In just about a month, the cost to send a first-class letter within the United States will be increasing by 10%.
Beginning on January 27, 2019, you’ll need 55¢ postage to mail a standard envelope weighing up to one ounce. That means the value of Forever stamps you already own goes up, but any Forever stamps you purchase after that date will be more expensive than what you have been paying.
Interestingly, for first-class letters, the charge for additional ounces is dropping from 21¢ to 15¢, as is the non-machinable surcharge. If you send a lot of overweight or stiff envelopes, you might actually save a penny or two, but that’s probably not going to be the case for most people.
Substantial price increases are also coming for Priority Mail including flat-rate envelopes and boxes; for example, a regular flat-rate Priority Mail envelope will cost $7.35 to mail, up from $6.70.
International letter rates are unaffected by the upcoming changes. If you’re curious about new prices for specific types of mail, or you want to dig deep into the details, you can take a look at the United States Postal Service’s 75-page price list reflecting the new rates.
Non-profit cover makes use of Ethiopian stamp images
Like a lot of people, I receive a decent amount of “junk mail,” including solicitations from various non-profit organizations. Some of those solicitations actually have stamps on them, mainly the Patriotic Nonprofit over the past couple of years, but probably roughly as many do not.
This cover that I received from Orbis International earlier this month falls into the latter category. It has a pretty enough border reminiscent of old airmail envelopes, but only a 13.5¢ meter mark to pay postage.
Flip the envelope over, however, and there are four stamps—or rather, images (with denominations removed) of four stamps from Ethiopia!
The stamps depicted are:
1967 Black-winged lovebird (airmail)
1950 Dejach Balcha Hospital
1958 UN Economic Conference for Africa (airmail)
My guess is the graphic designer who put together this envelope probably found the images on some stock photo website and decided to use them simply to make the envelope more attractive. Whatever the case, it certainly added a bit of color to something I would otherwise have discarded almost immediately.
(As interesting as this cover is, it doesn’t even come close to fitting into any of my collections, so I’ve listed it on my online shop.)
The United States Postal Service has unveiled several of its planned stamp issues for 2019, and there are some real beauties among them.
For those of us who like natural landscapes on stamps, there are a couple of upcoming issues of particular note. The first is a single design commemorating the bicentennial of Alabama statehood, which features a scene from Cheaha State Park in eastern Alabama. The artwork for that stamp looks quite nice, but even more impressive is the Wild and Scenic Rivers issue featuring images of 12 different waterways in the United States. Absolutely beautiful! I certainly plan to snag some of those for my landscapes collection, plus some more to use as postage.
The Post Office Murals issue which depicts five murals painted during the Great Depression also looks interesting, along with the a set of four stamps picturing frogs. The latter set is arguably unnecessary, but has nice colors. I’m intrigued by the USS Missouri stamp, too; I can’t imagine it was easy to come up with a vertical design picturing a battleship!
One set I’m not too excited about? The Cactus Flowers booklet. Bleh. Completely unnecessary in my opinion, though some might feel the same way about the aforementioned rivers issue, so maybe there is a little something for everybody.
There are two more stamps not announced in the USPS press release that we can pretty much count on. I can’t imagine that the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing won’t be recognized in some way—even Philosateleian Post is issuing a stamp commemorating that event—and it seems like a good bet that George H. W. Bush will be remembered, too. In all fairness, the former president didn’t die until after the preliminary list of new stamps was released, but I would be shocked if a commemorative picturing him is not issued within the next year.
New Hampshire’s Purgatory Post earlier this month continued its series of stamps noting the anniversaries of historic spaceflight events by issuing a pair of stamps commemorating the Apollo 8 mission. Apollo 8 launched exactly 50 years ago today, and its crew became the first to orbit the Moon.
The first of Purgatory Post’s stamps pictures the crew (Frank Borman, Bill Anders, and Jim Lovell) and their launch, while the other features the mission patch and the famous Earthrise photo, which was also used on the United States Apollo 8 stamp issued in 1969.
Both of these local post stamps are denominated 8-sola, which is Purgatory Post’s currency of choice.
I finally seem to be about over a nasty bout with seasonal allergies, and as I try to catch up on a few things I realize I’ve been extremely tardy in recognizing one of Philosateleia’s longtime supporters for a recent gift. Vivian B. late last month made a generous cash donation that will help cover some of my expenses for operating this website over the next few months.
I’ve always felt like offering free stamp album pages is a small way in which I can “give back” to a hobby from which I’ve derived a great deal of enjoyment, and I don’t feel like I’m owed anything for that, but I do appreciate the financial support that Vivian and other supporters have provided over the years. I hope I’m able to keep doing this for a long time to come!