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Special Delivery Rates 1891-1993


1977 60p special delivery fee, uprated OHMS National Physical Lab envelope

"Under this Service Letters and Parcels are forwarded by Mail in the regular course of post to any Express Delivery Office in the Kingdom, and on arrival there are sent out for delivery by Special Messenger."

Most express covers that are seen are from this service, where postage and express fees were paid by the sender in stamps affixed to the cover. Rates were initially per mile, from August 1938 a flat fee.

From 1938 this service was referred to as "Special Delivery", with the term "Express" confined to its original Service I/Service V meaning of a letter sent by messenger all the way. Separate "Special Delivery" labels (originally white on green) were introduced in the 1960s, although not always used in preference to the red Express labels!

Upon the introduction of two-tier post on 16th September 1968 it applied only to first class letters, and from 28th July 1980 special delivery became the only service generally available, being rebranded with new purple labels. The system eventually merged with the registration system in 1993 as what became known as Priority Services, as in practice the two systems had many similarities of handling.

Date Fee Date Fee Date Fee Date Fee
1891
(1 Aug)

Circular 12 Jun 1891
2d first mile

3d each extra mile
1892
(1 Jan)

Circular 17 Dec 1891
3d per mile 1919
(1 Jun)

Circular 27 Jun 1919
6d per mile 1938
(Aug)

Wellsted
6d
1956
(1 Jan)

Circular 6 Oct 1955
1s 1965
(17 May)

Circular 24 Mar 1965
3s 1971
(15 Feb)

Leaflet
20p 1974
(24 Jun)

Leaflet
40p
1975
(29 Sep)

Leaflet
60p 1979
(20 Aug)

Furfie
80p 1981
(26 Jan)

Compendium
1.25 1982
(1 Feb)

Compendium
1.50
1988
(5 Sep)

Leaflet
1.65 1989
(2 Oct)

Furfie
1.75 1990
(17 Sep)

Compendium
1.85 1991
(16 Sep)

Leaflet
1.95
1993
(27 Jun)

Leaflet
Last day