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.

Printed Matter

A rate of 1 cent for newspapers and other non-handwritten mail was probably introduced at the same time the newspaper wrapper was issued in 1892. This 1 cent rate for all printed material appears to have remained constant until the early 1920s, when new postal regulations began to distinguish between periodicals, e.g. at least quarterly appearing magazines, charged as second class mail at 2 cents per pound [6], and all other “printed matter”, e.g. circulars, at 1 cent per 2 oz. (third class mail, see [6] and confirmed for 1928 in [3]). A special airmail rate of 12 cents for printed matter can be inferred from covers sent out from about 1960 on, raised to 15c in the late ’60s.

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. Ben Hamilton indicates in [3] that the 15 cents stamp of the 1928 issue was intended for the registration and return receipt fee combinded, but it is unkown since when and for how long this rate was in effect.

  • 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.
  • Liberian PPC

    picture postcards with views of Liberia
    • to 1918

      • Liberia → Hamburg 1901

        Picture postcard sent on March 12, 1901 from Liberia to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Paris 1901

        Picture postcard sent on December 18, 1901 from Monrovia to Paris, France; franking of 6 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Liberia → Hamburg 1904

        Picture postcard sent on April 17, 1904 from Liberia via German Seapost to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Liberia → Hamburg 1901

        Picture postcard sent on October 30, 1901 from Liberia to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Hamburg 1898

        Picture postcard sent on July 5, 1898 from Monrovia to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Harper → Berlin 1899

        Picture postcard sent on August 2, 1899 from Harper to Berlin, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Harper → Berlin 1901

        Picture postcard sent on December 14, 1901 from Harper to Berlin, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Grüningen 1902

        Picture postcard sent on September 16, 1902 from Monrovia to Grüningen (Greußen), Thuringia, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Africa → Welsede 1904

        Picture postcard (German field post) sent on May 14, 1904 from Africa via Imperial Post steamer (RPD) "Herzog" to Welsede (Hessisch-Oldendorf), Germany
      • Africa → Schirgiswalde 1905

        Picture postcard (German field post) sent on February 28, 1905 from Africa via German Seapost to Schirgiswalde, Germany
      • Harper → Freiburg 1905

        Picture postcard sent on February 4, 1905 from Harper to Freiburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Freiburg 1905

        Picture postcard sent on February 8, 1905 from Monrovia to Freiburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Dresden 1905

        Picture postcard sent on February 27, 1905 from Monrovia via Loango-Marseille Line to Dresden, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Spandau 1905

        Picture postcard sent on June 7, 1905 from Monrovia to Spandau, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Germany 1907

        Philatelic picture postcard sent on May 25, 1907 from Monrovia via German Seapost to ?, Germany; franking of 80 cents
      • Liberia → Selb 1907

        Picture postcard sent on October 23, 1907 from Liberia via German steamer "Adolph Woermann" to Selb, Bavaria; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Frankfurt 1907

        Picture postcard sent on November 27, 1907 from Monrovia via German Seapost to Frankfurt am Main, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Neu Ulm 1908

        Picture postcard sent on November 9, 1908 from Monrovia via Imperial German MSP No. 59 (small cruiser "Sperber") to Neu Ulm, Germany; franking of 5 Pfennig covering German postcard rate
      • Monrovia → Hamburg 1910

        Picture postcard sent on March 17, 1910 from Monrovia via German Seapost to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Monrovia → Torgau 1910

        Picture postcard sent on March 17, 1910 from Monrovia via German Seapost to Torgau, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Monrovia → Hermsdorf 1911

        Picture postcard sent on December 30, 1911 by Erich Parche from Monrovia to Hermsdorf bei Altenberg, Saxony, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Monrovia → Salzburg, 1912

        Picture postcard sent on February 9, 1912 by Erich Parche from Monrovia to Salzburg, Austria; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Liberia → Gießen 1912

        Picture postcard sent on June 23, 1912 from on board a ship to Gießen, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Monrovia → Findlay 1912

        Picture postcard sent on July 1, 1912 from Monrovia to Findlay, Ohio, USA; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Liberia → Bingerville 1912

        Picture postcard sent on July 9, 1912 from Liberia to Bingerville, Ivory Coast; franking of 5 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Harper → Oxford 1913

        Picture postcard sent on June 13, 1913 from Harper to Oxford, England; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Monrovia → Flensburg 1914

        Picture postcard sent on May 30, 1914 from Monrovia to Flensburg, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Liberia → Standish 1915

        Picture postcard sent on August 19-21, 1915 from Liberia via Sierra Leone to Standish, Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England; franking of 2 cents covering postcard rate (2 cents)
    • 1919 to 1945

      • Monrovia → Salins 1919

        Picture postcard sent on July 5, 1919 from Monrovia to Salins-les-Bains, Jura, France; franking of 1 cent covering postcard rate (1 cent) ?
      • Monrovia → Hamburg 1923

        Picture postcard sent on July 14, 1923 from Monrovia via England to Hamburg, Germany; franking of 5 cents covering first class mail, first rate (5 cents)
      • Monrovia → Amsterdam 1923

        Picture postcard sent on December 20, 1923 from Monrovia to Amsterdam, Holland; franking of 5 cents covering first class mail, first rate (5 cents)
      • Monrovia → Brest 1924

        Picture postcard sent on August 1, 1924 from Monrovia to Brest, France; franking of 1 cent
      • Buchanan → Ludwigsburg 1926

        Picture postcard sent on December 11, 1926 from Buchanan to Ludwigsburg, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Weilheim 1928

        Picture postcard sent on January 28, 1928 from Monrovia to Weilheim a.d. Teck, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Berlin 1929

        Picture postcard sent in December 1929 from Monrovia to Berlin, Germany; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
      • Monrovia → Barrington 1934

        Picture postcard sent on April 1, 1934 from Monrovia to Barrington, Illinois, USA; franking of 3 cents covering postcard rate (3 cents)
    • 1946 to present

      • Monrovia → Zürich 1956 or later

        Picture postcard sent on February 25, 1956 or later from Monrovia to Zurich, Switzerland; franking of 25 cents covering first airmail rate (25 cents)
      • Robertsfield → Brittnau 1957

        Picture postcard sent on October 22, 1957 from Robertsfield to Brittnau, Switzerland; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Nürnberg 1958

        Picture postcard sent on April 15, 1958 from Monrovia to Nuremberg, Germany; franking of 2 cents covering printed matter postcard rate (2 cents)
      • Robertsfield → Zürich 1960

        Picture postcard sent on December 20, 1960 from Robertsfield to Zurich, Switzerland; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Robertsfield → Roma 1961

        Picture postcard sent on August 9, 1961 from Robertsfield to Rome, Italy; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Paynefield → Olten 1961

        Picture postcard sent on October 23, 1961 from Paynefield to Olten, Switzerland; franking of 12 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Paynefield → Bretten 1962

        Picture postcard sent on January 13, 1962 from Paynefield to Bretten, Germany; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Madelia 1964

        Picture postcard sent on October 30, 1964 from Monrovia to Madelia, Minnesota, USA; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Oldenburg 1965

        Picture postcard sent on April 21, 1965 from Monrovia to Oldenburg, Germany; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Paynefield → Nürnberg 1965

        Picture postcard sent on June 24, 1965 from Paynefield to Nuremberg, Germany; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Paynefield → Heppenheim 1965

        Picture postcard sent on October 30, 1965 from Paynefield to Heppenheim, Germany; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Robertsfield → Budapest 1966

        Picture postcard sent on January 11, 1966 from Robertsfield to Budapest, Hungary; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → München 1966

        Picture postcard sent on October 4, 1966 from Monrovia to Munich, Germany; franking of 12 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Genova 1967

        Picture postcard sent on April 8, 1967 from Monrovia to Genoa, Italy; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Drexel Hill 1967

        Picture postcard sent in 1967 from Monrovia to Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, USA; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Mobile P.O. Box 1 → Berlin 1968

        Picture postcard sent on February 28, 1968 from Mobile P.O. Box 1 to Berlin, Germany; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → London 1968

        Picture postcard sent on October 21, 1968 from Monrovia to London, England; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Vendôme 1968

        Picture postcard sent on November 12, 1968 from Monrovia to Vendôme, France; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Vendôme 1968

        Picture postcard sent on December 2, 1968 from Monrovia to Vendôme, France; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Vendôme ca. 1968

        Picture postcard sent in ca. 1968 from Monrovia to Vendôme, France; franking of 10 cents covering postcard rate (10 cents)
      • Monrovia → Los Angeles 1971

        Picture postcard sent on February 16, 1971 from Monrovia to Los Angeles, California, USA; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → Neubiberg 1973

        Picture postcard sent on June 25, 1973 from Monrovia to Neubiberg, Germany; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → München 1974

        Picture postcard sent on October 26, 1974 from Monrovia to Munich, Germany; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → Plüderhausen 1975

        Picture postcard sent on May 21, 1975 from Monrovia to Plüderhausen, Germany; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → Redlands 1977

        Picture postcard sent on November 17, 1977 from Monrovia to Redlands, California, USA; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → Berlin 1977

        Picture postcard sent on December 22, 1977 from Monrovia to Berlin, Germany; franking of 15 cents covering postcard rate (15 cents)
      • Monrovia → Kobe 1980

        Picture postcard sent on July 5, 1980 from Monrovia to Kobe, Japan; franking of 20 cents covering postcard rate (20 cents)
      • Monrovia → Karachi 1982

        Picture postcard sent on June 26, 1982 from Monrovia to Karachi, Pakistan; franking of 25 cents covering postcard rate (20 cents)
      • Monrovia → Elizabethtown 1985

        Picture postcard sent on March 18, 1985 from Monrovia to Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA; franking of 20 cents covering postcard rate (20 cents)
      • Monrovia → Napoli 1988 or later

        Picture postcard sent in 1988 or later from Monrovia to Naples, Italy; franking of 20 cents covering postcard rate (20 cents)
      • Monrovia → Viareggio 1988 or later

        Picture postcard sent in 1988 or later from Monrovia to Viareggio, Italy; franking of 35 cents covering postcard rate (35 cents)
      • Monrovia → Viareggio 1988 or later

        Picture postcard sent in 1988 or later from Monrovia to Viareggio, Italy; franking of 35 cents covering postcard rate (35 cents)
      • Monrovia → Berlin 1990

        Picture postcard sent on January 15, 1990 from Monrovia to Berlin, Germany; franking of 35 cents covering postcard rate (35 cents)