‘Forever’ begins with new stamp, higher mail rates

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2007

To fight the ever-rising costs of postage in the United States,the U.S. Postal Service is rewarding people who think ahead – as inahead to forever.

With the most recent price boost from 39 cents to 41 cents, thepost office also unveiled the Forever Stamp, which customers canbuy for the current stamp rate and use forever, regardless of whatprices may soar to. The higher rate went into effect Monday alongwith the sale of the Forever Stamp.

The postal service is proud of the Forever Stamp idea because itcan save people from having to buy two- and three-cent stamps forevery increase.

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Postal officials said the stamps will be sold locally in booksof 20.

“The forever stamp is good forever,” said Keith Rushing, managerof the west branch of the Brookhaven Post Office. “The thing isthat once the rates go up, they’ll have another Forever Stamp atthat cost.”

In other words, Forever Stamps bought now are the lowest theywill ever cost. They are valid for first-class mail one-ounceletters, and will never need additional stamps to be added to beable to send parcels fitting that description.

The stamps feature a color picture of the Liberty Bell, crackfacing front. Down the right side is written “USA FIRST CLASS,” butthe “FIRST CLASS” is marked out and followed by “FOREVER.”

Rushing said the Forever Stamps are a great idea, but especiallybefore the next rate hike goes into effect.

“The thing is that if I was going to buy a book of ForeverStamps, I’d wait until (before) the rates go up again,” saidRushing, suggesting Forever Stamps be purchased in volume after thenext rate hike announcement and before the higher rate takeseffect. “Right now they cost the same as other stamps. But whenthey talk about the rates going up again, that’s probably whenpeople should buy as many as you think you’ll use forever.”

Forever Stamps are available at www.usps.com, and Rushing saidthe stamps can also be purchased at Brookhaven post offices.

“Buy them for your children and your grandkids,” he said.

The post office has also added other changes, including pricingbased on shape. Instead of only differentiating between mailparcels by weight, they are now broken down into the categories ofpostcards, letters, large envelopes and packages.

Express Mail now has a one-pound price to help with lightweightparcels, and international mail and post office box fees have beenadjusted as well.