By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
Almost 30 percent of the $1 billion in Internet sales recorded by the United States Postal Service in fiscal 2015 came from stamps and postal stationery.
That’s what a breakdown of the sales for the year ended Sept. 30 provided to Linn’s by postal officials indicates.
The Postal Service announced Dec. 8 that USPS.com had reached “a major milestone for the 15-year-old site” by generating more than $1 billion in sales.
That is more than sales of all the post offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas, the Postal Service said in a news release.
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What the sales figures released in response to a Linn’s query indicate is that overall sales at the “Postal Store,” the sales site of USPS.com, totaled $286.2 million. Stamps, postal stationery and “collectible products” accounted for $277.5 million of that amount. Another $8.7 million was listed as “non-categorized.”
The “collectible products” category totaled $4.6 million. This category included first-day ceremony programs, commemorative panels, first-day covers, framed art, postal stamp guides, annual stamp yearbooks and other philatelic items such as “keepsakes” and unspecified “philatelic stamps.” The “philatelic stamps” category accounted for $1.7 million.
The online site sells a wide variety of stamp-related items such as tote bags, reproductions of stamp art, and other stamp items that are not available at most post offices.
A separate sales category in the USPS data supplied to Linn’s was “commemorative/special stamps,” which totaled $202 million.
This included the Breast Cancer Research semipostal, the federal duck hunting stamp, a “Forever Philatelic Collectible,” and $194 million worth of forever stamps.
Definitive stamps accounted for $42.7 million in FY 2015, according to the USPS data.
The biggest items in this category were coils, which totaled $14.7 million, and panes, which amounted to $13.4 million.
The non-categorized items totaled $8.7 million, and included claims and exchanges, handling fees, subscriptions and unspecified supplies.
Press sheets of stamps, a separate category, totaled $1.7 million.
Stationery sales totaled almost $26 million and included $6.7 million in forever stamped envelopes.
Personalized stamped envelopes, sold with the return address imprinted, account for $16.4 million of the sales.
A spreadsheet attached to the USPS sales figures sent to Linn’s listed the names of the stamps sold during the period, but did not indicate sale totals for those individual issues.
Asked for details on what composed the rest of the more than $1 billion in online sales, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders told Linn’s: “Unfortunately we’re not permitted to release that information as it is commercial in nature.”