British Postal Rates to the United States
1968-2000

Originally compiled by Mark Robinson. Updated and modified by Larry Rosenblum.

Published in The Chronicle, the journal of the Great Britain Collectors Club. Reprinted by permission.

Domestic Rates (1966-2006)
Domestic Pricing in Proportion Rates (2006-present)
International Rates (2000-present)

As a Machin collector, one of the challenges of interpreting covers is knowing the correct postal rates, particularly for such a long period. In the table below, I present a list of rates for airmail letters to the United States. For rates after April 26, 2000, see the International Rates page where the U.S. is included in Zone 1.

    First Step Second Step Third Step Additional Charge for:
Beginning Ending 1/2 oz 1 oz   Registered Special Delivery
Jan 1, 1968 Feb 14, 1971 1/6 3/-   3/- 3/-
             
    1/2 oz 1 1/2 oz      
Feb 15, 1971
(Note 3)
Sep 9, 1973 7.5p 15p   20p 20p
Sep 10, 1973 Jun 23, 1974 8p 15p   20p 20p
June 24, 1974 Mar 16, 1975 8p 15p   25p 25p
Mar 17, 1975 Sep 28, 1975 10p 19p   35p 40p
             
    15g 30g      
Sep 29, 1975 Jun 12, 1977? 11p 22p   45p 60p
             
    10g 20g 30g    
Jun 13, 1977 Aug 19, 1979 11p 18.5p 26p 60p 60p
Aug 20, 1979 Feb 3, 1980 13p 22.5p 32p 65p 80p
Feb 4, 1980 Jan 25, 1981 15p 26p 37p 75p £1.00
Jan 26, 1981 Jan 31, 1982 22p 36p 50p 90p £1.25
Feb 1, 1982 Apr 4, 1983 26p 40p 54p £1.00 £1.25
Apr 5, 1983 Sep 2, 1984 28p 42p 56p £1.00 £1.50
Sep 3, 1984 Oct 19, 1986 31p 45p 59p £1.10 £1.50
Oct 20, 1986 Sep 4, 1988 31p 45p 59p £1.20 £1.50
Sep 5, 1988 Oct 1, 1989 32p 47p 62p £1.40 £1.65
Oct 2, 1989 Sep 16, 1990 34p 50p 66p £1.55 £1.75
Sep 17, 1990 Sep 15, 1991 37p 53p 70p £1.75 £1.85
             
    10g 20g 40g   Swiftair
(Note 5)
Sep 16, 1991
(Note 4)
Oct 31, 1993 39p 57p 89p £1.90 £1.95
             
          Recorded
Delivery/
Signed For

(Note 6)
 
Nov 1, 1993 Jul 7, 1996 41p 60p 92p £2.50 £2.70
Jul 8, 1996 Apr 25, 1999 43p 63p 96p £2.50 £2.70
Apr 26, 1999 Apr 26, 2000 44p 64p 99p £2.60 £2.85

Notes about the chart:

1. The table includes the minimum and second step rates. The specific weight that this covered has varied over the years.

Swiftair Label

2. The charges for registered or special delivery were the same as those for domestic mail until the services were discontinued.

3. On February 15, 1971, Great Britain adopted decimal currency. The airmail rate did not change on that day, and the 7.5p rate is equivalent to the old rate of 1/6 (one shilling and six pence).

Swiftair Label 2

4. Airmail letters to the USA were part of Zone B from 1968 until September 15, 1991. On September 16, 1991, Zones A and B were merged into Zone 1.

5. In 1991, Swiftair replaced express and special delivery services for mail going outside the U.K. Registration and recorded delivery service were added to Swiftair in the late 1990s, and discounts were offered when registered or recorded delivery services were combined with Swiftair.

6. International Recorded Delivery became available in 1993 and gradually replaced registered mail for overseas. The name for this service was changed to “International Signed For” sometime prior to 2003. The fee for registered mail was raised to £3.00 on November 1, 1993 and to £3.15 on April 26, 1999. Registered mail became unavailable to the United States in 1999.

For more information about the airmail services, see the notes on the International Rates page.

Some information presented in the table was taken from “Great Britain Domestic and International Postal Rates and Fees” by Anthony S. Wawrukiewicz. For more information, visit Worldwide Postal Rates. Some of the above information is from “Johnson and Peet - British Postal Rates (2000).” Thanks to David Alderfer for the cover with the Swiftair label.



Last update: Tuesday, April 28, 2009   Macintosh!
Copyright © 2005 by Great Britain Collectors Club