U.S. Special Delivery Stamps

The history of American Special Delivery stamps dates back to 1885, when the United States Postal Service launched a priority service that would get mail to its destination faster than first class. Special Delivery letters and parcels were delivered directly to the recipient as soon as they arrived at the post office, rather than being sent out with the next day’s mail.   

Special Delivery was available for an additional 10 cent fee, which was to be paid on top of regular postage. To facilitate this, an act of Congress authorized the printing of new stamps — many of which are highly collectible to this day.

Special Delivery service was limited at first to towns with a population of 4000 or more, though the service proved popular and was quickly expanded nationwide. It remained an option until 1997 when it was finally phased out due to budget cuts.

Special Delivery Stamp Values

U.S. Special Delivery stamps span over 110 years of the American postal tradition. As a result, values vary widely based on year and condition. Some of the earliest Special Delivery stamps are the most valuable, particularly those dating from 1885. These early stamps feature a messenger hand delivering a letter and bear the words “Secures immediate delivery at a special delivery office.” When service was expanded, that wording was changed to “Secures immediate delivery at any post office,” a subtle difference that nonetheless is important to collectors.

Other collectible U.S. Special Delivery stamps include the 1908 10¢ Helmet of Mercury, which was produced for less than six months, as well as a unique orange variation printed as part of the 1893 Columbian Issue.

Why Buy U.S. Special Deliveries Stamps?

American philately is a particularly demanding hobby in part because the sheer wealth of available stamps makes it nearly impossible to accumulate a full collection. Many collectors choose to focus on a specific area, with Special Delivery stamps being a popular choice.

If you’re interested in beginning or adding to your stamp collection, contact Apfelbaum, Inc. today. We have a large number of U.S. Special Delivery stamps for sale and regularly hold upwards of 30 sales a year through our Public Auctions & Buy It Now sales, all available through our website.

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