American Letter Mail Company Local Stamp
Lysander Spooner founded the American Letter Mail Company as an independent mail line in 1844. He created the company over his issues with the high postal rates set by the US Post Office. At the time, it cost 18 ¾¢ to send a letter from Boston to New York and 25¢ to send one to Washington, DC. But Spooner offered delivery for 6 ¼¢ per half ounce, 20 stamps for a dollar, or even delivered some letters for free.
Spooner believed that while the Constitution provided for a government-run postal service, it didn’t mean others couldn’t also offer those services. In response to Spooner’s lower rates, the government attempted to lower prices by threatening the railroads to withdraw their business. The government took Spooner to court and he won the first case, but was ultimately forced to shut down his operation. The situation did help to temporarily drive down the cost of government-delivered mail.
Local Stamps Make a Neat Addition to Your Collection
Local stamps include stamps issued by Local Posts (city delivery), Independent Mail Routes and Services, Express Companies and other private posts that competed with or supplemented official services. Because only a few local posts used hand stamps for cancelling, most local stamps were left uncancelled. Cancelling, if any, was often done by pen, pencil, or government hand stamp.