Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

Postal Service requests more forever stamps

March 25, 2015 07:15 PM

Citing the "goodwill" generated by its forever first-class stamp, the United States Postal Service wants to add five more forever stamps to its lineup.

In a March 25 filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, the USPS said it wants to give "non-denominated, non-expiring status" to postcard-rate stamps, 2-ounce letter stamps, 3-ounce letter stamps, additional-ounce letter stamps, and first-ounce nonmachineable surcharge stamps.

Under the proposal new stamps bearing the word "forever" presumably would be issued for each of these categories.

If approved by the commission, the change would become effective April 26, the filing states.

"It is expected that the conversion to Forever stamp status for these additional product categories will reduce Postal Service costs for inventory maintenance and stamp distribution," the filing said.

"Once the new categories of Forever stamp are in place, future rates change should no longer require the retrieval and destruction of outdated denominated stamp stocks and replacement with new denominated stamps.

"In addition, the ability to continue producing a particular Forever stamp design without regard to price changes, will enable better management of stamp printing," it said.

In an "industry alert," the USPS said the proposal "will provide customers with additional convenience in purchasing and maintaining stocks of up-to-date postage and be more economical for the Postal Service."

The filing did not cite specific savings expected from the change, but it described the successes that other countries have experienced by selling more than one variety of forever stamp.

It said the USPS plan is patterned after the United Kingdom’s experience with what it "calls a non-value indicator (NVI) stamp."

The Netherlands, it noted, has one non-denominated, non-expiring stamp for domestic mailings, another for mailings to the rest of Europe, and another for mailings to the rest of the world.

Finland has one such forever-type stamp for domestic first-class letters, another for domestic second class and a third for nonprofit mailings up to 20 grams.

"As with our initial Forever stamp offering," proposed in 2006, "the Postal Service is confident that these mail classification changes will be convenient for mailers and economical for the Postal Service," the filing said.

"We understand, from anecdotal evidence acquired since then, that the current Forever stamps have generated public goodwill due to this convenience."

David Partenheimer, a Postal Service spokesman, confirmed to Linn’s that new stamps will be issued for the proposed forever stamps. "And we’ll reveal them soon," he added.

Ruth Y. Goldway, who was an early advocate for the forever stamp as a member of the Postal Regulatory Commission, said: "The First-Class Single-Piece Forever Stamp has been described as the Postal Service's most successful consumer innovation in a decade.

"I'm proud that my advocacy of the stamp resulted in such a successful product, one that has produced both significant savings for the Postal Service and has been warmly received by the public."