Exploring the World of Postal Rates
What are postal rate covers and why should I collect them?
     The 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.

     Postal rate 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 covers.

     Whether collecting "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 covers.

     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 collection.

     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.

© 2001 Worldwide-Postal-Rates.com   Webmaster@Worldwide-Postal-Rates.com

Valid HTML 4.01!