Are Forever Stamps Still Good?

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November 16, 2023

Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General of the Post Office Department, precursor to the United States Postal Service, is often quoted for stating that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. 

However, had he been born today, he might have to alter his statement to include Forever stamps.

Are Forever stamps actually forever? Are they still good even if you purchased one many years ago? How can you use one even if postage prices have increased through the years? 

This article discusses what Forever stamps are and how they are used. It explains whether one can use these stamps indefinitely or if they have an expiration. Furthermore, this write-up tackles international mail and whether one can use Forever stamps for deliveries abroad. 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) strives daily to cater to the delivery needs of residents of over 160 million residential, commercial, and P.O. Boxes in America.

If you need the contact information of any of the post offices near your area, visit FindPostOffice.org. Our site provides access to over 31,330 post offices in the United States. 

What Are Forever Stamps?

Forever stamps were created by the U.S. Postal Service in 2007. These stamps are non-denominational First-Class postage that can be used for First Class Mail, no matter how the postal rate changes. 

For instance, people who bought Forever stamps three years ago can still use them today to mail letters without needing more postage for additional ounces, even if the rates have increased.

How Do Forever Stamps Work?

Forever stamps don’t have specific monetary value, and that’s the source of their appeal. The value of one Forever stamp is equal to the current price needed to send a 1oz First-Class letter. 

You don’t need to mix and match postage stamps with different values. You can use one Forever stamp and send your mail right away. 

As of July 2023, the current rate of one Forever stamp is $0.66. 

So, if you bought one today and the price increases by next year, you don’t need to add any amount to send a one-ounce letter. You use one Forever stamp, and you’re good to go. 

Forever Stamp Fact Sheet

Here are some key takeaways about Forever stamps: 

  • In April 2007, the first Forever stamp went on sale. It had the image of the Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American independence. 
  • You can use the Forever stamp to mail 1oz letters regardless of when the stamps are bought. Future price rate increases don’t affect the value of Forever stamps. 
  • Forever stamps have the same price as regular First-Class Mail stamps. 
  • The purpose of Forever stamps is to provide consumers with an easy alternative during price changes. 
  • Forever stamps can also be used for international mail. However, one must attach additional postage because mail abroad has higher prices than domestic locations. 

Do Forever Stamps Expire? Will Forever Stamps Really Last Forever?

The concise answer is no, Forever stamps don’t expire. However, there are cases when it can get damaged, making it lose its validity. 

Once a Forever stamp becomes unrecognizable, the local post office can reject it. Stamps with minor tears may still be used, but mutilated or defaced stamps are no longer valid for mail use. 

So, if you want to save your Forever stamps for future use, ensure that you store your stamps in a safe, dry place.

How Long Can You Keep Forever Stamps? Will Their Value Hold?

You can use them for many years if you can keep your Forever stamps free from damage or anything that might deface them. 

Even though the prices have changed since you bought the Forever stamp, you can still use it to send a 1oz letter anywhere in the United States.

Using Previous Year Forever Stamps

You can use Forever stamps from previous years if they’re not damaged beyond recognition. 

However, you can’t reuse a stamp already canceled. According to 26 U.S. Code § 7208 (Offenses relating to stamps), anyone reusing canceled stamps can be charged with a felony. Upon conviction, the defendant can be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned up to five years, or both. 

Tip: Forever Stamps Don’t Last Forever

Customers can use Forever stamps anytime because they don’t expire. However, they don’t last forever. 

Postage stamp paper is made from organic cellulose fibers compactedly woven into sheets. Stamp paper can be durable, but it won’t last forever. 

Damage due to decay, mishandling, improper storing, and other factors can render a Forever stamp useless. So, despite the name, Forever stamps don’t last forever. 

Take care of your stamps if you plan to use them later. 

Why Do We Have Forever Stamps?

Forever stamps were first introduced in 2007 as postage for a standard 1oz letter. One reason for the release of Forever stamps is to help consumers send First-Class Mail without worrying about the fluctuating price rates. 

According to USPS history, from 1980 to 2010,  there were 14 different occasions where the First-Class Mail increased. 

Customers who regularly bought stamps in bulk but didn’t mail often found the price increases frustrating. 

However, with the release of Forever stamps, customers can now buy stamps in bulk. The price of Forever stamps in 2007 was $0.41. 

The Forever Stamp Program’s Success Is a Win for Everyone

USPS saw the success of Forever stamps and is now used for almost all First-Class stamps. In 2016, the USPS extended the Forever stamp concept to postcards and more.

According to a 2015 notice from the Postal Service, Forever stamps eliminate the need to distribute new denominated stamps before a price change. 

The Postal Service can also save money because they don’t need to collect or destroy denominated stamps. Customers are also spared the inconvenience of buying additional stamps to use old stamps when prices increase.

Why Are Forever Stamps Great for Entering Sweepstakes?

You can buy Forever stamps to protect you from rising postage stamp costs when you enter mail-in sweepstakes. For example, mailing an envelope with a Forever stamp with your entry form today costs $0.66. 

If, let’s say, in the next few months, another price increase happens and the cost for First-Class Mail goes up to $0.70. You won’t need to add anything even if the postage rate increases. 

How Does U.S. Stamp Rates Work?

USPS cannot arbitrarily set stamp prices at any value they want. 

Suppose USPS needs a stamp increase due to inflation and rising operating expenses. In that case, it can request a rate increase from the Postal Regulatory Commission, with Congress oversight. 

The request typically results in a rate increase of a few cents annually or a few years. 

What Forever Stamps Are Worth

Since 2019, Forever stamps have already experienced five rate increases. USPS cites rising operation costs and inflation as major reasons for their request. 

Since its original release in 2007, the price of Forever stamps has steadily increased.

How Much Will a Forever Stamp Cost?

The current value of one Forever stamp as of September 2023 is $0.66. The current price increased three cents from its original price of $0.63 in January of the same year. 

Determining how much will a Forever stamp cost in the future is not easy as the Commission grants rate increases upon request. 

However, the price hike is often publicly announced before USPS implements the price increase.  

Increase in Postage Stamps and Metered Mail

USPS Forever stamps increased prices from $0.63 in January to $0.66 in February. However, 1oz metered mail also increased rates and is now priced at $0.63.

Metered mail is prepaid mail that doesn’t need any postage stamps. It’s marked by an electronic machine managed by a local post office. 

Many small and medium businesses find it useful to use metered mail instead of buying postage stamps for their mail or packages. By leveraging this service to simplify the mail process, the meter serves as proof of payment.

First Class Presort Rate

Presorted mail is mail that has gone through the presorting process. This postal process involves sorting letters, mail, or packages according to specific criteria like ZIP codes or delivery time frames to ease the delivery process. 

Presorting helps organize deliveries and makes the mailing process faster by generating barcodes automatically. Companies, especially eCommerce shops, can handle large mailing volumes to a specific area through this method.

Increase in the Cost of Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes

The rate increase also affected other mail types provided by USPS. Flat-rate boxes and envelopes experienced a rate increase in 2023. 

Here are some of the domestic flat-rate packaging provided by USPS:

  • Priority Mail Flat-Rate Envelope: $4.95
  • Priority Mail Small Flat-Rate Box: $4.95
  • Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box: $13.95
  • Express Mail Flat-Rate Envelope: $17.50

How to Save Money On Forever Stamps

Forever stamps provide customers with stamps whose values don’t change. They can buy these stamps when they want to send regular 1oz mail. 

Instead of worrying about price rates and other factors affecting the postage rate, you can buy Forever stamps, keep them safe from deterioration, and use them anytime.

You can find cheaper stamps on sites like eBay. However, be wary of counterfeits. Meanwhile, you can find discounts on USPS.com and Stamps.com, especially if you want to buy in bulk.

Forever Stamps for International Packages

You can use the Forever stamps not only for domestic deliveries but also for international letters. 

USPS offers Global Forever stamps that allow you to send 1oz letters over 180 countries where First-Class International Mail is available. For heavier packages, you may need to include additional postage to cover the cost of the extra ounces. 

As of July 2023, the price list of Forever stamps sold by USPS is as follows: 

  • Forever stamp 1oz: $0.66
  • Additional oz Forever: $0.24
  • Forever stamp 2oz: $0.90
  • Forever Stamp 3oz: $1.14
  • Postcard Forever Stamp: $0.51
  • Global Forever Stamp: $1.50
  • Metered Mail 1oz: $0.63

Blame the Internet

The internet, widespread use of email, and the rising popularity of online banking have affected the Postal Service. The email has made correspondence considerably less expensive compared to traditional mail. 

People don’t need to stock up on stamps, envelopes, and paper. Businesses and customers can communicate affordably through the internet. 

Additionally, the rising popularity of messaging applications further decreases the need for sending letters. People can chat instantly and exchange details and information almost immediately. 

Still, you can visit your local post office for more information about Forever stamps and how postage works. FindPostOffice.org provides you with contact information for USPS facilities near you. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can you still use your old Forever stamps?

Yes. You can use your old Forever stamp if it’s not damaged beyond recognition. Remember that Forever stamps don’t have an expiration date, and their value is always on par with the current First-Class Mail price at any time. 

  1. How do I know if my Forever stamps are still good?

Forever stamps don’t expire and can always be used to send 1oz letters. However, once the stamp is damaged beyond recognition or when the adhesive is no longer sticky, it may not be accepted by the automated sorting machines. 

  1. How many Forever stamps do I need for a letter?

You only need one Forever stamp to send a 1oz letter to a domestic address. 

On the other hand, you need one Global Forever stamp for international destinations for a 1oz First-Class International Mail. However, if the letter is more than one ounce, you may need to add postage. 

  1. How many stamps do I need?

The answer depends on the weight, size, and the recipient’s destination. However, if your mail is only one ounce, you only need one Forever stamp to cover the postage cost. 

For example, you must send a 3.5oz standard mail, which costs $1.38. In that case, you’ll either overpay with three Forever stamps ($0.66 x 3 = $1.98). 

Or you can pay postage with two Forever stamps, a $0.05 stamp, and a $0.01 stamp. [($0.66 x 2) + $0.05 + $0.01] = $1.38

Getting the exact number of stamps may be complicated. Mix and match stamps with different denominations to cover your mail or package costs.

  1. Where can I buy Forever stamps?

You can buy stamps from the Postal Store, affiliate stores like Stamps.com, and third-party online stores like eBay and Amazon. You can purchase them online via credit card and have them shipped to your home. 

  1. How do I know if a stamp will be rejected?

The post office will most likely reject a stamp if the border is torn or if the price or value of the stamp is illegible and blurred due to damage. Also, USPS may reject stamps that have been taped over or have been glued to the envelope

References

  1. First Postmaster General
    https://facts.usps.com/benjamin-franklin-first-postmaster-general/
  2. About the United States Postal Service
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
  3. Forever Stamp Fact Sheet
    https://about.usps.com/news/fact-sheets/forever-stamp-facts.htm
  4. Customer Support Ruling
    https://pe.usps.com/text/csr/ps-281.htm
  5. Flat-Rate Package Options
    https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2009/pb22265/html/info1_004.htm
  6. First-Class Mail International
    https://www.usps.com/international/first-class-mail-international.htm