Tuesday, December 14, 2010

George VI Inland Rates and Fees:
May 10, 1937 - April 30, 1940

(POST 1)

This post deals with the inland rates and fees in effect from May 10, 1937 (the issue date of the first installment of George VI stamps) to April 30, 1940 (the day before inland rate increases).

On May 10, 1937, three values of the George VI definitive series were issued : 1/2d., 1d., 2 1/2d.

First day cover, May 10, 1937

The letter rate denomination stamp, 1 1/2d., was issued almost three months later on July 30, 1937.

First day cover, July 31, 1937

The 1 1/2 d. Coronation commemorative stamp released on May 13, 1937 was the only George VI stamp that could be used to frank single weight inland letters until July 31, 1937.

First day cover, May 13, 1937

The rates and fees in effect during the George VI pre-war period had been introduced in the early 1920s.


Blandford to Bradbury, May 23, 1937
1 1/2 d. inland letter rate

London commercial cover, July 30, 1937
First day of issue 1 1/2 d. definitive stamp

London to Eastbourne, November 1, 1938

Delayed Mail

Local London mail, November 2, 1938
The letter was delayed because it was posted in the incorrect letter box.

"Poached Eggs" Coil

In 1937, non-denominated coils for machines were issued for test purposes. They have been referred to as the "poached egg" coils because of their appearance.

A late use of the poached egg coil, London March 28, 1939

Stamps with Perforated Initials (Perfins)

British Engines

British Engine correspondence, Swansea to London, March 3, 1938

Royal Insurance Company Limited

Royal Insurance Company Limited, London, April 8, 1939

Underpaid Letter Mail

Unpaid letter, London to Birmingham, May 18, 1938
Taxed at double the deficiency : 1 1/2d x2 = 3d
Due paid and postage due label cancelled May 19, 1938

Weston-Super-Mare to Swindon, September 8, 1937
Short paid 1/2d and charged 1 d
Postage due paid and label cancelled at Swindon

Liable to Letter Rate

Letters improperly mailed at the printed papers rate were treated as letters and were taxed at double the deficiency.

Montrose, April 25, 1939
Sent at the printed papers rate but "LIABLE TO LETTER RATE"

1d. was the difference between the letter and the printed paper rates and thus the amount due was 2d. Postage due paid, labels cancelled Montrose, April 25, 1939

Falkirk to Wakefield, June 12, 1939
Prepaid 1/2d., printed papers rate


The letter was treated as a letter and was thus shortpaid 1 d. The 2d. tax (double deficiency) was indicated by a handstamp:

The postage due label was cancelled at Wakefield, June 14, 1939; however,the addressee refused to accept the letter:

The letter was returned to the sender:

Late Fee Letters

Late fees were described in the March, 1938, Post Office Guide as follows:

Glasgow to Chesterfield, 5:45 p.m. March 28, 1940
"LATE FEE PAID" hamdstamp
1 1/2 d. letter rate + 1/2 d. late fee

Mail Trains

Late letters could be posted in letter boxes on mail trains with sorting carriages. The fee was an extra 1/2 d.

South Western T.P.O. (Travelling Post Office) to Southbourne, March 29 1938
1 1/2d. letter rate + 1/2 d. late fee

Up Special G
Glasgow (Frank Stick & Co.) to London, May 31, 1938
1 1/2d. letter rate + 1/2d. Late Fee

Railway Letters

Under agreement with the Post Office several railway companies accepted and conveyed letters. Postage at the appropriate inland rate had to be prepaid. The service was not available for registered letters. In addition, a railway fee was chargeable on each railway letter:

Weight not exceeding 2 oz. ......................3d.
Over 2 oz. not exceeding 4 oz. .................6d.
Over 4 oz. and not exceeding 1 lb. ..........9d.

The fee was to be paid in cash to the railway company.

London Midland and Scottish

Radlett to London, December 14, 1937
3d Railway Letter fee
The letter was posted in the London mail stream and was cancelled at the London NW 1 Post Office at 9:15 am, December 15, 1937

3d Railway stamp (Radlett overprint) cancelled "Station Master", December 14, 1937

Southern Rly.

Aldershot to Camberley, January 26, 1939
The letter was cancelled at the Camberley Post Office at 8 p.m., January 26, 1939

Southern Rly. 3 d. "Parcel Paid" label cancelled at Aldershot January 26, 1939

Post Cards

The inland post card rate was 1d.

Mailed from the 1938 Empire Exhibition, Glasgow
Exhibition P.O. to Taunton, July 16, 1938

The Empire Exhibition was held from May to October 1938. The post card shows an old post office in the traditional clachan (settlement) built on the Exhibition site.

Newcastle-on-Tyne, to Glasgow, August 12, 1938
P.H. Matthieson & Co. perfin (P H M /Co)

The addressee of the post card had lost her gloves on board the M/S Black Prince. The card was to advice her that the gloves had yet to be found.

M/S Black Prince, Fred Olson Line Oslo

Robinson, Dunn & Co., Ltd. perfin ( R D / & / Co )
Glasgow local correspondence, Western D. O. hand cancel, September 20, 1938

Underpaid Post Card

Weston-Super Mare to Downend, Bristol, August 2 1938
Underpaid 1/2 d. and taxed 1 d. ( double the deficiency) : "1d to Pay" in pencil
Postage due label cancelled at Downend August 2, 1938


Lewes to Eastbourne, August 15, 1938
Unpaid and taxed 2d.
Due label cancelled at Eastbourne, August 16, 1938

Printed Papers

The inland printed papers rate was 1/2 d. for the first two ounces.

Huddersfield to Sheffield, August 18, 1938
1/2 d. printed papers rate

Mourning Cover

Manchester to Newport, Isle of Wight, March 24 1940

Goole to Sandwich, April 8, 1940
John F. Schackleton & Son Ltd. ( J F S / & S) perfin

Wilts. United Dairies Ltd., Finchley, London, Stationery
East Finchley, August 11, 1939


Ferryhill local printed papers, November 21, 1939
Unpaid and rated 1d. to pay (double the deficiency)
Postage due label cancelled November 22, 1939

Undeliverable Printed Papers

A charge equal to the printed papers rate was levied for returned undeliverable printed papers.

Cheltenham local printed papers correspondence, July 12, 1937

The letter could not be delivered (the house was vacant) and was returned to the Cheltenham Rate Office.

A 1/2 d. Postage Due handstamp was applied to the face of the envelope which was the charge for the returned letter. The charge was paid and a 1/2 d. postage due label was affixed and cancelled at Cheltenham, July 13, 1937

Postage Due Handstamp

Lungan local printed matter, December 19, 1939
Undeliverable (addressee deceased) and returned to the sender
Charged 1/2 d. (the printed papers rate) for the return
Due label cancelled December 20, 1939


Next Day Delivery Posting After 3:30 pm

Printed matter items prepaid at the 1/2 d. had to be posted before 3:30 pm London time, to obtain next day delivery. If posted for next day delivery later than 3:30 pm, the rate was 1 d.

Printed paper from London County Council, posted after 3:30 pm, prepaid at the 1d. next day delivery rate. West Norwood machine cancellation, 7:30 pm, April 13, 1938


The registration fee was 3 d.

Sutton Coldfield to Birkinhead, August 31, 1938
4 1/2 d. paying 1 1/2d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee

New Milton to Lincoln, March 31, 1938
4 1/2 d. paying 1 1/2d. letter rate + 3 d. registration fee
(The 4d. George VI 4d. stamp was issued later that year, November 31, 1938)

Compulsory Registration

Packets containing coins or jewellery not posted as registration were subject to compulsory registration and were charged on delivery with a registration fee of 6d.

Plympton to Paddington November 7, 1938

Compulsory registration fee of 6d. because the letter contained coins.
Post Office instructional label was affixed to the back of the envelope.

6d. compulsory registration fee

Postage due labels

Instructional label


Several express services were available. The covers below are examples of "Special Delivery" service. Letters sent from the office of posting did not receive express treatment until reaching the office of delivery, where it was picked out from the rest of the mail. The letter would then be delivered by messenger.

The Special Delivery charge for delivery from the normal delivery office was 6d. in addition to the full ordinary postage.

Bangor to Sheffield, January 18, 1938
7 1/2 d. paying the 1 1/2d. letter rate + 6d. Special Delivery fee
(The 6d. George VI definitive stamp was issued on January 30, 1939)

Distinctive Marking

The word EXPRESS was to be boldly and legibly marked above the address on the left-side of the cover, and in the case of a letter was to be marked with a broad perpendicular line from top to bottom, both on front and back.

Aberdeen to Glasgow, January 31, 1939
7 1/2 d. paying the 1 1/2d. letter rate + 6d. Special Delivery fee

Post Card

Clapton Sorting Office to Glasgow, March 20, 1940
1 d. post card rate + 6 d. express delivery fee

Express Delivery + Registration

Liverpool to London, July 15, 1939
10 1/2d. paying the 1 1/2d. letter rate + 6 d. Special Delivery fee + 3 d. Registration fee


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