The United States Postal Service released the Forever Stamp in April 2007. The Forever Stamp is equivalent to a First-Class mail stamp and is used as a buffer against inflation of stamp prices. Since postage stamp rates have increased 13 times in the past 32 years, the Postal Service hopes to offer the Forever Stamp as an alternative to ever-increasing rates.
Forever Stamps have the same value as current First-Class mail stamps, which you use to mail standard 1 oz. letters. Purchase Forever Stamps at your local post office, at USPS.com, from automated postage machines and by phone at 1-800-STAMP-24. Forever Stamps are also available at grocery stores and other retail outlets.
The Forever Stamp shows a picture of the Liberty Bell with the words “USA First-Class” and "Forever" displayed vertically, instead of a price denomination. The stamp was dedicated next to the Liberty Bell in 2007 and is meant to reflect the patriotic feelings exuded by the symbol.
Usage and Pricing
While Forever Stamps are priced at the same rate as current First-Class stamps, they can be used at anytime in the future. For example, in May 2008, First-Class stamps and Forever Stamps were priced at 42 cents. If the First-Class stamp was later increased by several cents, the Forever Stamps purchased at 42 cents would still be valid, while the regular First-Class stamps would require additional 2 or 3 cent stamps. However, any Forever Stamps purchased after the new rate was established would reflect the price increase. Forever Stamps may be used for international mailing but additional postage may be required.
National inflation rates have had adverse effects on the U.S. Postal Service. The Forever Stamp was designed to relieve some of the pressure. For instance, when you purchase Forever Stamps, they eliminate your need for 2 cent stamps after rate increases. This saves the USPS money, since 2 cent stamps cost more to produce than their value.
Additionally, the USPS designed Forever Stamps to help to offset growing gas prices. "Washington Post" writer Christopher Lee notes, “When the price of a gallon of gasoline goes up 1 cent, for instance, it costs the Postal Service $8 million a year. The agency, which employs 700,000 people, is funded by operating revenue, not taxes.” When you choose to stock up on Forever Stamps, there is a larger chunk of revenue available immediately to the USPS, rather than if you buy only one or two stamps at a time.
Some people have expressed concerns about the Forever Stamp and its revenues. In the "Washington Post" article, "Post Office Hopes Idea of 'Forever Stamp' Sticks," writer Christopher Lee notes that while early sales have been positive, future revenues may display a downward trend. Over six billion Forever Stamps were sold within the first year of their existence, but there is no guarantee that this buying trend will continue. Lee also wonders what the purpose of a First-Class stamp is now that Forever Stamps are available.