Coney's Stamps

US Stamp Issues of 1847

The First Postally Issued United StatesPostage Stamps

- Regular -

Scott #1 - 1847 5 cent Franklin Scott #2 - 1847 10 cent Washington


The five- and ten-cent stamps of 1847 were the first postage stamps authorized for issue by the U.S. Post Office Department, in response to a law . The law, passed on March 3, 1847 took effect on July 1, 1847 made the use of postage stamps not authorized by the Postmaster General illegal.

The first stamps were supposed to be made available to the public by July 1; The New York City Post Office was the only location that received stamps by that day, followed by Boston on July 2. Covers with July 1847 dates are exceptionally rare.

The requirement to prepay the postage was not part of this new law, and many letters were sent without stamps. It was expected that the person who received the letter would pay the fee. It is estimated that only one out of fifty letters actually had a stamp affixed to it, the rest were paid on delivery. Although the rate for drop letters at that time was two cents, no two-cent stamp was issued. 'Drop Letters' were dropped off (mailed from) and picked up at the same Post Office.

The five-cent stamp paid for domestic letters within a 300 mile radius of the post office from which it was sent, and the ten-cent stamp for anything beyond that.

Red Brown

- Commemorative Issues -

None were issued in 1847 - The first Commemoratives were issued in 1893

- Related Stamps of interest -

#3   #4   #948   #1474   #3139a   #3140a

- Other Stamps of 1898 -

None were issued in 1847
The first Postage Due Stamps were issued in 1879
The first Special Delivery Stamps were issued in 1885

Literature Of Interest:

100 Greatest American Stamps by Klug & Sundman

Classic United States Imperforate Stamps, Jon Rose

Classic United States Stamps 1845-1869, Carroll Chase

Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting, Edited by Juell and Rod

Historical Catalog of U.S. Stamp Essays and Proofs 1847, Charles Brazer

Scott Specialized catalogue of U.S. Stamps and Covers

The United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol.1, Lester Brookman



Scott Stamp Numbers © are the property of and used on this Web site by curtsey of Scott’s Publishing / Amos Press Inc.

#1 - 5 cent Franklin #2 - 10 Cent Washington