Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bulk Mail : 1971 - 1999

Introduction to Bulk Mail

The Post Office provided a discount rate for quantity mailings of advertizing printed matter or "Bulk Mail". Payment of an item was generally  indicated in two ways:

1.  A permit indicium was  printed or handstamped on the item.

2. A denominated meter impression was applied to the item.

Since permits and meters are generally not popular collectables, bulk mail tends to be ignored. Another reason for the lack of interest may be the fact that this type of mail is commonly referred to as "junk mail" and not considered to be of historical significance.

Bulk mail  rates from 1964 to 1971 was the subject of an earlier post. This article is a continuation, taking us up to 1999.

Bulk Mail Rates

 Rates until the mid-1980s were straightforward, but then became more complicated as  different categories of bulk mail based on factors such as mail preparation and pre-sortation by the mailer were introduced by Canada Post :
Pre-Sortation Categories
  • Machinable Pre-Sort
  • NDG  (National Distribution Guide) Pre-Sort
  • Letter Carrier Pre-Sort
  • Others
In the examples shown below, I have not identified pre-sortation categories, nor have I prepared a chart showing bulk mail rates from 1971 to 1999.

Denominated metered covers are used to show  the rates in this article because permit mail is usually undated and undenominated. However, I have included examples of permit mail at the end of this posting.

5 cents for the first two ounces : July 1, 1971 - February 28, 1977

Montreal, April, 1976
5 cents first weight step

6 cents for the first two ounces : March 1, 1977 - March 31, 1977

Toronto, January 13, 1978
6 cents first weight step

7 1/2 cents : April 1, 1978 - March 31, 1979

Collectors are often surprised when they come across fractional rates.  The 7 1/2 cent bulk mail  rate was in effect for one year.

Toronto, August, 1978

9 cents

a) 2 ounces : April 1, 1979 - June 30, 1979
b) 50 grams (metrication) : July 1, 19799 - December 31, 1981

Toronto, January 4, 1980
9 cents bulk mail rate for 50 grams

From this point on, I will not be providing effective dates for the rate . Rates become complicated in this time period. Covers are shown in chronological order.

August 1986 : 15 cents

Toronto, August 1986

September 1989 : 17 1/2 cents

Heart and Stroke Foundation mailing with the following message printed on the envelope:
44% of the people reading this letter
will die from heart disease of stroke.
The improved "Ticker Test" inside will tell
you how to reduce your risk.

October 1989 : 21 cents

Mississauga, October, 1989

December 1990 : 18 cents

March , 1991 : 18 1/2 cents

February 1992 : 19 1/2 cents

Neither the term "BULK" or its abbreviation "BLK" appears on the envelope. However, a tiny "nbre", the abbreviation for "envois en nombre", the French expression for bulk mail was printed on the envelope. Could this have been an attempt by the mailer to hide the true nature of the correspondence?

nbre is the abbreviation for the French term for bulk mail, "envois en nombre"


Three different rates are shown : 30c, 21c, and 20c!

May, 1993 : 30 cents

March 1993 : 21 cents 

August 1993 : 20 cents

August, 1995 : 21.2 cents

April 1997 : 24 cents

September 14, 1998 : 29.5 cents

Windsor, Ont., September 14, 1998

February 1999 : 24 cents

Permit Bulk Mail


1993 Border Mailing from U.S. Company

Advertizing Post Card  (1995)

An interesting facsimile of a Greek stamp