The Registration Rates

The following chart illustrates the changes, over the years, in registration fees-excluding postage-for inland letters and, from 1st July , 1879, post cards, charged by the Indian Post Office:

Prior to 1851
   All mail registered free
   8 annas
   4 annas(payable in cash)
   4 annas (payable in stamps)
   2 annas
   3 annas
   4 annas
  4½ annas
   6 annas
   8 annas
  50 N.P.

While registered letters addressed to Great Britain appear to have been subject to Great Britain appear to have been subject to the same registration fees as inland mail, different registration fees applied to letters addressed to continental Europe. Thus, Martin/Blair mention that, from 1st July, 1860 to 1st June, 1875, letters to some European countries, notably France, could be registered at "double postage," i.e., the registration fee was not a fixed sum but an amount equal to the postage.

Commening 1st July, 1882, registered covers usually bear the familiar Blue Crayon Crosses on front and back. This system, which was not always strictly followed, appears to have been phased out around 1915. Thereafter, blue crayon crosses are rarely met with; on the other hand, "Registered-Letter" postal stationery invariably features printed blue crosses.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that, as R.S. Nuttall points out, "Registration in India did not, and still today does not offer automatic compensation [for the loss of a letter], though small ex - gratia payments are sometimes made. " The following message, contained in the Indian Postal Guide of 1880, leaves no doubt about this point : "Registration makes the transmission of an article more secure, as it passes through the hands of comparatively few Postal Officers, every one of whom has to give an acknowledgement of receipt. But although every endeavour will be made to trace the delinquent in case of loss of, or damage to, a registered article, the Government is not responsible for such loss or damage ..."