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Post Office Facts

Would You Pay To Receive A Letter?
Picture this, you head to the post office to pick up your mail, only to be informed that you would have to pay for the postage on every letter or bill you have received. Odds are, you would ditch the mail on the counter and leave the post office entirely. Believe it or not, up until the mid-19th century, this was exactly what happened.

At this point in history, recipients--not senders--were tasked with paying the postage on the letters they received. Because of this practice, many people refused letters in order to get out of paying for them. This caused the post office to spend even more time and money returning mail to senders. The result was quite a bit of chaos at the post office.

When did this practice change? In 1847, the American postal service finally issued postage stamps which had to be prepaid. No longer could you push your mail costs onto your recipient as a letter could not be sent without the prepaid proper postage. In 1863, standard rates emerged and a letter could be sent for the low price of .06 cents. Today, a postage stamp .55 cents with an additional .15 cents for each additional ounce.