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Stamp Prices Increase: What You Need to Know for Your Next Trip to the Post Office

First-class postal rates are going up for the second time in two years.

While the volume of first-class mail has dropped sharply, from an all-time high of 213 billion pieces in 2006 to only 168 billion in 2011, according to a New York Times story, the United States Post Service (USPS) is struggling, showing a loss of $36 million per day.

The most prominent way for the USPS to recover revenue is to raise postage and mailing rates.

Since 1885, when the price for the first ounce of a first-class letter was $0.02, rates have increased 24 times and will jump to $0.46 as of Sunday, January 27, 2013.

According to a press release from the USPS, the price of a Forever Stamp - which allows a customer to send a one-ounce letter anywhere in the United States—will go up one penny to $0.46. Each additional ounce of a first-class letter will stay the same at $0.20.

Additionally, it is introducing an international version, called the "Global Forever Stamp," which will cost $1.10 and cover the cost of a letter mailed to anywhere in the world.

Postcards, which cost $0.01 to mail starting in 1928, have seen rates rise 23 times already, and the 24th increase will take it to $0.33.

The USPS website lists new pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate as follows:

  • Small box — $5.80
  • Medium box — $12.35
  • Large box — $16.85
  • Large APO/FPO box — $14.85
  • Regular envelope — $5.60
  • Legal envelope — $5.75
  • Padded envelope — $5.95
Woodside Park Bob January 27, 2013 at 03:49 PM
According to an on-line inflation calculator, the 1885 first class rate of 2 cents is equivalent to 49 cents today. That makes the new 46 cent rate a bit of a bargain!

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