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Use Of Stamps On Parcel Post

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Valued Member
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Posted 11/21/2021   9:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Letterpress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all I'm trying to fill in some blanks regarding old postage and covers. The USPS once had a Parcel Post rate class for packages, running up to 70 lbs. Could stamps be used for Parcel Post postage?

The USPS rate history docs say this about First Class: "Weight limit 12 ounces. Priority mail rates apply to heavier pieces."

Why Priority Mail and not Parcel Post? Wouldn't the default have been the lower cost option? I've always understood Priority Mail to be a premium service, just shy of Express Mail. (The quote above applied to First Class during the 1978 1988 period.)

Also, do you know if individuals could obtain the ZIP+4 discounts? The rate docs say that beginning in 1983 the First Class rates were discounted for mail using ZIP+4. It doesn't say anything about it being exclusive to bulk or commercial mailers. The discounted rates were fractional, like 19.1 or 21.1 cents. I've seen those fractional stamps could individuals use them? I haven't seen any covers with them yet. Using ZIP+4 also exempted mailers from the Nonstandard Surcharge for lightweight #8804; 1 oz. flats and parcels.

Relatedly, when did all Americans get a ZIP+4? Was the rollout comprehensive, or staggered? What's the earliest you've seen covers with ZIP+4?


Thanks.


***Striked out Zip content, please start a new thread for this - Mod***
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Posted 11/21/2021   9:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Letter, you are behind in the times. Everybody now has a unique ZIP code, consisting of eleven (11) digits. In my neck of the woods I have a 9-digit ZIP code, and I add the last two digits of my address for my unique code. That 11 digit ZIP will show on some of your incoming mail, all the way on the bottom of the cover. Look at your mail, there may be a long row of dashes on the bottom, followed by some numbers


Peter
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Posted 11/21/2021   9:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
STOP. Please.
Can the moderators split this thread into two threads? One about stamp use on parcel post and priority mail, and one about Zip+4.
Otherwise I fear this is going to get too complex going back and forth among topics.
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Posted 11/21/2021   10:20 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I cannot split the same post into two threads, Letterpress can 'copy and paste' the Zip topic into a new thread if desired.
Don
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Posted 11/21/2021   10:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Peter, I'm aware of the status quo on ZIP+4 and the Delivery Point (the extra two digits you mentioned complete the DP). And I've read the spec for the IMb barcode, as well as the Royal Mail's and Canada Post barcodes. I'm asking about the history and introduction in the 1980s.
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Posted 11/21/2021   10:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Linus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ZIP + 4 started in 1983.

You can search Wiki for answers to your questions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZIP_Code

All you need is the 5-digit zip code on a mailing address now. The extra digits are really not needed by the sorting machine software, because it can figure out the address to deliver a letter by the massive USPS database of addresses. All you need to do is print the address in all CAPS and use no commas or periods. The 5-digit zip code is enough, the software can figure the exact endpoint.

Neat handwriting is more important than 11 digits.

Linus
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Posted 11/21/2021   10:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I give up.
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Posted 11/21/2021   10:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Hi all
...
Thanks.


Most all of your questions are covered in the Rate Book, 3rd edition that is en route to you. There is a section about how to read the [zip-code and zip + 4, etc,] bar coding as well.

Anyone could use bulk IF they were mailing enough of "whatever" was needed for the particular bulk rate and sorted as well if such was required for the discount in question.

The first mandatory use of zip code is covered as well as its slow spread to being required in other circumstance.

If you remember my answers in other threads you started, over 7 oz air was required to be priority with first class being able to be requested as priority when priority was introduced.

The first class weight cut off was over 13 ounces, not 12. Later, tied to this weight cut off was the introduction that stamped mail must be handed to an employee (not slot or drop box) if over 13 oz due to the Unibomber. If you get the USPS Notice 123 10-3-2021 Rates (Google) you will see the weight limit for first class is 13 ounces. Anything over 13 ounces is not first class. Today $3.56 first class postage pays for an item over 12 ounces but less than or equal to 13 ounces.


Quote:
Could stamps be used for Parcel Post postage?


When parcel post was started stamps only were required. Then later, meters and permits were allowed in addition to stamps.
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 11/21/2021 10:52 pm
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Posted 11/22/2021   12:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would add to PPG's answer:


Quote:
September 2019:

The United States Postal Service has further tightened its rules governing the use of postage stamps on parcels and large letters.

New Aviation Mail Security Program rules will prohibit customers from placing stamp-bearing mailpieces that are more than inch thick or weigh more than 10 ounces in mail collection boxes, building mail chutes or post office mail slots.

The USPS announced in the Sept. 26 2019 Postal Bulletin that effective Oct. 1 such letters and parcels must be presented in person at a retail postal counter.
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Posted 11/22/2021   12:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Re: Unibomber

At least one of his mailed bombs went off unintentionally while in the mail stream and being carried on board an airplane. It burned, but did not explode. Damaged mail piece(s) from that event is(are) in collector's possession. The "(s)" and "is(are)" are written because I can only recall one piece that I know about.
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Posted 11/22/2021   1:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Letterpress,
You state:

Quote:
The USPS rate history docs ...

Please, when quoting, try to post an image of the referenced page, make a link or provide a full bibliographic citation. Your summaries tend to muddle things and we have no way to view the same resource to properly discuss what you are seeing.

Re: Unabomber

With additional terrorist acts, the mailing regulations have undergone a gradual tightening for mail with stamps on parcels, Priority Mail, etc. The study of these changes, their markings and labels would make an interesting study. I suspect the "Postal Bulletin" chronicles the broad outline very well.

As a sampling, here is a return notification label from 1996. Note the 16 ounce limit for using stamps without presenting the piece to a clerk:


Later different labels from 2000 and 2006:



And the AVSEC marking I posted recently to another thread:
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Posted 11/23/2021   5:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Linus I'm asking about whether ZIP+4 discounts were available to individuals in the 1980s when those discounts are listed in the rate documents. It would help explain the postage placed on some mailpieces. I already know the stuff on Wikipedia, and the official year ZIP+4 started. The official year it started isn't going to tell us when it actually became pervasive, or whether individuals could get the discounts and use the fractional stamps.
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Posted 11/23/2021   5:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Parcelpostguy, your info on the weight limit is incorrect. First, the weight limit isn't a static thing no statement of the form "The rate limit is actually x" will be correct, since there are many limits. They changed over time.

The weight limit was the 12 ounces I stated, for the period I referred to. You're talking about the present weight limit, which isn't relevant here. It was 13 ounces for part the 1970s, then dropped to 12 ounces from 1978 to 1988, the period I'm referring to. Then it dropped to 11 ounces for the next ten years. Then it moved back up to 13 ounces for some mailpieces.

Only some mailpieces have a 13 ounce limit right now. Letters are actually limited to 3.5 ounces, much less than in the 1980s. Flats and packages are limited to 13 ounces for retail customers only. Commercial mailers enjoy a 16 ounce limit for First Class Package service.

Back in the 1980s, the USPS didn't differentiate First Class letters, flats, and packages. It was all just First Class, with the same weight limit. Now they have three different types of First Class, with different limits, and retail and commercial mailings are treated differently.

I've had the rate book for a while. It doesn't have the answers to my questions. I was asking if individuals could get the ZIP+4 discount it doesn't specify who could get the discount.
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Posted 11/23/2021   5:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Letterpress to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John, here's a screenshot of the USPS spreadsheet. See the ZIP+4 Letters column starting in 1983. You can also see the changing maximum weight over that span in the footnotes:
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Posted 11/23/2021   5:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
12 vs 13 ounces - Yes, that is the point, the weights changed over time and one must specify that level of detail (rate and date). Not sure the point of beating the dead horse unless you have specific dated mail pieces to show us for discussion.

Anyone could get a Zip+ 4 discount IF AND ONLY IF they had a permit AND mailed enough pieces with the proper sorting. Nobody could mail a few pieces of mail and get any discount of any sort. Understand?
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Edited by John Becker - 11/23/2021 5:56 pm
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Posted 11/23/2021   7:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The first class weight cut off was over 13 ounces
and I also told you that at the start of Priority, airmail over 7 ounces was forced into priority. "Start" references a specific point in time; not a time period or time range.

If you look at your rate history posting, Letterpress, you see the start of priority being listed as January 7, 1968 with a foot note number 2 next to it. If you read foot note number 2, it lists the weight 13 ounces. I stand correct. January 7, 1968 was the start of Priority Mail.

That said, all of this information is in B&W's Rate book 3rd edition with the relevant regulations, laws and orders cited. Those as I have said previously can be read up in Stampsmarter.com in the section of the digital library of postal guides; or if it is not in the monthly or annual, the daily guides and PL&R (Postal Laws and Regulations) can be found here: http://www.uspostalbulletins.com/

Do be aware, there have been rates and regulation followed but no published. Additionally if a mailer was large enough by volume, they could get special treatment arranged with the post office. Netflix and LL Bean come to mind as businesses as do mailed in ballots and tax returns, all get special treatment.

If you are looking for specific documented rules for each and everything the USPOD and USPS did and does, you will be disappointed.

For example when Parcel Post started 1-1-1913, the weight limit was 11 pounds. Soon for nearby zones the limit was raised to 50 pounds. At the time, you will not find a regulation granting permission to mail child weighing 50 pounds or less. However, once children weighing 50 pounds and less began being mailed (postage was less that train fare on the same trains) regulations were developed to prohibit that practice. When parcel post began there was no limit on what could be sent by a mailer until a bank, brick by brick was mailed. After that time a limit of packages and or total weight sent by a mailer in one day was implemented.

When UN postage was selling at 30-40% of face value, many large mailers in the New York area would make massive mailing at the UNPA NY Office. Eventually the UNPA installed severe limits on what could be sent by one mailer per day. Selling stamps was a cash cow for the UN, having to suddenly provided services for those stamps cost the UNPA money as no new stamps were sold by the UNPA to cover the costs the new mail volume created.

Even "airmail" did not mean the mail piece was to be carried by an airplane. What it mean was that the mail piece was to be carried on an airplane except if ground (train, truck, ship and etc.) provided quicker service. When the majority of first class mail routinely went by air, domestic airmail service postage rates were cancelled.

All that said, as pointed out by John Becker, if you do not ask an exceedingly specific question, you will only receive a general answer, perhaps a very specific but still general answer.

Here is a simple, on its face question for you. If a post office was located within the city limits was it a city post office? The answer? Not always as some post offices in a city were not city post offices, rather they were part of the Railway Postal Office (RPO) system which were not considered as part of a city post office. No, I am not referring to the train mail-cars, but the brick and mortar built on the ground non-moving terminal RPO Offices.

Here is an interesting read: https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/p...-history.htm pointing out that some classes of mail were designed to supplement other classes.
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 11/23/2021 8:39 pm
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