Cover Gallery

The postal rates in use at a particular time are often difficult to assess because so may letters sent from Liberia are clearly over-franked. Even non-philatelists would use extra stamps on their covers for decoration because of their exotic appearance. Consequently, some items shown in this cover gallery cannot be taken as examples for correct franking.
The rates given below have been compiled from various sources and supplemented with my own findings, but I do not claim this listing to be complete or even error-free.

Letters (Surface Mail)

In 1860, Liberia issued her first postage stamps matching the rates of 6 cents per half-ounce or fraction thereof for local letters, 12 cents for distant towns and Sierra Leone and 24 cents for international mail. The next two decades saw numerous changes, with different rates applied to different foreign destinations, until Liberia joined the UPU in 1879. In the following, new stamps were issued in 1881/1882 for the rate of 3 cents per ½ oz. for inland mail and 8 cents for international mail. In 1892, the rate for foreign mail was lowered again to 5 cents per ½ oz. (5c and 10c stationery envelopes of 1893, triangle stamp of 1894). The 5 cent base rate essentially remained unchanged until 1968 [1], but sometime between 1923 [2, p.80] and 1928 [3] the single rate changed from half-ounce to ounce. Furthermore, in 1928 the 5 cent rate only applied to the first ounce, with heavier mail being charged at 3 cents per additional ounce [3] (see also [4] confirming the same rates for 1939).
By 1893, there was also in effect a cheaper inland rate of 2 cents per ½ oz. for correspondence between townships of the same county [2, p.69] – hence the 2c stationery envelope - but this “class no. 1” rate was only available until 1912 at most [2, p.71]. The inland rate later changed to 2 cents per ½ oz. for all destinations for a few years, probably sometime between 1918 (“3 CENTS” surcharged triangle stamp) and 1923 [2, p.80], but by 1928 it had changed again to 3 cents per ounce [3]. In the early 1950s the rate changed to 3 cents for the first ounce only, and 2 cents for each additional ounce [5, p.1119] [2, p.86].

Postcards

At first, the rate seems to have been 3 cents flat, irrespective of destination (all stationery postcards are 3c), until about 1910, when it was lowered to 2 cents. By 1923, the special postcard rate had been dropped, now classifying postcards as first class mail like regular handwritten letters requiring the same franking of 5 cents [6]. Despite [3] stating the postcard rate of 1928 to be 2 cents, all my postcards of 1928 or later are franked with 3 cents. The 2 cents rate is confirmed as inland postcard rate for 1950 [2, p.86]).

Airmail

 [4]

Letters sent to or via Europe through the first regular international airmail services beginning in 1937 were charged at 21 cents for the first quarter-ounce, plus 15 cents per additional quarter-ounce. The first rate changed to 25 cents sometime between June 17 and 21 1939 and remained constant until June/July 1940, when all air service was suspended due to WW II; however, the total franking found on some covers of that period - 43 cents at first and 46 cents later - suggests two different second rates, most likely reflecting another rate change in March 1940 (H. Chlanda, pers. comm.). A 50 cents per ½ oz. rate, obviously planned for 1941, was finally set into effect on February 14, 1942 (“First Flight Liberia–US 1941” 50c overprints, but no airmail seems to have left or reached Liberia during that year). The next change came on June 17, 1942 with a 90 cents per ½ oz. rate [7], reduced to 70 cents per ½ oz. about twelve months later. Stamps complementing the 1942 airmail set were issued in 1944 for the new rates including values covering a new inland airmail rate of 12 cents per ½ oz. [8, p.96]. On March 1, 1947, the rate for international airmail was reduced to 25 cents, which remained unchanged until the end of the 1970s.

Registration

has remained constant at 10 cents from 1882 until sometime before 1950, when it changed to 20c for ordinary and air mail, staying at 10 cents for domestic mail [5, p.1119]. International registration fees were raised to 55 cents in the 1960s.

  • Literature:
    1. Weaver, Kent E. (1998): The postal rates of Liberia 1858–1970. LPS Journal Jan./Mar. 1998: 3–7.
    2. Cockrill, Philip: Postal History and Stamps 1835-1945. LIBERIA series booklet 25. Published by House of Antiquity.
    3. Hamilton, Ben Jr. (1937): The 1928 series of Liberian stamps. Scott’s Monthly Journal Oct. 1937: 259–264.
    4. Chlanda, Henry (1989): Liberian air mail rates 1937 to 1947. LPS Journal Jan./Mar. 1989: 2–14.
    5. Price, Frederick A. (1950): The Republic of Liberia. In: First Liberia Stamp Exhibition November 20, 1950—January 6, 1951, National Philatelic Museum 2(9).
    6. Karnga, Abayomi (1923): Liberia Official Postal Guide. Published by the Montserrado Printing and Publishing Company, Monrovia, Liberia.
    7. Rice, Stanley R. (1950): First flight – Liberia–US stamps. Aero Philatelist’s News Vol. 5(9).
    8. Rogers, Henry Harper (1971): A Century of Liberian Philately. Published by Kasimir Bileski. 204pp.
  • Contemporary Mail

    • President Taylor 2003

      • semi-postal issue

        • Mi4711
          2003, Mar. 1
          ♦♦
        • Mi4712
          2003, Mar. 1
          ♦♦♦
        • Mi4713
          2003, Mar. 1
          ♦♦♦
        • Mi4714
          2003, Mar. 1
          ♦♦♦
      • Monrovia → Pasadena

        Airmail express cover sent in 2003 ? from Monrovia to Pasadena, California, USA; franking of $23.50
      • Monrovia → Vogüé

        Airmail cover sent in 2003 ? from Monrovia to Vogüé, France; franking of $15
      • Monrovia → Vogüé

        Airmail express cover sent in 2003 ? from Monrovia to Vogüé, France; franking of $25
    • Chinese Zodiac 2003

      • Monrovia → Heerlen 2016

        Airmail cover sent in 2016 from Monrovia to Heerlen, Netherlands; franking of $90
    • Inauguration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf 2006

      • regular issue

        • 2417
          2006, Aug. 22
          ♦♦
        • 2418
          2006, Aug. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2419
          2006, Aug. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2420
          2006, Aug. 22
          ♦♦♦
      • souvenir sheet

        • 2421
          2006, Aug. 22
          ♦♦♦♦
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2008

        Airmail cover sent on July 8, 2008 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $50
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2008

        Airmail cover sent on July 15, 2008 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $30
      • Monrovia → Accra

        Cover sent in 2008 from Monrovia to Accra, Ghana; franking of $30
    • Millenium Development Goals 2006

      • regular issue

        • 2422
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦
        • 2423
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦
        • 2424
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2425
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2426
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2427
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2428
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦
        • 2429
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦♦
        • 2430
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦♦
        • 2431
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦♦
      • souvenir sheet

        • 2432
          2006, Sep. 22
          ♦♦♦♦
      • Monrovia → Willington

        Airmail cover sent in 2006 ? from Monrovia to Willington, Derby, England; franking of $25
      • Monrovia → Willington

        Registered airmail cover sent in 2006 ? from Monrovia to Willington, Derby, England; franking of $40
    • Masks and Dancers 2009

      • regular issue

        • 2573
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦
        • 2574
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦
        • 2578
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦
        • 2575
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦
        • 2579
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦
        • 2576
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦
        • 2580
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦
        • 2577
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦♦
      • souvenir sheet

        • 2581
          2009, Aug. 2
          ♦♦♦♦
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2013

        Airmail cover sent in 2013 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $90
      • Monrovia → Heerlen 2016

        Cover sent on June 30, 2016 from Monrovia to Heerlen, Netherlands; franking of $80
    • Liberian Presidents 2009

      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2010

        Registered barcoded cover sent on August 9, 2010 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $45
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2011

        Registered barcoded cover sent on May 16, 2011 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $45
    • Liberian Politicians 2010

      • regular issue

        • 2675
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2676
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2677
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2678
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2679
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2680
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2681
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2682
          2010, Dec. 16
        • 2683
          2010, Dec. 16
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2011

        Airmail express cover sent on December 9, 2001 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $25
      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2012

        Airmail cover sent on February 27, 2012 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $45
    • Back to the Soil 2011

      • Buchanan → Heerlen 2016

        Registered airmail cover sent on October 31, 2016 from Buchanan to Heerlen, Netherlands; franking of $85
    • Butterflies 2011

      • Monrovia → Heerlen 2016

        Airmail cover sent in 2016 from Monrovia to Heerlen, Netherlands; franking of $90
    • Nobel Peace Price Winner Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf 2011

      • Monrovia → Wageningen 2015

        Cover sent in 2015 from Monrovia to Wageningen, Netherlands; franking of $75