s 1d - 9oz
4s 6d - 10oz
4s 11d - 11oz
5s 4d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 5d
4d - 1oz
5d - 2oz
7d - 3oz
8d - 4oz
10d - 5oz
11d - 6oz
1s 1d - 7oz
1s 2d - 8oz
1s 4d - 9oz
1s 5d - 10oz
1s 7d - 11oz
1s 8d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1d
1968
(16 Sep)
9d - 1oz
1s 2d - 2oz
1s 7d - 3oz
2s - 4oz
2s 5d - 5oz
2s 10d - 6oz
3s 3d - 7oz
3s 8d - 8oz
4s 1d - 9oz
4s 6d - 10oz
4s 11d - 11oz
5s 4d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 5d
5d - 1oz
7d - 2oz
9d - 3oz
11d - 4oz
1s 1d - 5oz
1s 3d - 6oz
1s 5d - 7oz
1s 7d - 8oz
1s 9d - 9oz
1s 11d - 10oz
2s 1d - 11oz
2s 3d - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 2d
1971
(15 Feb)
4p - 1oz
6p - 2oz
8p - 3oz
10p - 4oz
12p - 5oz
14p - 6oz
16p - 7oz
18p - 8oz
20p - 9oz
22p - 10oz
24p - 11oz
26p - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 2p
2p - 1oz
3p - 2oz
4p - 3oz
5p - 4oz
6p - 5oz
7p - 6oz
8p - 7oz
9p - 8oz
10p - 9oz
11p - 10oz
12p - 11oz
13p - 12oz

Each additional 1oz - 1p

2p basic Empire rate -- a conversion from previous 5d rate -- actually less than new second class inland rate
1971
(1 Jul)
5p - 1oz
9p - 2oz
12p - 4oz
30p - 8oz
50p - 1lb
80p - 2lb
1.30 - 4lb
3p - 1oz
5p - 2oz
7p - 4oz
10p - 8oz
20p - 1lb
35p - 2lb
70p - 4lb
1973
(10 Sep)
5p - 1oz
11p - 2oz
15p - 4oz
30p - 8oz
55p - 1lb
90p - 2lb
1.50 - 4lb
3p - 1oz
7p - 2oz
12p - 4oz
20p - 8oz
35p - 1lb
60p - 2lb
1.00 - 4lb
1974
(24 Jun)
5p - 1oz
11p - 2oz
15p - 4oz
30p - 8oz
55p - 1lb
90p - 2lb
1.50 - 4lb
4p - 1oz
7p - 2oz
12p - 4oz
20p - 8oz
35p - 1lb
60p - 2lb
1.00 - 4lb
1975
(16 Mar)
5p - 1oz
11p - 2oz
15p - 4oz
30p - 8oz
55p - 1lb
90p - 2lb
1.50 - 4lb
Last day of Commonwealth (Empire) rates