The Four-cent Prexie
The design of the four-cent Prexie features our fourth president, James Madison, who served between 1809 and 1817. The likeness was taken from a bust by F. William Sievers which is in the rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol. Stamps were issued in sheet and horizontal coil formats.
The first day of issue for the sheet stamps was July 1, 1938. A total of 905,230,500 were issued from then through 1955. Horizontal coil stamps were issued January 20, 1939 and a total of 41,040,000 were issued into 1956.
Four cents was the first class domestic letter rate from August of 1958 into the middle of 1963. By the time this rate began a new design of the four-cent definitive had been produced, but Prexies were still being used. The same rate applied to a letter to Canada or Mexico during that time.
Four cents was the domestic air mail rate for postcards and airmail return receipt notifications from the beginning of 1949 until mid-1958. Again, the same rate was used for air mail postcards to Canada and Mexico.
The international surface post card rate to UPU members was four cents from late in 1953 until mid-1958 as well.
The return receipt fee was four cents from early 1944 until the end of 1948. Covers can be found where the registry fee and postage were free, but the return receipt fee was not.
Other four-cent rates involved fourth class library book mailings and samples of merchandise to UPU countries. The international printed matter rate was four cents from August of 1958 to July, 1961 as well.