US Stamps

Saving Vanishing Species semipostal to be withdrawn from sale Dec. 31

Nov 26, 2018, 8 PM
The United States Postal Service will remove the Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp from sale Dec. 31.

By Denise McCarty

The United States Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp (Scott B4) is being withdrawn from sale — again.

The Nov. 22 issue of the U.S. Postal Service’s Postal Bulletin reports that the semipostal stamp will be withdrawn from sale at the close of business on Dec. 31.

The bulletin states: “Absolutely no sales of the Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamps and products are permitted at retail counters and outlets after December 31, 2018. The items are also withdrawn from sale at Stamp Fulfillment Services and the Postal Store at usps.com/shop.”

This is the second time the Save Vanishing Species semipostal has been withdrawn from sale.

Originally issued Sept. 20, 2011, this semipostal depicting an Amur tiger cub (Scott B4) was removed from sale Dec. 31, 2013, and was returned to sale in October 2014. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, had pushed the legislation to continue sales of the semipostal at post offices nationwide through Dec. 31, 2018.

A total of 100 million Save Vanishing Species stamps were printed, and almost half of them have been sold.

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According to statistics from the U.S. Postal Service, more than 49.5 million of the stamps were sold as of October of this year, raising more than $5.5 million for multinational species conservation.

The stamp initially sold for 55¢ from September 2011 through Dec. 31, 2013, and at that time 25 million had been sold. When it was returned to sale in 2014, it sold for 60¢, including an 11¢ surtax above the then-49¢ first-class letter rate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the surtax collected from sales of the Save Vanishing Species stamp, reports that 99 projects in 35 countries have been funded to help protect highly threatened species.

Semipostal stamps serve the dual purpose of paying for postage and collecting funds that will benefit a designated cause.

The U.S. Postal Service has issued five semipostal stamps: Breast Cancer Research (1998, Scott B1, a second version was issued in 2014, B5); Heroes of 2011 (2002, B2); Stop Family Violence (2003, B3), Save Vanishing Species (2011, B4); and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness (2017, B6). After the withdrawal of the Save Vanishing Species stamp, only the Breast Cancer Research and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness will remain on sale.

A Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) semipostal stamp is scheduled for release sometime in 2019.