Dating Postcards By Changes in U.S. Postal Rates

Vintage Mailman

Even though some postcards from different eras have the same price, it can still help to know how much the Post Office was charging if you’re trying to date a postcard.

For example, if you’re not sure if the postcard is from 1920 or 1926, you can tell because the postage on a postcard from 1920 will cost 1 penny, while the postage on a postcard from 1926 will cost 2 pennies.

Of course, it doesn’t help you when you’re trying to tell if it’s from 1916 or 1919, which both cost 1 penny to mail. The price went up to 2 pennies in 1917 and 1918, then went back down to 1 penny in 1919.

Still, the list below shows when the postage rates changed and could be helpful to postcard collectors who are looking for a rough estimate.

YearPrice
1872
1917
1919
1925
1928
1952
1958
1963
1968
1971
1974
1975
1976
197810¢
3/198112¢
11/198113¢
198514¢
198815¢
199119¢
199520¢
200121¢
200223¢
200624¢
200726¢
200827¢
200928¢
201129¢
201232¢
201333¢
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About Paul Phipps

Paul loves history. He literally read the entire 1987 World Book Encyclopedia when he was 23 years old. His expertise ranges across the entire spectrum of pop culture. He specializes in vintage clothing, sports collectibles, vinyl records and tin toys.

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Last modified: Sep 23, 2013 | Written by Paul Phipps