Most people appreciated when the United States Postal Service started marketing the “priceless” Forever Stamp in 1997. This was a great “do the right thing” moment, tacitly acknowledging that if you don’t use a stamp for a year or five, the Postal Service has still had the use of your money for that time and shouldn’t charge you extra to use it. It seems only fair that a First Class stamp should always cover the postage for a First Class letter.
The compromise was that the Forever stamp was usually pretty generic, such as the American flag stamp. If you wanted a commemorative stamp (such as a Christmas stamp, or one that featured someone important to American culture, such as Rosa Parks), it was going to depreciate like any other stamp.
Update from a USPS Forever Stamp Fact Sheet: “In 2011, all first-class one ounce stamps became forever stamps”. I.E.: Commemoratives were added to the Forever Stamp program in 2011.
When is a Forever Stamp not a Forever Stamp?
What Is A Forever Stamp? states that “some first-class stamps now have the word Forever written on them and then crossed out. These are regular stamps, not forever stamps. They have the year they were released printed on them and when postage rates increase, you will have to refer back to the postage rate for that year, calculate the difference yourself, and start licking those one cent stamps.”
These new slash-Forever stamps sounded like a step backward in that the face value isn’t even on the face (the front of the stamp). Arguably these would be a new type of online postage because you need to go online just to figure out what they’re worth!
Of course just because you read something on social media or the Internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s so, and I haven’t seen any authoritative sources that share this idea. Moreover, I remember seeing reproductions of denominated stamps that had a slash through the value, so the “slash forever stamps” may not actually exist. I’m skeptical.
What do You Think?
Have you seen one? Is it a myth that some Forever Stamps have a slash across the word Forever and don’t retain their value, or is it a myth that it’s a myth? 😉
Update – USPS provided the following clarification:
Stamps shown at the Postal Store and in our USA Philatelic catalog are for illustrative purposes only. The strike through the word FOREVER is to ensure that the illustration cannot be used as a stamp through technical reproductive means. Any stamps you purchase will not have a strike through the word FOREVER and are honored as postage on all items mailed in the United States.