Sending an envelope to your far-off relative? Greeting cards to your cute little niece? Or sending a mail to your dearest friend? As you already know, stamps are very useful in these scenarios. If you don’t already have a few USPS stamps at hand, then you are probably missing out. Stamps come in many ways and forms, in fact, the USPS website has its own stamp shopping corner with a starting price of just 55 cents. In this article, we will take a look at the various types of USPS stamps, how much does each type of stamp costs, and where to find them. So keep reading…
What Are USPS Stamps?
Postage stamps refer to a tiny piece of paper, usually brought off from the post office or any other authorized organization. These stamps indicate a specific value, known as postage, which is paid by the customer who wishes to send their package through the USPS services. The postal stamps are affixed to whatever package the customer tends to send. Every postage stamps have a specific value attached to it which is mentioned on the stamp itself.
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In simpler words, postage refers to the price that is paid by the customer to be able to send a package. Stamps are a form of postage indicia that indicate the amount of postage to be paid. You can buy postage stamps in the following forms:
- Booklets: A booklet of postage stamps
- Sheets: An entire sheet of postage stamps
- Coils: Postage stamps are sold in strips
- Self-service Kiosk: Buy stamps in the form of sheetlets from a self-service kiosk
What Are the Different Kinds of Postage Stamps That You Have Access to?
Postage stamps come in many sizes and forms. Some of the most prominent types of postage stamps are as follows:
A definitive stamp, otherwise called a mail-use stamp, refers to a postage stamp that is issued by the USPS services every year. These stamps are produced in large quantities as these stamps are used regularly by the customers. These stamps are denominated with a certain value and have images of popular figures, personalities, animals, birds, etc. The size of these stamps is less than an inch square, and it isn’t as colorful as the Forever or Commemorative stamps.
The concept of using the Forever stamps was implemented in 2007 by the USPS services. As the name implies, Forever stamps can be used as first-class postage stamps “forever” on a standard envelope that weighs less than an ounce. This means that you can use a Forever stamp on a standard envelope even if its price value has increased. For example; if you purchased the Forever stamps at 44 cents, but the cost of the stamps has increased to 55 cents after 2-3 years, then you do not have to pay any additional price value to use the Forever stamps.
These stamps are thereby referred to as Special stamps. The USPS services issue these stamps every year to commemorate public figures or events. These commemorative stamps are dedicated to honoring the people, events, or any incident which marks its importance in American history and culture. The commemorative stamps are printed in very few quantities, as they are only used for a year. They are bigger when compared to the regular mail stamps.
The semipostal stamps are issued by the USPS services, which are aimed at extending a helping hand towards funding for a social cause. These stamps are sold at a higher value when compared to the regular mail stamps. Once the stamps are sold, a portion of the amount is transferred to the respective administration. This administration is responsible for distributing the funds to the respective organization. It is up to the USPS services to decide which causes they want to support. USPS has sold semipostal stamps for funding Breast Cancer Research Programs, Animal Conservation, Domestic Violence, etc.
All the stamps produced by USPS are either denominated or non-denominated. The denominated stamps have a specific value printed on them whereas the non-denominated do not have any value, therefore they are Forever stamps.
Pricing of the Postage Stamps
The price of the postage stamps varies based on the type of mail sent, weight, shape, and how the postage is paid. Here are the starting prices of the USPS stamps for all mail classes.
- First Class Mail Letters: The stamp price is paid on a per-ounce basis. The maximum weight of the letter must not exceed 3.5 ounces. The USPS stamps price is $0.53. The additional ounces have an additional price
- First Class Mail Flat(Large Envelopes): The price depends on the weight of the envelope. The standard size should be 13 ounces only. The postage stamps price is $1.16
- First Class Package Service: The maximum weight capacity along with the starting USPS stamps rate is 13 ounces for $4.30. If any package is beyond 13 ounces, then those packages are mailed using the Priority Mail rates.
- Priority Mail: This mailing option is great if the package crosses 13 ounces. The postage stamps cost $7.41
- Priority Mail Express: This mail service is the fastest of all services. If you want to send your package quick without waiting for 1-3 days, then Priority Mail Express can do the job for you. The stamps for this service cost $23.00.
- Media Mail: This is the best service through which you can send documents and printable material such as books, music sheets, audio and video recordings, CDs, DVDs, etc. The stamps cost $3.19
Learn about USPS shipping rates from here.
Where to Buy Stamps?
Buying postage stamps for your mails by visiting the USPS outlet does not always in everyone’s favor. There are so many things that restrict you from visiting the USPS outlets such as the lack of time, the urgency to send the package, additionally the traffic, etc. Spending too much time and effort on just a strip of stamps does not sit well with many people. If you want to get some stamps other than the local USPS outlet, then you try looking for stamps in the following stores or even buy them online:
Order Stamps Online
If you wish to buy an enormous quantity of stamp supplies, then you can order them online. Although you can get a stack of stamps online, it is beneficial to use the online mode if you do not have any time constraints. Some of the best online platforms to buy postage stamps are:
- Amazon: Amazon has a huge collection of postage stamps that you can buy in huge quantities. As there are many sellers that sell postage stamps, you have many options to choose from. Some stamps are also eligible for same-day delivery
- USPS Online: What could be a better platform for buying postage stamps than USPS itself? The USPS online store has the widest collection of postage stamps in many categories like Themes, Formats, Shapes, Quantities, Colors, Prices and Mailing Services. You can also order other supplies such as parcel boxes or envelopes, etc.
USPS Stamps Near Me
If you find a local USPS outlet near your location, then you can get your stamps and other supplies from there. The process of collecting a few USPS stamps is very quick and convenient if the store is closer to your location. Additionally, you can attach the stamps to the envelope and post them right away.
In addition to buying groceries and other everyday items, you can also buy yourself some stamps as many popular supermarkets have a huge collection of USPS stamps. A few supermarkets also allow you to weigh your package if you are sending a parcel through USPS. The weight scales are used to ensure that you have a clear idea of how many postage stamps you need. Some of the most popular retail stores that you can buy stamps from are:
- Kroger: Kroger has its retail outlets in the USA, so you grab a few stamps the next time you go shopping
- Publix: Another grocery retail store that sells stamps, envelopes, package boxes, etc.
- Winco: If you are in need of individual stamps, then you can get them from this retail store
- Walmart: One of the largest retail store where you get anything that you want
- Target: You can buy stamps in the form of sheets and coils through Target
- Costo: Buy stamps in bulk quantities or 100 for just $54.75
Banks or ATMs
These are the most convenient options if you want to buy postage stamps. As ATMs are open 24/7, you can grab a few stamps whenever needed. Just be aware that not every bank sells stamps. Here are a few banks that sell USPS stamps. You can search for the nearest ATM by downloading the bank’s apps.
- Wells Fargo: With a Wells Fargo bank account, you can buy stamps in large quantities or even singe stamps
- Fifth Third Bank: You can buy a sheet of stamps, i.e., a sheet of 18, 36, or 54 stamps.
Printing Your Own Stamps
Any small business that is sending out packages to its customers on a regular basis can opt for printing the stamps on their own rather than going out to buy them. These businesses can pay for postage online by setting up a free business account with USPS. Whenever stamps are required, businesses can pay for them.
A few Interesting Facts About Postage Stamps
- The first postage stamps that were produced did not have any adhesive or glue to stick to the envelopes. People had to come up with their own creative ways to keep the postage stamp intact
- The most popular postage stamp ever sold was of Elvis Presley that sold around 120 million copies in 1993
- As per the latest surveys, around 20 million people collect stamps as a hobby
- Although most postal stamps in the UK printed figures of the royal family, William Shakespeare was the first person who didn’t come from a royal family background.
- The postage stamp of Bhutan, in 1973, when placed on a record player, played their native folk songs
The Semipostal USPS Stamps
Semipostal stamps were first introduced in 1998 and since then, they have been used as a means to raise awareness among the community. Initially, these stamps were deemed wasteful as the mass public would not be willing to pay extra for a stamp. Instead, these postage stamps were a huge hit among people, that paved a new path to start fundraising for a social cause. Ever since the introduction of Semipostal stamps, the USPS has supported four major social causes that are:
- The Breast Cancer Research Program of 1998 that raised approximately $73 million for Breast Cancer Research
- Heroes of 2001 to help the family members of emergency workers who were left disabled or killed after the Sept 2001 attack
- Save Vanishing Species Program of 2011 to raise awareness about the endangered species. The net amount collected by the fundraising event is transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
- Alzheimer’s Stamp that was issues in 2017 but was discontinued in 2019. The sale of this stamp was resumed in 2020. The net amount raised is transferred to the National Institute of Health
- The PTSD Stamp was introduced in 2019 to help veterans cope with their PTSD. The amount that was raised by selling these stamps is transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs
Stamp Collecting as a Hobby
Many enthusiastic hobbyists are in love with stamp collecting. They have an enormous collection of stamps of varying origins which connects them to their roots, history, and politics. Apart from being just a hobby, this activity is also educational as you get to learn more about the country’s history. There are so many clubs and societies that are dedicated to stamp-collecting, where you can meet like-minded individuals and show off your collections.
Most people start by collecting stamps from postcards, envelopes, packages, etc. Some even dedicate a separate section of their albums towards historical figures, birds, sports, animals, etc. Stamps are mostly collected in a stamp album. There are stamps catalogs that you can refer to if you want to find out the stamp values along with the illustrations. To ensure that the stamps are in mint condition, you can use the glassine envelopes which protect the stamps from tearing, dust and moisture.
In simpler words, this hobby is enjoyed mostly by history buffs and people who love to have a wide range of collectibles. This is an enthusiastic hobby that you can obsess over.
USPS stamps are a necessity as you cannot process your package for delivery unless the postage for the package is paid. Before sending a package, you must be aware of the weight restrictions and then buy the postage for your package accordingly. The postage price depends on the weight of the package, you need to buy extra postage if the weight limit is exceeded. You can always buy the postage stamps from the USPS outlets, but if you are running short of time, there are many alternatives to consider. Click here to know everything that you need to know about USPS pickup request,
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)
No, you cannot reuse any USPS postage stamps to send any package or envelope. This simply means that you cannot cut an unused stamp from an envelope and use tape or gum to stick to a new envelope.
The USPS postage stamps do not expire, and you can use them indefinitely. All the stamps that have been introduced since 1860 can be used in the United States.
Although all the stamps that are supplied are in mint condition, if you stumble across any such stamp that is defective, then you must report it to the USPS services.