Rhode Island Registered and Official Mail
December 16, 1914 Registered Letter
The Manchester Company - Woonsocket, Rhode Island
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This cover shown above is a 2 Cent Embossed Postal Envelope, Scott #U411 - Die 3 (covers the postage rate) and was sent registered on December 16, 1914 to Mr. Fred Martin in Greene, NY from the Manchester Company in Woonsocket, RI. The 10 cent Registry Stamp, Scott #F1 is tied to the cover by a Woonsocket oval cancellation. There are two Woonsocket, RI and one Greene, NY registry cancels on the reverse of the cover along with a 1914 Christmas Seal, Scott WX15, (not tied). Registry Stamps were only in use for 17 months and are fairly scarce on cover.

The Postal Act of March 3, 1855, effective on April 1, 1855 established the Registered Mail System with a an initial fee of 5 cents, which was in addition to the regular postage rates. The fee was increased to 20 cents on June 30, 1863 and reduced to 15 cents on January 1, 1869. It was reduced again on January 1, 1874 to 8 cents. The fee was increased to 10 cents on July 1, 1875 and reduced to 8 cents again on January 1, 1893. It was increased to 10 cents once more on November 1, 1909, which was the rate in effect when the letter was mailed. 

This 10 Cent pale ultramarine registry stamp was issued on December 1, 1911 and was in general use until May 28, 1913 when it was abolished by order of the Postmaster General. Usage was permitted until existing stocks were exhausted. This cover was mailed almost 19 months after the stamp was abolished.

Regular postage stamps were used to make up the registered rates prior to 1911 and this is also true for registered mail sent today. The early registered covers with their various combinations of stamps are highly valued and sought after by collectors of Postal History.

SEE ALSO: 1895 Registered Letter and 1913 Registered Letter via Lusitania

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