The first Forever stamp was issued April 12, 2007

The Liberty Bell stamp image is unveiled at the dedication ceremony in Philadelphia on April 12, 2007. From left are Alan Kessler, then-vice chair of the USPS Board of Governors; Frank Neri, a local district manager at the time; and Dennis Reidenbach, then-superintendent of the National Park Service.

April 12, 2024
Who says nothing is forever anymore?

The Postal Service’s first Forever stamp — the Liberty Bell — was issued on April 12, 2007, and dedicated that day at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

By July of that year, 1.2 billion had been sold.

The subject of the stamp was fitting, as the stamp liberated USPS and its customers from the accounting complications of denominated stamps.

And like the Liberty Bell, it has stood the test of time.

The Forever stamp’s purpose was to streamline price changes for the organization and eliminate the need for customers to add catch-up low-denomination stamps whenever postage rates went up.

It also did away with the need for “rate-change” stamps.

In the inflationary mid-1970s, the lag time between the announcement of a price change and its review by the Postal Regulatory Commission prompted USPS to release rate-change or “alphabet” stamps in the interim. These unloved issues were not denominated but cost customers the new postage rate.

The first rate-change stamp was “A”; the last of these stopgap measures was “H,” issued in 1998.

In 2006, postal officials requested a new form of stamp resembling those the United Kingdom had been producing for years, which simply used “1st” or “2nd” for classes of mail.

The Forever stamp was the answer: It would forever be equal in value to the current single-piece First-Class Mail 1-ounce price, with no catch-up or alphabet stamps required.

However, all other stamps remained denominated.

In 2010, more Forever stamp issues were released, including one featuring a set of holiday evergreen-themed designs and another that showed the Statue of Liberty and U.S. flag.

Finally, in 2011, the Postal Service made all new First-Class Mail 1-ounce commemorative stamps Forever stamps.

In 2012, a few days before a new price change took effect, The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio summed it up this way:

“Monday’s first-class stamp-price hike might be the last time people have to worry about a certain tricky issue — mailing a letter with an old stamp on the weekend before a price increase.

“Using Forever stamps means that won’t be a problem anymore.”

Source: USPS

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