Many times we stamp collectors come across US postage stamps which reads “FOREVER”.
How many of you know what are Forever stamps or what is the Value of the Forever stamp?
You may wonder these are the special stamps or stamps with special value.
But, what if I say these are the regular, non-expiring stamp which saves lots of money, time and inconvenience caused.
What are Forever Stamps?
Forever Stamps, as the name suggest, are the non-denominational, non-expiring First Class® postage stamps that can be used to mail First Class letters irrespective of the postal rate.
These stamps are for the convenience of customers, to ease the transition during stamp price changes.
The stamps are always valid for the full first-class postage regardless of any rate increases since the purchase of stamps.
Let’s take an example.
You can mail the First Class letters with Forever stamps purchased in 2007 at $0.41 even today also without adding any additional charge.
In 2007 a normal-sized letter weighing one ounce addressed within the United States costs $0.41.
In 2016, the rate increased to $0.47, but still, you can use the stamps purchased earlier.
Forever stamp value
Forever stamps do not have a value printed on them. They are worth whatever the first-class postage rate is on any given day.
12 April 2007 $0.41
12 May 2008 $0.42
11 May 2009 $0.44
22 January 2012 $0.45
27 January 2013 $0.46
26 January 2014 $0.49
10 April 2016 $0.47
Why Forever Stamps?
Over a certain period due to increase in various costs, the postal rate rises.
Either new stamps with added postage are to be issued or the old stamps are to be scrapped.
However, the Stamps eliminate such situation saving lots of money and time.
The customers do not have to buy new stamps nor has the postal service to distribute new denominated stamps due to price changes.
The Postal Service saves money when they don’t have to collect and destroy outdated stamps.
Moreover, the customers are spared the inconvenience of having to buy stamps worth just a few cents to use their old stamps when prices rise.
History of Forever Stamps
The US Postal Service in 2006 asked permission from Postal Regulatory Commission to issue non-denominated stamps similar to stamps in the UK, for the first-class postage.
They named these stamps as “Forever”.
In 2007, the US Postal Service unveiled the first such Forever so-called “Liberty Bell” stamp.
The stamp valued 41 cents (US$0.41) and marked “USA FIRST-CLASS FOREVER”.
From 2007 to October 2010, only one design issued: the Liberty Bell Forever stamp.
The second Forever Stamps – Holiday Evergreens were issued on October 21, 2010, for the holiday season featuring pinecones on evergreen trees.
Due to increasing popularity, on December 1, 2010, USPS issued another Forever stamps in the se-tenant format with Lady Liberty and the U.S. Flag design.
On June 16, 2011, new stamps were issued featuring four American scientists: Melvin Calvin, chemist; Asa Gray, botanist; Maria Goeppert Mayer, physicist; and Severo Ochoa, the biochemist.
In 2011, for the first time, all First-Class commemorative stamps were issued as Forever stamps.
In 2015 the concept of forever stamp expanded into all other types of stamps-postcard, additional ounce, non-machinable surcharge, two ounces and three ounces and these stamps have their intended purpose printed on them instead of a number.
USPS in May 2016 issued Classic US stamps as Classics Forever Stamp celebrating long history of U.S. postage stamps.
Forever Stamps can be used for international mail if additional postage is attached.
Alternatively, beginning from 2013, the USPS introduced a Global Forever stamps, for first-class one-ounce international mail.
In October 2013, Global Forever stamp with a Christmas motif was issued.
Another Global Forever issue, showing the Moon, followed in 2016.
Using Forever stamps
Forever Stamps are ideal for mailing normal-sized, one-ounce letters within the United States means a mail will cost $0.47 at the current rate.
Additional ounces cost only $0.21 per ounce. Avoid two Forever Stamps for heavier mail.
If you add two Forever Stamps to a 2-ounce letter, you would be paying $0.94 for an item that should only cost $0.68.
You can always check the USPS website to know the exact postage needed.
Where to Buy Forever Stamps
Forever Stamp products can be purchased from the USPS local post office, online at USPS Shop, or by phone.
Forever stamps as investment
If you assume postal rates will always rise and never sink, then Forever Stamp are a good investment.
According to the history of US postage rates, the last time postage prices fell was in 1919, when the cost of mailing dropped.
But, if you can see the historical rates then in April 2016 the USPS dropped their first-class postal rate slightly, from $0.49 to $0.47 for a standard letter.
However, as per latest news, the USPS has proposed rate increases for January 2017.
Note: United States Postal Service®,First-Class Mail® Forever are trademarks of the United States Postal Service. All the images reproduced here are copyright of USPS and used here in original form for information and reference.