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ZIP Codes

The first stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office went on sale in 1847. A five cent stamp pictured Benjamin Franklin, while one costing 10 cents honored George Washington. Before then, there were no uniform stamps-- a haphazard system of private postal services around the country had issued their own. And in 1963, the postal service introduced the five digit ZIP code to help speed mail to the proper destination. That year, Americans sent nearly 68 billion pieces of mail. Today, the postal service handles nearly 208 billion pieces of mail annually -- which works out to about two items for each person in the country every day.


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