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All new stamps will be 'forever'

Starting early next year, new first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2010 9:13PM

Finally, some good news from the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service: New first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination on their face. That means the new stamps you buy next year can be used to mail a letter or pay a bill no matter how many times the first-class rate goes up. 


Every first-class stamp will be a "Forever" stamp -- those denomination-free stamps that first appeared in April 2007. The change is expected to debut with a new stamp issued on Jan. 22. 


We can see several pluses in this:

  • You won't have to mess with 1- or 2-cent stamps whenever rates go up so you can use up your non-Forever first-class stamps.
  • You'll no longer have to choose between the practical but boring Forever stamp and the more festive 44-cent stamps the post office sells. Given a choice between the Liberty Bell and Calvin and Hobbes, I've been eschewing the Forever stamp and going with the cartoon characters.
  • You won't have to anticipate every postal rate increase and plan your stamp supply accordingly. 

Can you see any downsides to this?


The Postal Service hadn't planned to share the news until Jan. 14, but a clever reporter picked up on it when the new first-class commemorative stamps for 2011 were officially unveiled. They are all labeled "Forever."


What else is on those stamps? USA Today reports:

Notable figures and events include Ronald Reagan, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, Buzz Lightyear of "Toy Story," actors Helen Hayes, Carmen Miranda and Gregory Peck, Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan, author Mark Twain, artist Edward Hopper, the Civil War, the Indianapolis 500, the U.S. Merchant Marine and jazz appreciation.

I'm partial to the Gregory Peck stamp. But does this mean the 44-cent Simpsons stamp will be retired? If so, how sad. However, I seem to be in the minority. The Associated Press reports:

The Postal Service says that 28 billion Forever Stamps have been sold since (they first appeared), generating $12.1 billion in total revenue. The stamps without denominations already account for 85 percent of its stamp program, the service says.

More from MSN Money:

Dec 29, 2010 11:39AM
The only downside of "Forever" stamps is that they can't be used for international mail, which requires postage with denominations. 
Dec 29, 2010 3:30PM
Mostly a good cost-saving move by USPS. Cost of printing and especially the distribution of 2 cent stamps more than their value and revenue they generate. Good for everyone.
Apr 30, 2012 9:09PM

Raise the letter rate to $1.00. Not many use it anymore and when you do, it's a luxury. Who in their right mind carries a letter across the country for 44 cents! You know there's no competition... FedEx and UPS don't want any part of that business... because it's labor intensive.

Then, hammer the junk mailers with much higher rates... most of that stuff goes in the trash anyway, we all know it. Those poor postal carriers are stuck carrying a massive bag around with 90% pure junk that goes straight in the trash. Get rid of it... or at least price it out of the market.

Then , be a bit more competitive with the parcel carriers (UPS & FedEx). Priority Mail is an EXCELLENT service, I use it all the time. It is also cheaper than UPS if you're not a commercial customer.

With the amount of mail order/internet shopping that goes on, and the infrastructure that the postal service has in place, their business should be booming, not suffering. The internet was a great opportunity for USPS to really step up and they blew it... but it's not too late.

It's the letters & junk mail that are killing it... not the parcel carrying service. If I had to mail a letter (which I do maybe once a month), I'd gladly pay a dollar for it... who else am I gonna get to do it anyway?

Aug 12, 2011 9:13PM

" common sense" The high cost of technology, maintenance and electricity to power all these machinery is costing the post office millions of dollars just to reach a perfect number 100 percent. We all understand that technology moves the mail faster , but it comes with an astronomical high price. Lets be realistic and practice what you preach about going green. If the volume is so low, why are we using so much  energy cost, just to reach a number? Lets go back to basic on days when we are down and use energy when it's really necessary to achieve a high volume day. Utilize all your clerk employees to case and organize the mail, like in the past. Give it a shot, lets really go green and reap the benefits by saving energy. Word of advice, no more bonuses for higher up, because we really need the money. Save the post office by telling all our peers to pay bills by mail and not online. I pay all my bills by mail, what's your excuse? 

Jan 4, 2012 11:09PM
Savvy one, no they don't.  I routinely used Forever stamps to send numerous letters and flats to Guyana, S. America.  Never once has one ever been lost or returned for lack of postage.  See, the USA is party/signatory to many International treaties involving the handling and delivery of mail.  The foreign post office doesn't get anything for delivering US mail, nor does the USPS get anything for delivering foreign mail to US residents.  It's a wash.  You must be thinking of Canada, where it can take a month to send a letter from Detroit to Windsor, Ont.  That's just typical gov't employee shiftlessness.
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