• "The Act of Congress of March 3, 1845, (effective July 1, 1845), established uniform (and reduced) postal rates throughout the nation, with a uniform rate of five cents for distances under 300 miles (500 km). However, Congress did not authorize the production of stamps until 1847, so postmasters made provisional issues. These included both prepaid envelopes and stamps, mostly of crude design, the New York Postmaster's Provisional being the only one of quality comparable to later stamps. The provisionals of Baltimore were notable for the reproduced signature of the city's postmaster—James Buchanan, later President of the United States. All of the provisionals are rare, and several command prices above US$100,000. These cities issued provisionals in 1845 and 1846: Alexandria, Virginia ("ALEXANDRIA POST OFFICE" in circle) Annapolis, Maryland (eagle in circle) Baltimore, Maryland (James Buchanan signature) Boscawen, New Hampshire ("PAID / 5 / CENTS") Brattleboro, Vermont (shaded box with postmaster initials inside) Lockport, New York ("LOCKPORT N.Y." in oval) Millbury, Massachusetts (woodcut of George Washington) New Haven, Connecticut ("POST OFFICE" in box, P.M. signature) New York, New York ("POST OFFICE" over Washington portrait) Providence, Rhode Island ("POST OFFICE / PROV. R.I." in shaded box) St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis Bears (Missouri coat of arms)" "First stamps: Congress finally provided for the issuance of stamps by passing an act on March 3, 1847, and the Postmaster-General immediately let a contract to the New York City engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson. The first stamp issue of the U.S. was offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in NYC, with Boston receiving stamps the following day and other cities thereafter. They consisted of an engraved 5-cent red brown stamp depicting Benjamin Franklin (the first postmaster of the US), and a 10-cent value in black with George Washington. As for all U.S. stamps until 1857, they were imperforate. The 5 cent stamp paid for a letter weighing less than 1 oz and travelling less than 300 miles, the 10 cent stamp for deliveries to locations greater than 300 miles, or, twice the weight deliverable for the 5 cent stamp." Source and further information:
  • 1 Feb 1842 In New York - Provisional stamps from a private mail company, which was sold later that year to the US government .
  • Postal rates were established in 1845, and stamps were issued in 1847, but postmasters made provisional issues before 1847.
  • Although there were provisional stamps issued by various postmasters around the country prior to that date, the first issue by the United States Government was on July 1, 1847. It consisted of two stamps, a 5 cent showing Ben Franklin (Scott Catalogue #1) and a 10 cent with George Washington (Scott #2).

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