United States Forever Stamp
Forever stamps are a type of Non-Denominated postage, which means there is no value listed on the stamp. Instead of a currency value, non-denominated stamps have either a letter, designating a "make-up" rate of an additional value unknown at the time of printing, or a class of mail service, such as first class, printed on them.
Forever stamps fall into the latter category of non-denominated stamps. They (in theory) will pay the postal rate for the delivery of the specified class of mail forever.
You may wonder why postal administrations would want to issue a stamp in which they will have to accept forever. There are several reasons why this type is stamp is offered:
United States Forever StampLately there has been a lot of publicity about so-called Forever stamps. With the United States issuing its first stamp of this type recently, it joins a growing list of countries offering these stamps.
- The stamps are produced in very high volumes, absorbing some of the setup costs of printing an issue for a limited run.
- Stamp designs do not have to be changed as often, meaning that the costs typically associated with new stamp creation can be reduced.
- The postal service saves money by not having to offer "make-up rate" stamps that have to be printed when postal rates go up. These stamps, or similar low-denomination stamps, must be issued so they can be added to existing stamps to make up the new postal rate.
- The postal service can use the money gained by "front-end sales" and collect interest on it before needing the money for expenses.
Some stamp collectors fear what forever stamps may do to the hobby, because they think that the postal service will issue the one stamp in perpetuity without changing the design or issuing new stamps. It is possible that this will occur; however, definitive stamp designs, such as for forever stamps, will change, if for no other reason than the thwart counterfeiters. Plus, stamp designs often have a political component to them and you can be sure that politicians will get involved and get their pet projects honored with stamps.
In fact, forever stamps may become collectible, if only for their variety. Since print runs of forever stamps will inevitably be large, there may be multiple printers used to fulfill demand. In addition, the stamps will probably be offered for several years at a time, and if the date is on the stamp, each new year provides a different, collectible version. Plus, the stamps will probably be offered as singles, panes, booklets, etc., and come in a variety of forms with various perforations. Eagle-eyed collectors may benefit by examining and noting the differences.
Forever stamps are not new. Great Britain began offering their equivalent, called Non-Value Indicated (NVI), in 1989. These stamps will soon begin their 20th year in existence and have proven to be collectible and very consumer-friendly.
The United States Postal Service offered their entry into forever stamps in May 2007 with a self-adhesive stamp depicting the famous Liberty Bell of Philadelphia, PA. The stamp has a wonderful depiction of the bell, and is as beautiful as it is simplistic. It is captioned "USA FIRST-CLASS FOREVER".
With U.S. postal rates due to go up in May, there are reports that sales of this stamp have skyrocketed, as consumers stockpile the stamp at today's cost.
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