Paying the Postage in the United States (1776-1921)
I have to share with you a facinating online numismatic (and philatelic) exhibit that I have just seen. The exhibit was created by Richard Frajola, a professional philatelist in New Mexico, and originally displayed at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition.
The exhibit illustrates the relationship between U.S. postal rates and the coins that were commonly used to pay them. What's facinating is that according to Richard Frajola, prior to July 1851, postal rates didn't correspond to the denominations used in U.S. coins, but rather they were based on the most widely used foreign coins at the time. Also, keep in mind that prior to the Act of February 21, 1857, many foreign coins enjoyed legal tender status in the United States and often were more common than their U.S. counterparts.
So take a few minutes and look at Paying the Postage in the U.S. I hope you enjoy the exhibit as much as I did.