Do you have a stockpile of Forever Stamps in a drawer? Isn’t it great to know you can use those stamps any time, and they’ll be good no matter how much the postage rate may have changed? You can put them on this year’s holiday cards, even if you bought the stamps 3 years ago.
It’s not so great for the Postal Service, though, when it comes to calculating how many unused stamps remain in the public’s hands. It’s an important calculation because it has an effect on the bottom line. The USPS is not allowed to account for the revenues from stamp sales until the stamps are either used, lost, destroyed, or tucked into a stamp collection. So the Postal Service uses a complex formula, often tweaking it for what is known as “breakage,” or the portion of sold Forever Stamps that it estimates will never be used by customers due to loss, damage or stamp collection, according to Linn’s Stamp News.
Last year, the Postal Service adjusted its formula and added about $1.1 billion to postal revenues in fiscal year 2016.
The breakage formula might be the only thing complicated about Forever Stamps. They are popular because they are so simple: Forever Stamps are always sold at the same price as the First-Class Mail stamp. You can use them on a letter regardless of when you bought them or the current price of a stamp. Introduced in April 2007 with the Liberty Bell stamp, all First-Class 1-ounce stamps became Forever Stamps in 2011, with the exception of stamps in coils of 500, 3,000, and 10,000. Go to the Postal Service’s website to see more facts on Forever Stamps.
Essentially though, unlike polyester leisure suits, boy bands and parachute pants, Forever Stamps never go out of style. If you don’t use all your holiday stamps this year, you can pull them out again next year. And don’t worry if they sit there and never get used. The Postal Service has a way to account for all that!