The Postcard FAQ - Section 3

Information updated 6 March 2004. Minor updates/corrections 9 May 2005.

What are the current U.S. postage rates for mailing cards?

New domestic rates will become effective on 30 June 2002. Originally, the USPS claimed that rates would not increase until September. The new rate is 37 cents for domestic letters and 23 cents for domestic postcards. The USPS has also proposed that the "nonstandard" (now to be called "nonmachinable") surcharge be raised from 11 cents to 12 cents. No change in international rates appears to be in the works at this time.

Postcards :

Envelopes (letter class rates)

US to US:

First ounce is 37 cents, each additional ounce is another 23 cents. Over 11 oz, or other than first class, check with the postmaster.

US to Canada and Mexico:

It appears the USPS may have stopped measuring in 1/2 oz increments with the rate change of 7 January 2001. These rates are from Postal Bulletin Number 22038 published 30 November 2000. Postal rates are also published in Postal Bulletin (Special Bulletin) 22039A, but that edition does not include international rate changes. Rates actually went down slightly for Mexico.

     Not Over
      (oz.)       Canada     Mexico

         1           0.60        0.60
         2           0.85        0.85
         3           1.10        1.25
         4           1.35        1.65
         5           1.60        2.05

Consult your local postmaster for larger envelopes or visit the U.S.P.S. Website. I must admit that the U.S.P.S. web site is increasingly difficult to navigate and requires more and more one's ability to use PDF documents.

US to Countries other than Canada and Mexico:

First ounce - $0.80
(actually a price drop for a whole ounce, but as they've apparently done away with 1/2 ounce increments you may be worse off.)

The world is now split into "rate groups" so that additional ounces of mail don't go up uniformly. This is similar to how things used to be for international parcel post and priority. Now, however, the same is true for airmail letter-post. Here is my attempt to provide a breakdown:

                                 Group 3     Group 4     Group 5

First Ounce (or part oz.)         $0.80       $0.80       $0.80
Each Additional Ounce             $0.80       $0.90       $0.75
  (up to 8oz.)
Over 8oz., please consult your post office.

For airmail letter-post, Group 3 consists of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland and a few others. Group 4 consists of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. Group 5 consists of most other parts of the world including most of Africa, South and Central America, and Asia, but you might be surprised to find that among these are Austria, Andorra, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey, as well as other European countries. For countries not listed here, please consult your local post office or visit the USPS web site.

Beginning 9 July 1995, all letters and postcards leaving the U.S. are sent by airmail. Due to lack of interest, surface mail was discontinued for letter-sized pieces. Postal Bulletins for the rate change of 7 January 2001 appear to indicate that surface mail for "letter-post" is once again available as "economy" letter-post, but please note that it is priced based on 4oz increments beginning at 1 pound. For most postcarders, this is not a viable alternative to airmail.

Consult your local postmaster for larger parcels and packages.

Size limits
Nonstandard surcharge ("Nonmachinable" as of 30 June 2002)

A surcharge of 11 cents per item (12 cents as of 30 June 2002) will be assessed on all nonmachinable letter-sized pieces weighing one ounce or less if:

The letter must be able to drop through a slot of the above dimensions. That is, if you have to compress the envelope with your hand to make it less than 1/4 inch thick, then it is too thick. It must fall loosely through.

(NOTE: For other countries, see the section on international postal rates below. It would be nice to have the rates for any country with more than a few postcard members.)

What is the history of post card postal rates?

Updated 15 June 2002.

The following are the rates for mailing postal cards in the United States. Until 1898, postcards were required to pay letter rates. Thereafter, except for a period noted below, the rates for mailing postcards, conforming in size to the requirements of the Post Office Department, were the same as for mailing postal cards.

Date of start of rate Rate in cents Comments

May 1, 1873 1
November 2, 1917 2 War Tax of 1 cent placed on all first class postage
July 1, 1919 1 With the end of World War I, the War Tax was repealed
April 15, 1925 2 The postal card rate remained at 1 cent, only postcards increased
June 30, 1928 1 The postcard rate was returned to match with postal cards
January 1, 1952 2
August 1, 1958 3
January 7, 1963 4
January 7, 1968 5
May 16, 1971 6
March 2, 1974 8
September 14, 1975 7 A short-lived Postal Rate Commision decision
December 31, 1975 9
May 29, 1978 10
March 22, 1981 12
November 1, 1981 13
February 17, 1985 14
April 3, 1988 15
February 3, 1991 19
January 1, 1995 20
July 1, 2001 21
June 30, 2002 23

Source: United States Postal Card Catalog, United Postal Stationery Society, 50th Anniversary Edition, 1995; and USPS Web Site.

What are some postal rates in countries other than the U.S.


Non-commercial Postcards and Envelopes less than 20 g.

Please confirm these rates at the Correios web site.


Postcards and Envelopes. There is no discounted rate for postcards.

See the Canada Post web site for more details at



Envelopes (up to 20g)

See the Deutsche Post site at (requires Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader). [Thanks, Markus]


Postcards and letters up to 25 g. There is no discounted rate for postcards.

See the An Post Letterpost site at: for more information.


Postcards and letters up to 20 g. There is no discounted rate for postcards.

Please confirm rates at the PTT Post site at


Please confirm rates at the PTT Post site at

United Kingdom

See the Royal Mail site for more information at:

Other Nations

In some cases, the postal websites for other nations can found at the Universal Postal Union's website.

What are the State & Province abbreviations for North America?

The following list was composed from my phone book, but I believe that it is accurate as far as it goes.

Two points should be made:

Anyway, here is the list:

Thanks to: Cary (

End of FAQ.

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