Know more about stamp prices. The cost of postage stamps may not matter to you if you care little about stamps. You may not be the kind that uses stamps on a daily basis like the rest of the population that simply pays for shipping through other methods.
It would be worthwhile to know the prices of stamps and some factors that affect the stamp you will buy more so if you will be buying stamps in the near future.
What determines the stamp prices?
- Act of Congress: The Congress has the mandate to manipulate postage stamp prices as would be necessary to cushion the impact of economic recession. For instance the Congress enacted a 4.3% surcharge on stamps in 2013 to compensate for losses incurred by USPS during the Great Depression and lifted the charge in 2016. Both changes affected stamp prices in the negative and positive direction respectively.
- Availability: Stamp prices are affected by the laws of supply and demand just like a typical commodity would in the market. The greater the availability, the less costly it is and the opposite is also true.
If you browse through your dealer’s catalogue, you will find that readily available stamps are cheaper than those that are hard to come by.
- Rarity and Uniqueness: Rare stamps such as those that covered a historical event would cost more since they were only available for a short period of time. Rare and unique stamps tend to cost more than other categories of stamps.
Generally, rare and unique stamps tend to be few. Being few is not the issue, but being rare and unique is the determining factor.
- Condition: New stamps cost more than damaged or even old stamps for the simple reason that they have lost a faction of their value due to their condition. If you are looking to save costs on stamps, then going for an old stock may be worthwhile. However, if you value quality over quantity then stick to new or well-conditioned stamps that send a distinct message to the recipient.
- Size and Shape: Stamps that come in different shapes other than the usual rectangle or the square tend to cost more because they cost more to print out. A lot of the printing sheets will be wasted in the process.
Large stamps also cost more than small-sized stamps. But then there is the price variation according to the type of the stamp.
Cost According to Stamp types
Stamps do not only vary in cost according to the factors just highlighted above. They also vary according to classification and the changing mailing rates as given by the USPS.
You may opt for the forever stamp that retains its value even after the mailing rates have changed or opt for the first class type of stamp that is only valid at the current mailing rates.
For example, forever stamps bought before 22 January 2017 at 47¢ retain their values after USPS changed the mailing rate for a 1oz letter from 47¢ to 49¢.
Cost of a forever stamp in 2017
If you still have stamps that you bought before USPS revised its mailing rates, then you are lucky to save 2¢ for your mailing rates. However, if you are about to buy forever stamps in 2017, then the standard rates are 49¢ for a standard letter with a weight of an ounce. An additional ounce will cost you 21¢.
Cost of first-class stamp in 2017
For your first class stamp the standard rate for a one ounce letter stands at 49¢ even though the square, oversized, and envelopes with unusual dimensions will cost you 70¢. International mailing now costs $1.15. However, be aware that the costs may vary according to the stamp vendor and the qualities of the stamp itself as earlier discussed.
Cost of vintage stamps 2017
Vintage stamps are a specialty for those attached to history or those looking forward to impress a history fanatic at the receiving end. The best place to look for vintage stamps that hold value is strictly from USPS that offers a dedicated catalogue.
The vintage stamps go at the same rate as standard stamps. For instance, if you are looking forward to having an Elvis Presley stamp in monochrome, then you will be paying 49¢ for a standard mail.
Cost according to stamp seller
The price of stamps may vary from vendor to another, even though the factors making the differences may be uncertain. Under normal circumstances stamp prices remain the same between USPS and the numerous vendors across the countries that sell postage stamps.
If there are potential price differences then it is most likely that the vendor is selling at a cheaper price compared to USPS. Again, such a scenario is less probable. If a vendor is selling stamps at a cheaper price, then it may be that the quality of the stamps is not at par with those you would find in stamps bought directly from the USPS.
It is advisable to keep a comparison with USPS just to make sure that what you are not getting overpriced by your vendor.
Stamps cost in CVS
Unfortunately, if you are looking to buy single stamps from CVS, then you are in for a disappointment. The vendor only offers purchases in bulk, which is in sheets and books of stamps.
The stamps cost $9.80 for a sheet of 20 stamps even though you may land the same quantity for a $1 less depending on the qualities of the stamp.
Stamps cost in Walgreens
The price of stamps at Walgreens is not in any way different from those you find in your nearest post office. The standard stamp rates of 49¢ do apply in any Walgreens outlet you may be looking to buy your stamps and therefore you will not be getting any advantages that you be hoping to find by dodging buying from USPS apart from convenience.
Price of Stamps in USPS
It is from USPS that stamps come from and therefore the standard rates of stamps will be what you find in USPS. The current price of standard stamps stands at 49¢ for the one ounce letter even though other rates do apply depending on the type of the letter in question.
It is recommended to check out stamp prices in the USPS as your first option to ensure that you are buying them at the correct price from your vendor.
Price of Stamps in Amazon
When it comes to buying stamps online, most buyers first look at the Amazon online store and the variety of deals that on could get beyond what could be possible in USPS or other offline vendor.
The typical seller of stamps in Amazon sells them in bulk given the costs associated with shipping. However, prices vary widely from those cheaper to those costlier than USPS offers.
A Word of Caution
It is advisable to buy stamps either from USPS or from a USPS authorized vendor which is more likely your nearest store. Buying stamps from Amazon may provide you the chance to land some attractive deals.
However, buying in bulk from Amazon or other online stores such as eBay presents a few issues that may lead to losses. Bulk stamps from online vendors may have not been properly vetted and therefore you are bound to find low quality stamps.
Read my other article on the Best Places to Buy Stamps Online to review some of the factors that come into play when trying to buy stamps online.
Sources for further reading