Postal Rates

Venezuela Formular Cards began their journey in 1880, the same year Venezuela joined the Universal Postal Union, or UPU. For good or bad, that caused that its usage and rates were not as polished as they should’ve been.

In this article I am going to explain what happened to the postal rates between 1880 and 1899. However, you might be looking for just a summary so let me get that out of the way and, if you are still interested, keep reading for more information.

Decree #Decree DateEffective DatePostcards-related
2185Dec 22, 1879Jan 1, 1880Venezuela ratifies its desire to joins UPU
Basic general regulations
Unique rate: 10c
2216Jun 11, 1880immedFirst mention of “Correo Urbano”: Defined only for Caracas
Unique rate remains: 10c
2216aJun 23, 1880immedClarifies rates.
Unique rate remains: 10c
2258Nov 23, 1880immedClarifies “Correo Urbano”. Still defined only for Caracas
Sent domestically from Caracas: 5c
Any other way: 10c
7134Jun 10, 1898immedLey de Correos
Redefines “Correo Urbano”, available for every city.
First mention of “Paid-reply cards”
Rates for Correo Urbano: 5c
Rates for international destinations: 10c
Rates for Paid-Reply cards: 20c

Registration: 50c
7282Nov 12, 1898Jan 1, 1899Adding regulationes defined in “UPU Convention” from June 15, 1897, Washington DC, USA.
Maritime Transit Right: 5c
Registration: 50c
Acknowledgement of Receipt: 25c
Decree #Decree DateEffective DatePostcards-related

As we can see, by Jan 1st, 1880, thanks to decree #2185, Venezuela had its first rate for post cards but there was a little problem with it: By that time, no post card has ever been printed in the country. My assumption is that because of that fact, they were a little sloppy with anything post card related.

Decree #2185

Six months later, on June 11, 1880 (#2116), this innovative form of communication called “post card” was finally officialized. In §48 of the same decree, “Correo Urbano” was created in the capital city, Caracas. A basic description for the post card is given, and its rate is ratified: 10c.

A few days later, in June 23, 1880, the decree #2216a clarified some aspects of the rates that were confusing. Unfortunately, not for the postcards whose rate was ratified at 10c regardless of destination or distance.

One of the many frustrations these cards had for their users, was the fact that in order to send one to -say- La Guayra, the user was required to buy the card itself and the stamps separately. That added Bs. 0.05 to the franking of a simple card. With 10 cents more one could’ve send a letter to China!

Decree #2216 and #2216a

It is on November 23, 1880 (decree #2258), where they tried to solve the problem of the cost for the users by lowering the rate for cards sent domestically to Bs. 0.05.

Decree #2258

Unfortunately, the new rate only applied to cards sent from Caracas. The rest of the country was still stuck at 10c per card.

Officially, at least.

There was a de facto acceptance of its usage across the country, or at least in many post offices. That’s why we can find formular cards sent from La Guayra, Carupano, etc., using only a 5 cent stamp (or its equivalent) as in the next image.

However, it seems that by 1888 the practice was discontinued and the correct rate started to be applied:

Sent from Maracaibo to Carúpano on August 28, 1888.

Let’s fast forward 18 years and we found the first substantial change in la cosa postal. In June 10, 1898 (#7134), Venezuela introduced its Ley de Correos, or Posts Law. This law brought many changes to the postal service in Venezuela but let’s focus on those related to post cards.

First of all, it established the creation of Correos Urbanos in every city so now it was official the use of the domestic rate everywhere in the country.

Another important and interesting aspect worth to mention was the “establishment of paid-reply cards”. This is interesting because by the time of this decree, paid-reply cards had been circulating in Venezuela since, at least, 1887 (H&G #2, 4, 6, 7 & 9).

The decree also established new rates for cards sent internationally: 10c for simple cards, 20c for paid-reply ones. For cards sent domestically, the rate remained at 5c.

Registration added 50c to the franking.

Decree #7134

In June 15, 1897, Washington DC, USA, held a UPU Convention where some new norms and regulations were established. Venezuela officialized these new norms in its decree #7282, dated November 12, 1898.

Among other non-postcard related issues, the decree established the Maritime Transit Right at 5c so any post object (letter, postcard, etc) traveling by sea, had to pay additional 5 cents of franking.

Registered postcards paid 50c and acknowledgement of receipt 25c.

Decree #7282


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