JOBI Philatelic Services: Information Sheet
©6/1/2004, revised 12/14/2004, expanded:
1/26/2009, 3/26/2009, 6/7/2009,
A Brief History of US Postal Stationery
1853: First stamped envelope (3˘ Washington,
Nesbitt 1st issue) is produced in the
1860: First and only compound die stamped envelope (1˘ + 3˘ star dies)
1861: First stamped newspaper wrapper (1˘
(Manila paper introduced for use in wrappers)
1861: First stamped letter sheets (3˘, 3rd Nesbitt issue, on blue, two sizes)
1861?: First counterfeit
stamped envelope (1˘
1861: Demonetization of all first issue and most second issue stamped envelopes;
1˘ Franklin star die and the compound die NOT demonetized.
1873: First stamped Official envelope (2˘ Post Office Dept.)
1873: First postal card (1˘
1876: First commemorative stamped envelope (3˘ Centennial)
1877: Use of a “PENALTY” clause by the Post Office Department authorized by Congress
1879: First international postal card (2˘
1879: First “PENALTY” overprinted stamped envelope (War Dept. stationery)
1886: Grant letter sheet is issued.
1893: First message/reply postal card (1˘ + 1˘ Grant)
1893: First international reply postal card (2˘ +
1896?: First counterfeit postal cards produced
1897: First “PENALTY” clause stamp-less envelope
1902: Grant letter sheets withdrawn from sale
1908: First postal card with correspondence space on front (1˘ McKinley)
1913: First Official postal card (1˘ US Postal Savings)
1915: Introduction of wove paper for stamped envelopes
(Actually the discontinuance of laid paper)
1920: First surcharging of stamped envelopes and postal cards
1928: Post Office Dept. begins providing precanceled stamped envelopes
(Local precanceled stamped envelopes and wrappers date to the late 1860s)
1929: First air mail stamped envelope is produced.
Use of manila paper for 1˘ and 1 1/2˘ envelopes and wrappers discontinued
Use of only extra quality paper for 4˘ and 5˘ envelopes instituted
1932: Largest number of stamped envelopes produced in one day:
19,168,000 3c envelopes produced on July 29
1934: Production of newspaper wrappers is discontinued
1944: Borders on air mail envelopes suspended to speed production to meet the demands
of the armed forces.
1945: Provisional surcharge, boxed 6˘, applied to surplus 2˘ first class envelopes to meet
the demands of the armed forces.
1946: Borders on air mail envelopes resumed.
1947: First air letter sheet (10c DC-4 Skymaster) is produced.
1949: First air mail postal card (4˘ eagle in flight) is issued.
1955: Extra quality paper discontinued for stamped envelopes.
1956: First commemorative postal card (2˘ FIPEX) is issued.
First two color postal card (2˘ FIPEX) is issued.
1961: Experimental precanceled postal card (3˘
1965: “Silent” precanceled stamped envelopes for nonprofit organizations
(1 1/4˘ Liberty Bell)
1966: First tagged regular postal card (4˘
1966: First international air mail postal card
(11˘, Commerce Dept., visit the
1967: First tagged regular (5˘ bald eagle) and
air mail (8˘ jet in triangle) stamped envelopes
1968: First tagged air mail postal card (8˘ stylized, precanceled eagle)
1973: Last air mail envelope issued (air letter sheets continue to be issued)
1977: First photogravure & embossed envelope (13˘ golf)
1977: First US stamped envelope produced without embossing (13˘ energy conservation)
1988: First typographed & embossed envelope (25˘, stars/USA)
1989: First hologram stamped envelope (25˘, shuttle docking at space station)
1989: First multi-design sheet postal cards (15˘
1989: First picture postal cards (15˘ White
1990: First computer vended postal card (15˘ Postal Buddy)
1994: First picture postal card set (Legends of the West)
1996: First picture postal card booklet (Summer Olympics)
1999: Air letter sheets discontinued
Postal cards sold at postage + 1˘
2001: Postal cards sold at postage + 2˘
2008: Postal cards sold at postage + 3˘