With all of the junk mail we get these days can you imagine having to pay for it? Back in the days before stamps were invented it wasn’t the sender, but the receiver of a letter who paid for it. But back then people really sent letters and that’s usually the only thing you would get in the mail. Bills and junk mail came much later.

If you wanted to send a letter you’d fold it and seal with it wax. There were no envelopes back then. And you’d have to go to the post office to get the process started. There were no drop boxes.

Things began to change when the first postage stamps were issued in England in 1840.

It wasn’t until 1847 when the first official U-S postage stamps came out with the images of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

Those first stamps came in small sheets and the idea was you were supposed to cut them yourself with a scissors. So what happened if you didn’t happen to have a scissors? People would try to tear them off the sheet and what a mess that was, so about 10 years later somebody came up with the idea for perforations.

When you think of the shape of a stamp it’s usually about an inch high and a little more than ¾ of an inch wide. But name a shape, they’ve come in all kinds – triangles, pentagons. The United States issued a round stamp in 2000 to represent Earth. A couple of countries have made stamps in the shape of fruit.

It was as little as a dime to send a letter in 1975. 7 cents for a postcard.

Since then there have been 19 price increases. It’s hard to remember exactly how much it costs to mail a letter these days. I had to look it up. It’s up to 46 cents and 33 cents for a postcard.

One of the best ideas the post office came up with was in 2007 when they introduced the Forever Stamp. Buy ‘em today and they’re good no matter what the price goes up to.


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