Comparative US Postage Rates, 1863-2009

Questions frequently come up concerning the rate of inflation, currency devaluation, and postage rate changes. The main table below shows the price of 1st class postage in both current dollars and in constant 1983 dollars. [1983 is the current base year for the Consumer Price Index, which was used to generate this table.] An interesting note is that the average constant cost of 1st class postage is around $0.20, with a significant exception from 1943-1968.

Prior to 1863, postage was charged per sheet of paper rather than by weight. From 1863 to 1884, postage was per half-ounce, giving high relative costs.

Comparative Postage Rates in Year of Price Change

YearPostage Rate
1 oz.
Constant
18630.060.5808
18830.040.4004
18850.020.2148
19170.030.2344
19190.020.1156
19320.030.2190
19580.040.1384
19630.050.1634
19680.060.1724
19710.080.1975
19740.100.2029
19760.130.2285
19780.150.2301
19810.180.1980
19820.200.2073
19850.220.2045
19880.250.2113
19910.290.2129
19950.320.2100
19990.330.1981
20010.340.1925
20020.370.2057
20060.390.1926
20070.410.1977
20080.420.1917
20090.440.2051

Postage Rates by Year

YearPostage Rate
1 oz.
Constant
18630.060.5808
18640.060.471
18650.060.3708
18660.060.3786
18670.060.396
18680.060.4146
18690.060.4356
18700.060.4356
18710.060.4584
18720.060.4842
18730.060.4842
18740.060.4842
18750.060.513
18760.060.528
18770.060.5442
18780.060.5442
18790.060.6006
18800.060.6222
18810.060.6006
18820.060.6006
18830.040.4004
18840.040.4144
18850.020.2148
18860.020.2148
18870.020.2148
18880.020.2148
18890.020.2148
18900.020.2148
18910.020.2148
18920.020.2148
18930.020.2148
18940.020.2148
18950.020.2232
18960.020.232
18970.020.232
18980.020.232
18990.020.232
19000.020.232
19010.020.232
19020.020.232
19030.020.223
19040.020.2148
19050.020.2148
19060.020.2148
19070.020.2148
19080.020.2072
19090.020.215
19100.020.215
19110.020.2072
19120.020.2072
19130.020.2020
19140.020.2
19150.020.1980
19160.020.1835
19170.030.2344
19180.030.1987
19190.020.1156
19200.020.1000
19210.020.1117
19220.020.1190
19230.020.1170
19240.020.1170
19250.020.1143
19260.020.1130
19270.020.1149
19280.020.1170
19290.020.1170
19300.020.1198
19310.020.1316
19320.030.2190
19330.030.2308
19340.030.2239
19350.030.2190
19360.030.2158
19370.030.2083
19380.030.2128
19390.030.2158
19400.030.2143
19410.030.2041
19420.030.1840
19430.030.1734
19440.030.1704
19450.030.1667
19460.030.1538
19470.030.1345
19480.030.1245
19490.030.1261
19500.030.1245
19510.030.1154
19520.030.1132
19530.030.1124
19540.030.1115
19550.030.1119
19560.030.1103
19570.030.1068
19580.040.1384
19590.040.1375
19600.040.1351
19610.040.1338
19620.040.1325
19630.050.1634
19640.050.1613
19650.050.1587
19660.050.1543
19670.050.1497
19680.060.1724
19690.060.1635
19700.060.1546
19710.080.1975
19720.080.1914
19730.080.1802
19740.100.2029
19750.100.1859
19760.130.2285
19770.130.2145
19780.150.2301
19790.150.2066
19800.150.1820
19810.180.1980
19820.200.2073
19830.200.2008
19840.200.1925
19850.220.2045
19860.220.2007
19870.220.1936
19880.250.2113
19890.250.2016
19900.250.1913
19910.290.2129
19920.290.2067
19930.290.2007
19940.290.1957
19950.320.2100
19960.320.2040
19970.320.1994
19980.320.1963
19990.330.1981
20000.330.1916
20010.340.1925
20020.370.2057
20030.370.2011
20040.370.1959
20050.370.1895
20060.390.1926
20070.410.1977
20080.420.1917
20090.440.2051