The Three-cent Prexie

First class use

The first class letter rate was three cents per ounce from July 6, 1932 until August 1, 1958.

This letter was postmarked on a Railroad Post Office in South Dakota. Sent to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1939, it took three and a half months to get there. Someone in the post office apparently ignored the third and fourth lines of the address and, reading the poorly written name of the state, sent it to India. It was censored in Egypt en route, and returned from there.

A three-cent booklet stamp used on a cover sent from one of the relocation camps inside the United States during World War II.

The same first class rate applied to surface mail sent to, from and within territories and possessions. This handpainted cover was sent from Oregon to Alaska, probably offering to do illustrations for the Alaska Sportsman.

Mail could be sent from APO's to U.S. addresses at the domestic rate. This cover was mailed by a civilian at APO 15, Sangmudai, Korea, which was only open from February 20, 1954 through August 24, 1955.

Mail could also be sent to military addresses at the domestic rate. This cover was mailed to an Air Force F86 pilot serving in the Korean War, not knowing that he had been killed in action several weeks before.

The domestic rate also applied to mail sent from one military address outside the U.S. to another. This cover went from the U.S. Purchasing Office in Shanghai to a naval lieutenant in Manila.

Postal regulations required that mail carried and delivered outside the U.S. mail system must have the proper postage affixed and cancelled. The stamp on this cover was cancelled by a clerk for the Nashville & Cincinnati Railroad.

Mailers occasionally tried to send letters abroad with three cents postage instead of five. This letter was one of those, sent to Tahiti, underpaid and assessed twenty centimes postage due. However, there was no one there to pay the amount due, as the addressee had moved on to Hawaii, so it was forwarded. Once it reached Hawaii three cents was the proper postage. It doesn't appear that anyone bothered to try to collect the additional two cents that was temporarily due.

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