Beginning on this day in 1845, letters to the United States were charged by weight. The rates, based on a letter weighing one half ounce, were five cents (under 300 miles), two cents for a drop letter, circulars at two cents per sheet, and a carrier fee that was set at two cents. Additional charges were one rate per additional half ounce.
Although it had made postal rates uniform, congress did not authorize the introduction of adhesive postage stamps for national use and individual postmasters created their own stamps. These are known as Postmasters' Provisionals and the first was used during July in New York City. To learn more about some of these provisionals check out this stamp chat and this article.
Example of the New York Postmaster Provisional
Two years later on the same date, the U.S. government issued its first adhesive postage stamps for national use. None are known to be cancelled on the issue date. The stamps are the five cent with the design featuring Benjamin Franklin and the ten cent featuring the design of George Washington. Both stamps are pictured in the cover image above.
Later in 1881, the first specially printed stamps of Cyprus were issued. They were in the standard British Empire key type design, which featured a profile of the monarch (Queen Victoria), territory name, and denomination. This design was utilized for several areas of the British Empire and was adopted as a means of producing stamps for a number of areas at a lower cost than if different designs had to be created.
Example of the stamps from the APS collection, from left to right: Scott 11,12,15, and 16
In 1920, Palestine, which had been under a military administration since being taken from Turkey during World War One, was placed under civilian rule.
The Belgian Congo also issued its first air mail stamps. The denominations were from 50 centime to 5 Belgian franc and featured an airplane flying over the Congo.
Images of the set, courtesy of colnect.com
A year later, China issued its first airmail stamps, the design pictures a Curtis Jenny aircraft flying over the Great Wall of China.
Images of part of the set, courtesy of colnect.com
In 1961, the newly independent Republic of Rwanda and Kingdom of Burundi both issued their first stamps. The stamps of Burundi were overprints on stamps of Rwanda-Burundi.
Examples of some of the stamps from the set, courtesy of colnect.com
Two years later, Sabah issued its first stamps. Formerly known as North Borneo, Sabah is now part of Malaysia. The stamps were overprints on stamps of North Borneo. Visit our refrence colletion here to see more stamps of North Borneo and Labuan.
In 1967, Italy placed on sale a set of four stamps in a common design to publicize the new Italian postal code. The design features a letter with an arrow pointing to the postal code. Three years later, Japan also issued a pair of stamps commemorating the first anniversary of the country's postal code. The stamps depict the postal code symbol, similar to the Mr. ZIP figure used in the United States to publicize the ZIP code.
Examples of the Japanese ZIP code stamps, courtesy of colnect.com