29¢ Starting the System
National Postal Museum
Issue Date: July 30, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Located in the lower level of the Washington City Post Office Building on Capitol Hill, the National Postal Museum opened its doors to the public on July 31, 1993. The Smithsonian Institution’s newest addition, the museum is devoted to housing the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps. Fascinating interactive exhibits tell the colorful history of the nation’s mail service.
In 1692 King William II of England gave Thomas Neale the right to provide the American colonies with a postal service and the first national postal system in America was born. When Benjamin Franklin became deputy postmaster general in 1753 the postal system was in desperate need of changes. In an effort to improve the frequency and reliability of mail delivery, Franklin made numerous changes, including replacing riders on horseback with stagecoaches.
As the nation’s boundaries grew, stagecoaches continued to transport mail and passengers across the country. Concord coaches appeared during the 1820’s and were used well into the early 1900’s.