The Eight-cent Prexie
Martin Van Buren, President from 1837 to 1841, is pictured on the eight-cent Prexie, his first appearance on a U.S. postage stamp. These stamps were only issued in sheet format.
The first release of the eight-cent Prexie was on August 11, 1938. A total of 1,297,989,800 of these were issued through 1959.
The eight-cent Prexie did not come into it's prime until the domestic (and Canadian) airmail rate was raised to that level in 1944. The airmail rate to and from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was set at eight cents in 1945, and to Mexico and Cuba as well.
Other solo uses involved airmail in the United States with surface mail to any full rate UPU country, or surface mail to Europe and airmail within Europe (except Spain). A similar charge was made for airmail within the U.S. and Canada combined with surface transport to Newfoundland or Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Later it became the rate for full airmail service to Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
By 1953 eight cents became the surface delivery rate to UPU countries.
Domestic airmail plus minimum insurance cost eight cents from late in 1946 until the end of 1948, as did first class mail plus minimum insurance from the beginning of the Prexie period until March 26, 1944, then again from the beginning of 1949 until 1957. Other possible uses include second class, transient rates over the Prexie period, the special fourth class book rate from 1949 until mid- 1958, and the fourth class book rate plus minimum insurance from mid- 1942 until early 1944. The parcel post rate to Zones 1 and 2 was also eight cents from 1932 until early 1944, and then the local rate plus the wartime surcharge equaled eight cents from then through 1948.
Multiples of foreign surface mail, foreign printed matter, and domestic third class rates are opportunites for solo eight-cent Prexies, as well as double the domestic four cent rate. Also, certificates of mailing for multiple items can result in any value of solo Prexie being used.