Can FOREVER Stamps Help TTM Autograph Collectors In Other Countries Save Money, Too?

It’s not Halloween yet, so I do not want to be a scary character. You know, a grim reaper who says, “BOO! Got you by the wallet.” See for yourself in this USPS news release how rates will go up in January, 2013.

Here’s a bit of GOOD postal news, though. I wanted some specifics, and got a nice e-mail from the USPS website help desk.

“I understand that you would like to know if your friend would benefit from a FOREVER stamp. I am more than happy to assist you!

Here is some information about Forever Stamps:

The Forever Stamp is a special Nondenominational stamp that is issued to save customers time and money, especially when First-Class Mail prices are changing. The Forever Stamp always represents a 1 ounce First-Class Mail price. Therefore, when a customer buys a Forever Stamp, they pay the current First-Class Mail 1 ounce price and it is always worth the First-Class Mail 1 ounce price no matter how many times the price of the stamp changes in the future. Once purchased, these stamps can be used indefinitely (hence the term Forever Stamp).

Forever Stamps are currently being sold for $0.45.

You can use Forever Stamps for international mail, but since all international prices are higher than domestic prices, customers will need to attach additional postage. The value of the Forever Stamp is the domestic First-Class Mail letter price in effect on the day of use.

I hope you find this information helpful!

Tom, I was more than happy to give you information on Forever Stamps. Please do not hesitate to contact us in the future should you have any more questions or concerns.

Thank you for choosing the United States Postal Service for your mailing and shipping needs. We appreciate your business.

Have a great day!

Kindest Regards,

Lacey”

Translated? Let’s look at the potential that my friend Kohei from Japan faces. Right now, his SASE needs $1.05 for international mail. Of course, slowpoke signers may not respond before Jan. 27. His choices?

A) Use currently-available $1.05 stamp. Be prepared to pay the extra nickel owed the USPS if a reply is tardy.
B) Up the stampage to $1.10 now.
C) Use two FOREVER stamps with 15 cents postage. (Post Jan. 27 value would be 92 cents + 15 = $1.07.) If a signer responds in February or later, Kohei would owe three cents.
D) Use three FOREVER stamps. Be covered for the next few increases?

UPDATE: What’s the best choice? Check out the comments below. You’ll see my vote. What’s yours?

Coming Wednesday: Remembering Dave May.

Can FOREVER Stamps Work Anywhere?

I had a great question from Kohei Nirengi, our great baseball booster from Japan.

He reminded me how much international readers of this blog love baseball letters. They cope with TWO different postal systems.

Kohei asked if FOREVER stamps could help him guard against possible price increases on his air mail returns. Currently, it’s $1.05 for one SASE.

I hope that USPS would extend the power of FOREVER price protection to overseas users, too. I think collectors like Kohei would invest in quantity. And why not?

To get an iron-clad answer, I e-mailed the USPS website.

Years ago (in a different town) I called my local post office to ask about a mailing question. Getting served at the counter, the clerk told me something different. I explained how I had called to ask about the policy before driving to the post office.

“Are you sure you hadn’t called UPS?” he asked in all seriousness. “They’re different than us.”

Ever since, I’ve always wanted to double-check any interpretation of postal policy.

Any suggestions for collectors for other countries? Stay tuned for my official USPS update.

Coming Wednesday: A Sharpie secret.

Holiday ‘Forever’ Stamps Might Help

It’s the time of giving. Why won’t the postal carriers give us more autographs?

This is the “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” type debate of the hobby. Some collectors swear they find more players signing during the holiday season. Others swear the whole work takes a vacation until Jan. 2. No autographs, no matter what.

Don’t give up hope. Consider the holiday evergreen stamps. They have the “FOREVER” designation, in case of a postal increase. Plus, they might guilt out a signer who finds your envelope with “holiday” stamps got ignored until January.

The other longshot? Sending a Christmas card to soften up a signer. I wouldn’t do it. Even retired players know when there’s strings attached. If you want to send Christmas cards, send them as thank-you notes to guys who’ve signed for you in 2010.

Readers: do you get fewer or more returns before Christmas?

Autograph Collectors: Postal Service Wants Your Two Cents’ Worth PLUS 44

The Postal Service issued a wake-up call to collectors this month. The move is afoot to raise first-class postage from 44 to 46 cents on Jan. 2, 2011.

If you send just one autograph letter per day (with SASE), you’ll be paying $14.60 more.

There’s still time to protest. There is a commission that’ll make the decision on increasing the prices. Contact them if you’d like to stamp out the price increase.

Meanwhile, load up on those FOREVER stamps for your self-addressed envelopes. That way, tardy signers won’t have their responses impounded.

Bless all the carriers who’ve been delivering SASEs sent before the barrage of postal increases — many before FOREVER stamps were options. I’ve read of long-awaited autographs appearing with a 37-cent stamp. I believe that the USPS delivery brigade is filled with good folks. They must have a hunch that something special awaits inside those envelopes.

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