First-Class Mail Price Rising to 44 Cents

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the price of a first-class stamp will increase to 44 cents, starting May 11, 2009. The new postage is for the first ounce of a First-Class mail – the most common type for mailing letters, payment checks, etc.

The forever stamps will continue to be sold at 42 cents, until the price increase occurs in May. These stamps can be used “forever,” meaning that regardless of when you purchased them, or how much you paid for them, they are always good for mailing one-ounce letters. There is currently only one type of forever stamp, introduced in 2007. See the image on the right.

Keep in mind that those Nondenominated Stamps – stamps without showing their price – are not forever stamps. They have different values and styles. For example, the popular American Flag stamp, which shows “USA First-Class” on the face but no dollar value, is actually 41-cent each. Starting May 11, you will need additional 3 cents of postage in order to use the flag stamp for a first-class mail.

A stamp with its price printed is always worth what its face value indicates, obviously.

If you are interested, you might want to check out the history of first-class stamp rates in the US. Here is a portion of it:

Effective Date(s) Rate ($) Notes
July 1, 1885 – November 1, 1917 0.02
November 2, 1917 – June 30, 1919 0.03 War Years
August 1, 1958 0.04
December 31, 1975 0.13
May 29, 1978 0.15 “A” Stamp
March 22, 1981 0.18 “B” Stamp
November 1, 1981 0.20 “C” Stamp
February 17, 1985 0.22 “D” Stamp
April 3, 1988 0.25 “E” Stamp
February 3, 1991 0.29 “F” Stamp
January 1, 1995 0.32 “G” Stamp
January 10, 1999 0.33 “H” Stamp
January 7, 2001 0.34 Nondenominated Stamps
June 30, 2002 0.37 Flag and Antique Toy Stamps
January 8, 2006 0.39 Love True Blue and Lady Liberty Flag Stamps
May 13, 2007 0.41 Introduction of Forever Stamp
May 12, 2008 0.42
May 11, 2009 0.44

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