“Forever Stamps” are a move by the U.S. Postal Service to end the inconvenience of increasingly frequent postage rate increases. By issuing the first-class Forever Stamp, the Postal Service eliminates the need for buying 1-or-2 cent stamps every time there is a postage increase. On a Forever Stamp, instead of a monetary denomination in the lower right corner, it will simply read “forever.”
Forever first-class, no matter what
Starting Jan. 14, Forever Stamps will be accepted by the USPS for all first-class mail weighing an ounce or less (a typical letter), regardless of the current postage rate. All the 2011 first-class commemorative stamps presented by the Postal Service on Dec. 28 bear the word “forever” instead of the current first-class postage rate of 44 cents. Postage rates have increased six times in the last decade. The current first-class postage rate will increase in 2011 if the USPS gets its way. However, the diminishing number of people using Forever Stamps to mail typical letters in a number 10 envelope won’t have to worry about it.
Will the Postal Service last forever?
Forever Stamps for all typical letters is a new policy, but the first Forever Stamp was issued in April 2007. Since then the USPS has sold 28 billion Forever Stamps and collected more than $12 billion in revenue. Even so, the USPS is in dire financial straits as fewer people rely on the U.S. Mail in an era of e-mail, e-commerce and electronic bill paying. U.S. Mail volume declined 3.5 percent from 2009 to 2010. In a proposal requesting another 2-cent increase in postage rates, the Postal Service blamed the Internet and the recession. But the Postal Regulatory Commission denied the request and said the Postal Service first needs to become more efficient. That decision is being appealed.
2011 first-class commemorative stamps
The new set of 2011 first-class commemorative stamps, the first full compliment of Forever Stamps, feature Disney’s Pixar cartoon characters, Latin musicians, actors and Ronald Reagan. The Reagan stamp will be released Feb. 10. A “Latin Music Legends” series is on sale in March. Helen Hayes is honored in April, as well as Gregory Peck, portrayed in his role as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Pixar characters from the movies “Toy Story,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars,” “Up,” and “Wall-E” will appear on Forever Stamps Aug. 19.