Postage for First Class mail increases by one penny Sunday, Jan. 27. Great news - effective on the 27, free tracking service will be included on all Priority, Express and Standard Post (formerly called Parcel Post) as well.
This year's one-cent increase translates to only a few more dollars for the average residential customer. In fact, even if you mail a letter or card every single day, you'll only pay $4 more for postage the entire year. At 46 cents, a postage stamp is still one of the best bargains in the United States. The Postal Service does not receive tax dollars to cover the cost of operations.
Here's a brief history of first-class mail stamp prices, beginning with the $.02 stamp in 1885: 1917, $.03; 1919, $.02; 1932, $.03; 1958, $.04; 1963, $.05; 1968, $06; 1971, $08; 1974, $.10; 1975- $.13; 1978, $.15; 1981, $.18 and $.20; 1985, $.22; 1988, $.25; 1991, $.29; 1995, $.33; 2001, $.34; 2002, $.37; 2006, $.39; 2007, $.41; 2008, $.42; 2009, $.44; and 2012, $.45.
Since 2007 the Postal Service has issued Forever stamps, which are valid for First-Class postage regardless of any price changes. Forever stamps are purchased at the current First-Class postage rate and are valid Forever!
Now's the time to sort through all those unused stamps that have been accumulating in a box or drawer. The amount indicated on those stamps is still valid. You can use them any time. And, if you have any one-cent stamps, you're in luck because that's the amount of the increase that became effective Jan. 27. Any combination of stamps may be used in meeting the postage requirements. The Post Office encourages you to utilize all the stamps you have.
If you have any of those non-denominational A-H stamps that were issued, here's the letter, the year it was issued, and its value: A, 1978, $.15; B, 1981, $.18; C, 1981, $.20; D, 1985, $.22; E, 1988, $.25; F, 1991, $.29, G, 1994, $.32; and H, 1998, $.33. A one-cent make-up stamp (a weathervane) was also issued in 1998.