Railway Letter Stamps

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In 1891 the Railway Letter Act became law and new adhesive stamps, Railway Letter Stamps, were issued by those Railway.

Companies who were signatories to the Act. The Act laid down the colour and design of the Railway Letter Stamps and Regulations for the Conveyance of Railway Letters. The colour of the railway letter stamp was to be green and the design as shown by the Cambrian Railways stamp shown here. The railway letter fee was fixed at twice the postage and a postage stamp had to be affixed as well to comply with the Post Office’s monopoly for the carriage of letters. When, following the Great War, the postage rate rose to 1½d and then to 2d the Railway Letter Fee rose to 3d and then 4d to comply with the Act. Railway Letters Overseas

A small number of other countries, notably Iraq, the Netherlands and South Africa, had railway systems which operated a railway letter service, although South African Railways never issued special stamps for the purpose. Shown here is an Iraqi railway letter despatched by train from Khanaqin City on 19 September, 1928 and posted on arrival in Baghdad. RAILWAY PARCEL AND NEWSPAPER STAMPS

The conveyance of goods other than letters was not the subject of a Post Office monopoly and, therefore, not subject to the same restrictions. No Act of Parliament governed the design of stamps and labels for the carriage of parcels and newspapers, etc. Consequently railway parcel and newspaper stamps on the one hand exhibit a much greater diversity of design, and on the other hand are much less well documented. The Mersey Railway parcel stamp shown here, depicting one of the then new Westinghouse electric trains, was issued in about 1905.