Postage due is the term used for mail sent with insufficient postage. A postage due stamp is a stamp added to an underpaid piece of mail to indicate the extra postage due.
After the advent of postage stamps, customers were now making their own decisions about the right amount to pay. Hence, the problem of underpaid mail became serious. Some countries have simply adopted the expedient of returning the letter to the sender; many others have taken the approach of delivering the letter and collecting the fee from the recipient.
Initially, the process was handled by a clerk writing something like "Due 3 cents" on the cover, but this was subject to abuse by mail carriers, who might write it on themselves and pocket the difference. The problem was solved by France in 1859, with the issuance of official postage due to stamps.
These stamps were affixed at the delivery office before being taken out to the recipients. Postage due stamps are almost always used only within a single country they are, hence, usually quite simple in design.
The design of the World’s First postage Due Stamp was also very basic. The denomination “10 CENTIMES” for the amount due is in the centre surrounded by a frame containing, clockwise, the words “Postes” (posts), “Chiffre” (numeral), “Postes” again, and “Taxe” (tax due). Below the numeral 10 are the words “a percevoir,” meaning “to be collected.”
When other nations’ postal administrations saw the benefits of France’s postage due stamps, they began issuing their own.
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