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The Trucks

The Special Delivery Issues of 1925 and 1951

The United States Special Delivery system was nearly 40 years old when its stamp design changed to reflect modern transportation, a truck, for delivery of its mail. The Postal Service Act of February 28, 1925, instituted two new Special Delivery rates, effective April 15, 1925, based on weight. For packages weighing over ten pounds, the new rate would be twenty cents.

The 20 cent stamp also paid the Special Delivery treaty rates with various foreign countries which began on January 1, 1923 with Canada, and then with other countries as the decade continued. Its primary usage, however, was on heavy packages. For the first time in 40 years, messengers received a pay raise, being allowed to retain 15¢ of the 20¢ for delivery.

The original model for the design was made from a photograph taken at the old City Post Office in Washington, D.C. The truck was identified by Stephen Rich, as a Pierce Arrow (#8246) vehicle, with a right-hand drive. The flat right front tire was 'improved' in the stamp design by Bureau engraver Clair Aubrey Huston. Sixteen plate numbers were used to print the issue; more than 30,000,000 stamps were issued, printed from the flat bed press.

In 1928, Special Delivery rates were again raised, making the 20 cent stamp pay the Special Delivery fee for parcels weighing over two but less than 10 pounds which kept the stamp current for many years to come.

airmail special delivery design.