In the prior three rate periods, the Pony Express fee covered the service between San Francisco and Placerville. In this period, it became an additional service by WF and was subject to an additional charge of 10 cents. This service fee, plus the cost of the 10 cents U.S. postage, meant that a user based in San Francisco had to pay 20 cents (25 cents if not in a WF franked entire), in addition to the $1 pony express fee.
Eastbound mails were collected at WF offices and transmitted to Placerville or the nearest Pony Express station for the additional charge of 10 cents. Westbound mail continued to be sent under cover to the St. Joseph post office in July and early August 1861. By the middle of August, a new westbound mail handling procedure was adopted. Pony Express franked envelopes, pre-addressed to the Pony Express Agent in St. Joseph, began to be sold in eastern WF offices. These franked envelopes were deposited directly into the U.S. postal system at the point of origin and transmitted individually to the Pony Express agent in St. Joseph.
Because of the lower rates in the fourth rate period, WF introduced a new set of $1, $2 and $4 adhesive stamps for eastbound mail and a $1 franked envelope for westbound mail. In addition, a $1 “garter” stamp was created for multiple-weight westbound mails.
A cover carried on the first trip of the fourth period is shown in Figure 13-19. As required, this letter was enclosed in a WF 10 cents star die franked envelope that cost 20 cents for the U.S. postage and the 10 cents WF fee. The express agent added a $1 WF stamp for the Pony Express service and dispatched it on July 3, 1861.