Tip of the Week — By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Semipostal stamps are stamps that are sold for postage value plus an additional surtax that goes to charity or special projects. Semipostal stamps differ from postal tax stamps in that their purchase and use are voluntary.
The United States came late to the semipostal ball, not issuing its first semipostal stamp until July 29, 1998. To date, the United States has issued five semipostal stamps.
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On Sept. 20, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued a nondenominated (44¢+11¢) Amur Tiger Cub semipostal stamp (Scott B4) titled Save Vanishing Species. The surtax, which varied over time with the postal rate, was for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sale of the stamp was suspended Jan. 1, 2014, but resumed in October 2014, selling at 60¢ (49¢+11¢). Under the present congressional authorization, sales of the stamp will cease Dec. 31, 2018.
We never see this stamp in discount postage lots, which indicates that not many of them have been purchased and stashed away. You can still buy the stamp in 20-stamp panes at the post office or by direct order from the Postal Service. It is worth putting away a pane or two of these at retail purchase price. Someday they will be better.