Post office
Post-office box
Postage rate
Postal code
In Australia, Canada, and the U.S., “mail” is commonly used both for the postal system and for the letters, postcards, and parcels it carries; in New Zealand, “post” is more common for the postal system and “mail” for the material delivered; in the UK, “post” prevails in both senses. However, the British, American, Australian, and Canadian national postal services are called, respectively, the “Royal Mail”, the “United States Postal Service”, “Australia Post”, and “Canada Post”; in addition, such fixed phrases as “post office” or “junk mail” are found throughout the English-speaking world.
“mail, n.2”. (Unabridged (v 1.1) ed.). 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-19.
Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company, 1963, pp 662–3.
Universal Postal Union. “History”. Accessed 2 October 2013.
Herodotus, Herodotus, trans. A.D. Godley, vol. 4, book 8, verse 98, pp. 96–97 (1924).
“Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2007-07-28. First Issues Collectors Club (retrieved 25 September)
Dorn 2006: 145
Prasad 2003: 104
Mazumdar 1990: 1
Aiyangar 2004: 302
Peabody 2003: 71
Lowe 1951: 134
Mote 1978: 450
“Rowland Hill’s Postal Reforms”. The British Postal Museum & Archive. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
[ USPS volume report by The Boston Consulting Group on USPS public website]
First Class Mail Volume, 1926-2010 Archived 2012-01-14 at the Wayback Machine.
Baldwin, N. C. (1960), p. 5, Fifty Years of British Air Mails, Francis J.Field Ltd.
“United States Code: Title 18, 1702. Obstruction of correspondence”. Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
Back when spies played by the rules Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine., Deccan Herald, January 17, 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
Article 8(1): Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. “[1]”. External link in |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help) (179 KB)
CIA Intelligence Collection About Americans Archived 2008-12-27 at the Wayback Machine. (400 KB download)
“Significant Years in U.S. Postal History”. United States Postal Service. 2015. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
“Treaties”. Postal Matters. United States Embassy, Bulgaria. 25 June 1990. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
City Mail, Sweden Archived 2005-07-30 at
“Frycklund, Jonas Private Mail in Sweden, Cato Journal Vol. 13, No. 1 (1993)” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-01-29. (511 KB)
“First-Class Mail”. USPS. Archived from the original on 2011-10-15. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
“Postal service cuts mean slower mail in 2012”. CBS News. Associated Press. 2011-12-05. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
“Sending Mail”. Royal Mail. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
“Lettermail”. Canada Post. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
for example documents served under The Law of Property Act 1925
e.g. Railtrack Plc v Gojra, Kinch v Bullard and most recently Blunden v Frogmore Investments Ltd.
“Postal Service Helps Businesses “Stick” to their Message”. 2005-04-05. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
“Marketing ‘Notes’ Extended for Additional Year: U.S. Postal Service Governors Issue Decision on Repositionable Notes”. 2007-07-06. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
“Cut-Out Postcard – Postage Due”. Archived from the original on 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
Further reading


Multi-franked registered mail from Crete using Greek stamps during the Union with Greece to Egypt in 1914 showing numbered registration label
Registered mail allows the location and in particular the correct delivery of a letter to be tracked. It is usually considerably more expensive than regular mail, and is typically used for valuable items. Registered mail is constantly tracked through the system.

Recorded mail is handled just like ordinary mail with the exception that it has to be signed for on receipt. This is useful for legal documents where proof of delivery is required.

In the United Kingdom recorded delivery mail (branded as signed for by the Royal Mail) is covered by The Recorded Delivery Services Act 1962. Under this legislation any document which its relevant law requires service by registered post[30] can also be lawfully served by recorded delivery. This act states that any recorded delivery item is deemed to have been delivered at the instant it is posted if; (a) the item is delivered and signed for at the delivery address or handed over and signed for the at local sorting office (see (c)); (b) delivery is refused by any person occupying the address or (c) if the item is not collected from the sorting office within seven days following a non delivery because there is no reply to the postman and he leaves a collection card. The sorting office will return the item to the sender after the seventh day. The sender should retain the item unopened as proof that the item has been delivered (at least in law if not in fact). Although much case law has attempted to undermine the provisions of the Act, it has done little but reinforce the point.[31]

Repositionable notes
The United States Postal Service introduced a test allowing “repositionable notes” (for example, 3M’s Post-it notes) to be attached to the outside of envelopes and bulk mailings,[32] afterwards extending the test for an unspecified period.[33]

Postal cards and postcards
Postal cards and postcards are small message cards which are sent by mail unenveloped; the distinction often, though not invariably and reliably, drawn between them is that “postal cards” are issued by the postal authority or entity with the “postal indicia” (or “stamp”) preprinted on them, while postcards are privately issued and require affixing an adhesive stamp (though there have been some cases of a postal authority’s issuing non-stamped postcards). Postcards are often printed to promote tourism, with pictures of resorts, tourist attractions or humorous messages on the front and allowing for a short message from the sender to be written on the back. The postage required for postcards is generally less than postage required for standard letters; however, certain technicalities such as their being oversized or having cut-outs,[34] may result in payment of the first-class rate being required.

Postcards are also used by magazines for new subscriptions. Inside many magazines are postage-paid subscription cards that a reader can fill out and mail back to the publishing company to be billed for a subscription to the magazine. In this fashion, magazines also use postcards for other purposes, including reader surveys, contests or information requests.

Postcards are sometimes sent by charities to their members with a message to be signed and sent to a politician (e.g. to promote fair trade or third world debt cancellation).

Other mail services

This antique “letter-box” style U.S. mailbox is both on display and in use at the Smithsonian Institution Building.
Larger envelopes are also sent through the mail. These are often composed of a stronger material than standard envelopes and are often used by businesses to transport documents that may not be folded or damaged, such as legal documents and contracts. Due to their size, larger envelopes are sometimes charged additional postage.

Packages are often sent through some postal services, usually requiring additional postage than an average letter or postcard. Many postal services have limitations as to what a package may or may not contain, usually placing limits or bans on perishable, hazardous or flammable materials. Some hazardous materials in limited quantities may be shipped with appropriate markings and packaging, like an ORM-D label. Additionally, as a result of terrorism concerns, the U.S. Postal Service subjects their packages to numerous security tests, often scanning or x-raying packages for materials that might be found in biological materials or mail bombs.

Newspapers and magazines are also sent through postal services. Many magazines are simply placed in the mail normally (but in the U.S., they are printed with a special bar code that acts as pre-paid postage – see POSTNET), but many are now shipped in shrinkwrap to protect the loose contents of the magazine. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, newspapers and magazines were normally posted using wrappers with a stamp imprint.

Hybrid mail, sometimes referred to as L-mail, is the electronic lodgement of mail from the mail generator’s computer directly to a Postal Service provider. The Postal Service provider is then able to use electronic means to have the mail piece sorted, routed and physically produced at a site closest to the delivery point. It is a type of mail growing in popularity with some Post Office operations and individual businesses venturing into this market. In some countries, these services are available to print and deliver emails to those who are unable to receive email, such as the elderly or infirm. Services provided by Hybrid mail providers are closely related to that of mail forwarding service providers.

See also
icon transport portal
Express mail
Parcel (package)
Shipping insurance
Universal Postal Union
List of postal entities
Components of a postal system:

Letter box
Mail carrier
Mail bag
Mail train
Post box