The U.S. Postal Service was created in 1775 under the direction of Benjamin Franklin and the Second Continental Congress. In 1840, Britain was the first country to formally introduce a system of postage stamps, but America was quick to catch on. The first U.S. postage stamps, issued seven years later in 1847, featured a picture of Benjamin Franklin on the five-cent stamp and George Washington on the ten-cent stamp. The revenues from the stamps were used to develop infrastructure for the postal service and also to pay for other federal expenditures (although there was generally not enough revenue to fund pork-barrel projects). The famous “pony express” mail service –developed by William H. Russell as a means to transport mail to the western United States- was partially funded by stamp revenues. At KD Mailing we offer the look of Live Postage Stamps on all your direct mail campaigns.
The pony express proved unprofitable and inefficient, but nonetheless captivated the imaginations of the American public and the Postmaster General alike. After the pony express capsized and was replaced by the transcontinental railroad, the revenue from postage stamps was diverted to other activities. In 1883, stamp prices actually decreased from three cents to two cents a stamp. This phenomenon would only happen one other time in U.S. history- after the end of World War I when the price of a stamp decreased from three cents to two cents once again.
Since 1919, postage stamps have done nothing but appreciate in value. This can, only in part, be attributed to the general inflation of market prices. It is worthy to note that in the 31 years between 1975 and 2006 there has been an almost a fourfold increase in the price of postage. Yet, U.S. postage debt stands at 13 billion dollars a year prompting many people to advocate for privatization of the U.S. postal service. Japan is currently privatizing its postal service and many other western countries may follow suit. What this means for the future of the U.S. postal service has yet to be determined.