|What are postal rate covers and why
should I collect them?
collecting of "postal rate covers" is the collecting of the different types of
and values of postal rates & fees. Rather than focusing on the particular
stamp(s) used on an item of mail or the postmark or other aspects
of mail routing and carriage, the rate cover collector typically studies and
collects the differences in the postal rates & fees that were paid to carry
the mail, including destinations. Postal rates and fees vary over time, by
destination, by weight of the mail piece, etc. One may collect one aspect such
as domestic postal rates or international postal rates, or a particular service
such as registered mail rates.
information is an important part of the broader study of postal history.
Collectors who study areas such as postmarks and censorship markings, or time
periods (such as mail from the British Commonwealth "Elizabethan period") all
require information regarding the postal rates for their
"single-franking covers" (one stamp exactly pays the total postal rate) or
other types of covers, it is essential to know and understand the associated
postal rates in order to fully understand and appreciate the
In addition to single-franking
covers, it is popular to collect definitive ("regular") issues from a certain
time period, or having a common design. In the U.S., an example is the
"Liberty" series or the "Prexie" series. However, many countries have
long-running definitive series (and also common-design/theme commemorative
stamp series). These can be collected as multiples of stamps within the series,
various combinations of stamps within the series, or combinations of stamps
from different series. All can make interesting covers due to the vagaries of
postal rate changes. As an example, there are circumstances when a new series
is replacing an older design, however, not all denominations are yet available,
thus the only typical option is to mix stamps from different series. With a
little study, one can add a great deal of depth to one's
There are many postal rate
collecting challenges to be enjoyed. For example, some "common" stamps saw
periods of "single franking" usage which lasted only a few days (such as a
stamp issued three days before a change in postal rates). In other cases, there
are postal rates which were rarely used or from which most mail was not saved.
The possibilities are endless. This is a field in which each person can pursue
their own collection, in their own way.