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Prepare for the postal increase

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By The Staff

Postal rates for first-class mail will go up May 11. In preparation, the U.S. Postal Service is encouraging the purchase of “Forever Stamps.”

A Forever Stamp purchased today at the current price of 42 cents a stamp will mail a one-ounce letter this year, next year, every year — without additional postage.

For the majority of us who have an accumulation of several types of stamps with varying first class rates and another group of one-cent and two-cent stamps to add on to those to make them usable, the Forever Stamp makes sense.

Of course, the USPS has spoiled us in recent years with a variety of special issue stamps that make the cards and letters we send so much more colorful.

Stamps with flowers, Disney characters, movie stars, special events, individual states, animals and national parks have made the mail more interesting to send and receive and collectors certainly have more to collect.

Probably, there will continue to be special issue stamps; however, the “Forever Stamp” is most logical for most mail. The Forever Stamp is the Liberty Bell.

With more and more bill-paying via computer and more and more communication being done via the Internet, the use of stamps decreased, as is shown by U.S.Postal statistics that reveal that stamped mail in 2008 was down to 1964 levels.

Some interesting information about the cost of stamps as compiled by Andrew Dart, a stamp collector, showing the progression of postal rates since the three-cent stamp became history on August 1, 1958.

With the advent of zip codes in 1963, the price of stamps increased to five cents for a first-class stamp.

Every three to four years for some years there was some type of increase, but in the last few years the increases have come closer together, occurring in the last few years on a yearly basis.

The U.S. Postal Service has issued this information about the increase:

A Forever Stamp is good for mailing a one-ounce, First-Class letter anytime in the future, regardless of price changes. No additional postage needed.

The Forever Stamp can also be used on other mailings. Its value is always equal to the current one-ounce, First-Class rate.

Purchase before May 11, 2009 and Forever Stamps will cost 42 cents; on or after May 11 they will cost 44 cents.

There is no limit on how many Forever Stamps a customer may purchase.

By purchasing a supply of Forever Stamps now, customers can avoid the crowds that sometimes fill post office retail lobbies, when price changes take effect.

The easiest way to buy postage stamps, including Forever stamps, is online. Point your internet browser to www.usps.com, then click on “Buy Stamps and Shop” at the top of the page.

So, get in line or get online. Either way, get prepared for another in a series of price increase.