JOBI Philatelic Services:  Information Sheet

©6/1/2004, revised 12/14/2004, expanded: 1/26/2009, 3/26/2009, 6/7/2009, 8/1/2009


A Brief History of US Postal Stationery


1853:  First stamped envelope (3˘ Washington, Nesbitt 1st issue) is produced in the U.S.


1860:  First and only compound die stamped envelope (1˘ + 3˘ star dies)


1861:  First stamped newspaper wrapper (1˘ Franklin star die)

            (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˘ Franklin star die, Nesbitt 2nd issue)


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˘ Liberty with large watermark)


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˘ Liberty)


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˘ + 2˘ Liberty, blue)


1896?:  First counterfeit postal cards produced

(1˘ Jefferson, large wreath w/name, Smith counterfeits)


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1902:  Grant letter sheets withdrawn from sale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˘ purple Liberty w/precancel lines)


1965:  “Silent” precanceled stamped envelopes for nonprofit organizations

(1 1/4˘ Liberty Bell)


1966:  First tagged regular postal card (4˘ Lincoln)


1966:  First international air mail postal card

(11˘, Commerce Dept., visit the USA) is issued.


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˘ America the Beautiful)


1989:  First picture postal cards (15˘ White House/15˘ Jefferson Memorial)


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˘