US Stamps

Automatic distributions of U.S. commemorative stamps resumes

Feb 13, 2024, 2 PM
The United States Postal Service has restarted the automatic distribution of commemorative stamps to post offices this year. The Year of the Dragon, Constance Baker Motley and John Wooden stamps are among the first issues to receive this treatment.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Attempting to buy new United States stamps right after issuance has continued to be a problem for stamp collectors.

In reading recent Postal Bulletins, I noticed that automatic distribution of commemorative stamps to post offices seemed to have resumed with the Year of the Dragon stamp issued Jan. 25. The Constance Baker Motley stamp followed on Jan. 31 with an auto shipment.

The Jan. 25 Postal Bulletin carried this announcement for the Feb. 24 John Wooden stamp, “Stamp Fulfillment Services will make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales.”

Automatic distributions of stamps to post offices had occurred before, stopped, resumed, then included some regional-only distribution, and more. To say U.S. Postal Service management has flip-flopped on automatic distribution over the years is an understatement.

In a Jan. 26 interview with Linn’s Stamp News, Lisa Bobb-Semple, director of USPS stamp services, discussed the subject: “Starting off at GASS [Great American Stamp Show] last year, one of the biggest concerns I heard was I had a lot of people say ‘Love that you guys have the stamps but when I go into the post office I can’t find the stamp.’ I think it’s the biggest pain point that I have recognized since coming into this position and something I have sought to change.

“There were a lot of considerations that went into this decision, but at the end of the day you can’t sell what you don’t have.”

Bobb-Semple also said that starting this year, commemorative stamps are automatically pushed out to post offices and QR codes have been added to posters and messaging about stamps in post offices to let customers know that can buy the stamps online if the post office doesn’t have them.

I believe this is a great start for the year, and I hope it raises awareness of the U.S. stamp program.

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