Despite the U.S. Postal Service’s struggle to stay afloat in recent years, Congress (in the USPS’s words) “forced” the pseudo-governmental agency to drop the price of a first class stamp from 49 cents down to 47 cents, they announced earlier this month. The last time a stamp’s price decreased was in 1919, nearly a century ago. The drop took effect on April 10.
As the world’s leading supplier of hingeless stamp albums, and as stamp enthusiasts, we think the facts that come along with this news are fascinating (dismal as they may be for the Post Office).
Here are a few key points about the new prices:
Why the Decrease?
In 2014, The USPS made an arrangement with Congress to raise the price of stamps by three cents as a means of helping the agency cover a deficiency of $4.6 billion. The price hike was to last two years, but the Post Office, which was still in dire financial straits at the end of that timeframe, was hoping that they’d be allowed to continue selling stamps at the higher prices. Congress denied that plea.
What about Forever Stamps?
Until now, Forever stamps were a relatively safe and sensible investment, because their value had steadily increased ever since the program’s rollout in 2007. If you purchased one back then, it would’ve cost you 41 cents, saving you eight cents if you waited until last March to use. While a two cent decrease in value is pennies on the dollar in term of small quantities, the problem is, a lot of folks bought them in high volume. For those who purchased large numbers of Forever stamps at 49 cents, they’re now out of luck—at least until they drive back up again, assuming that happens.
The 1919 Price Reduction
1919 was the last time the Post Office reduced the price of stamps, and if you’re wondering why, well, think about World War I. The Post Office raised prices at the beginning of the war as a way to help with its high costs. By the end of 1918, the war was officially over, and we no longer needed that capital boost, so the Post Office returned prices back to their pre-war levels, from three to two cents.
What Does This Mean for the Post Office?
The already struggling agency will run into even deeper financial struggles, and the Post Office’s annual revenue will go down by somewhere to the tune of $2 billion—imagine the amount of gold coin display cases you could buy with that kind of money…
Whatever the price of stamps, we have a wide selection of stamp albums and pages that are perfect for your collection, available via our online store. So, say a prayer for the Post Office, check out our inventory, and philately on!