Updated March 2001
discusses the standards for mailing a postcard at the card rate.
A question was raised as to whether a
folded sheet of paper (with one half of it glued to the other half
along the edges) can be mailed at the rates prescribed for
rates for postcards are lower than those for letters to reflect the
requirements that these cards conform to all of the prescribed
physical restrictions. Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)
184.108.40.206*, provides that postcards must be rectangular in shape.
Such postcard must be at least 0.007 inch thick and not more than
0.016 inch thick.
220.127.116.11 prescribes (i.e., a card not supplied by the USPS) must be
of uniform thickness and made of unfolded and uncreased paper
or card stock of approximately the quality and weight of a stamped
card. It may be formed of one piece of paper or card stock or two
pieces of paper that are permanently and uniformly bonded together.
The stock used for a postcard may be of any light color that does
not prevent legibile addresses and postmasrks from being placed
thereon. Brilliant colors must not be used.
postal regulations governing postcards contained in DMM 101.6.3 are
based on statutory law enacted by the Congress (Act of May 19, 1898,
Chap. 347, 30 Stat. 419). Historically, there have been rather
precise statutory restrictions to which postcards have had to
conform. From their beginning in 1898 as private mailing cards,
Congress mandated that cards "... be approximately of the same form,
quality, and weight as the stamped postal card ...." Quite simply,
it is not enough for a customer to create a product and represent it
as a postcard merely because it fits within the size restrictions
prescribed for a postcard. A postcard must necessarily conform to
all other requirements in DMM 101.6.3, including being of
approximately the same form, quality, and weight as a stamped card.
When a piece of paper has been folded over and glued together on the
edges to create a peel-open mailpiece, that mailpiece cannot be said
to be representative of the same form as a postal card because
stamped cards are not formed that way. The postcard "form"
restriction can be no more overlooked than any other physical
restriction legally mandated for postcards.
also DMM 201.1.2.
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436