Entries in Stamps (4)


Over Production of Commemorative Stamps Costs USPS $2M a Year

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The United States Postal Service is on track to lose $15 million this year and one reason is bad planning.

The USPS bet big that a stamp commemorating the TV show The Simpsons would be a mega seller.  The agency ordered one billion Simpsons stamps, but only managed to sell 318 million of them during 2009 and 2010.  That left a surplus of 682 million stamps at a cost of $1.2 million.

Similarly, the Postal Service ordered 500 million "Flags of our Nation" stamps, but only sold 120 million of them during 2010 and 2011.  That led to a waste of 380 million stamps and $716,000.

If the USPS were to cut back on the over production of such commemorative and special issue stamps, it could save roughly $2 million a year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


50-Cent Stamp, Other Postal Changes Coming

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States Postal Service may raise the price of first class postage to 50 cents. The U.S. Post Office, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, wants to charge more for postage, more for services, and to suspend Saturday delivery.

The 50-cent stamp would represent an 11 percent increase in postal rates.

USPS delivers 40 percent of the world’s mail. Its revenues exceed $65 billion a year.

The service said last week that it lost $3.3 billion last quarter, and that it is forecasting a loss of $14.1 billion for the year ending Sept. 30. Such losses, said the Postal Service in a letter sent last week to Congress, would be ”unsustainable” and would cause USPS to become “a burden” to the U.S. taxpayer. The letter called that outcome “highly undesirable.”

Currently, USPS gets no taxpayer dollars for its operating expenses, which are funded by the sale of postage and postal services.

Suspending Saturday delivery would save $2.7 billion a year, the Postal Service says. Raising the cost of first-class postage to 50 cents would increase annual revenues by $1 billion.

The post office’s chief financial officer said USPS is the least expensive major postal service in the world, and that its services are “clearly underpriced.”

The last postal increase occurred late last month, when the cost of mailing a first-class letter rose from 44 cents to 45 cents. Rates also rose for packages, for periodicals, and for a wide variety of services.  The law limits USPS increases overall to the rate or inflation, or 2.1 percent a year.

Before the January increase, USPS first-class rates held steady for two and a half years.

To raise revenue, the Postal Service has introduced new products. In 2012, they include Package Intercept: For $10.95 (plus Priority Mail postage), a customer can intercept and recall a package already sent  before it reaches its destination.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Postage Stamp Prices to Rise Again

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Given all the drastic changes planned or proposed to keep the United States Postal Service alive, it might come as no surprise that the price of a postage stamp is expected to go up next year.

Starting on Jan. 22, the USPS is boosting the cost of a stamp from 44 cents to 45 cents.

On the bright side, this is still slightly less than the rate of inflation, which is currently 2.1 percent.  If customers bought the "Forever" stamps at 44 cents apiece, they'll still be good when the new price rates take effect.

Meanwhile, the cost of sending a postcard will go up three cents to 32 cents. There are other price hikes as well, including sending letters and packages out of the country.

The USPS lost $8 billion last year and is poised to lose $10 billion during fiscal year 2011. The agency is preparing to shut down thousands of smaller post offices and distribution centers, which will also mean huge layoffs. There's also talk of ending Saturday delivery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Postal Service to Feature Living Americans on Stamps

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In another desperate gambit to avert a total collapse, the United States Postal Service will start issuing stamps with the images of living Americans.

Stephen Kearney, executive director of stamp services, explained, "The main criterion [for the honor] is outstanding contribution to the U.S."

That would cover people in all fields including business, science, sports and entertainment.  However, Kearney said, current politicians either in office or with plans to run would be exempt from consideration.

Suggestions are already pouring into the USPS Stamp Facebook page, including Oprah, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and Rush Limbaugh.  Ordinary folks can also nominate themselves, if they feel so inclined.

There’s been no announcement yet as to when the winners will be picked but the Postmaster General will make the ultimate decision about who gets honored from a list of finalists.

At the very least, it’s an interesting gimmick, one that could boost sales although with the post office projected to lose $10 billion over the fiscal year, they’d have to sell an awful lot of stamps to make up the difference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio