The Three-cent Prexie

The design of the three-cent Prexie features Thomas Jefferson, President between 1801 and 1809. The likeness was taken from a bust by Jean Antoine Houdon which is in the Congressional Library. Stamps were issued in sheet, horizontal coil, vertical coil and booklet formats.

Sheet stamps were first released on June 16, 1938. A total of 87,101,233,100 were issued from then until 1959. Horizontal coil stamps were issued January 20, 1939 and vertical ones and booklet panes on January 27 of that year. Total production for the two coil formats was 28,309,771,500, and for booklet pane stamps, 15,208,803,480.

Three cents was the first class letter rate from 1932 into the second half of 1958. It was also the domestic rate for postcards with attachments during that time.

As of June 15, 1942 three cents was the rate for sending V-Mail to an Army processing center for microfilming before being sent abroad. This service ended October 30, 1945.

From August 1, 1958 until early 1963 it was the domestic postcard rate as well as the charge for a drop-letter at a non-carrier post office. These rates come at the end of the Prexie period, but solo use to pay them is possible.

The third class rate for two-plus through four ounces was three cents until 1949, then two-plus to three ounces, going to three cents as the single piece rate August 1, 1958. The fourth class general book rate was three cents per pound from July of 1942 until late March, 1944, and the library book rate was three cents for the first pound from 1928 until the same date in March of 1944.

The surface rate to Canada and Mexico was three cents from the early 1930's through July, 1958, plus Newfoundland until it became a part of Canada April 1, 1949. The international surface rate to other PUAS countries also was three cents from 1932 until late in 1953. And the international postcard rate to UPU countries was three cents from 1925 until late 1953.

Other three cent rates involved merchandise samples or packets sent abroad, the return receipt fee from 1929 to early 1944, a mailing book certificate of mailing for three items from 1929 to early 1954, the certificate of mailing fee for one item from early 1954 to mid 1957,and multiple one or one-and-one-half cent rates.