Introduction to Postal History

Postal History is a study of all postally related items which includes, but is not limited to postage stamps, postal envelopes, post cards, cancellations, watermarks, types of paper, printing methods, stamp inks, transportation methods, and individual histories of the mailed item or items.

On these pages,  we will be covering the postal history of  "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."  Illustrations of Rhode Island stamp issues, Event and First Day Covers, cancellation variations, stampless covers (pre 1847), post cards, and other postal items will be used along with the text to enhance your philatelic experience while visiting these pages.

Our intention is not only to cover Rhode Island postal history, but to use it as a tool in writing about and covering the actual history of the people and State of Rhode Island and to introduce and hopefully spark your interest in the great hobby of stamp collecting.

Stampless Trans-Atlantic Cover (1833-1838) - transported on the
Black Ball Line's Packet Ship "South America" to Providence, RI

The Act of Congress of March 3, 1845 established the rates of postage and the Act of Congress of  March 3, 1847 authorized the Postmaster General  to issue postage stamps. Regular United States postage was first issued on July 1, 1847. There were two stamps; the 5c Ben Franklin and the 10c George Washington imperforate issues. Between these two acts,  (1845-1847) Postmasters in various cities issued what became known as Postmasters' Provisionals. The Providence, RI Postmaster's Provisional illustrated on the left below was issued on August 24, 1846. The issues center and right are reprints made from the same plates and were issued in 1898.

Postmasters Provisional
Providence RI - 10x1

Postmasters Provisional
Providence, RI - 10x1R
1898 Reprint - Letter B

Postmasters Provisional
Providence, RI - 10x2R
1898 Reprint - No Letter

View All of the Rhode Island Related Issues
(26) Full Size Regular Issues plus Wildlife Issues

  A Selection of Rhode Island State regular issues illustrated below

R.I. Tercentenary
Roger Williams
Issued May 4, 1936
Scott #777

First Automated P.O.
Providence, RI
Issued Oct 20, 1960
Scott #1164

Commodore Perry
Opening of Japan
Issued  July 14, 1963
Scott #1021

R.I. 1775 Flag
Flag carried by
1st R.I. Regiment
Issued July 4, 1968
Scott #1349

R. I.  State Flag
Issued Feb 23, 1976
Scott #1645

Windmills Booklet 
Rhode Island
Issued Feb 7, 1980
Scott #1739

State Bird & Flower
Issued April 14, 1982
Scott #1991

R.I. Statehood
Old Slater Mill
Issued 1987-1990
Scott #2348

Greetings from RI
34 cent issue
April 4, 2002

RI Historical Society
The Post Offices
Home Page
RI Tercentenary Issue History
RI Philatelic Society
Recently Added Pages
Philatelic Primer
Rhode Island Around the World
Rhode Island Town Postmarks
Other Websites of Interest