Amateur astronomers are excited about the total solar eclipse set to appear (or disappear?) on August 21. This is the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse will cross the entire United States.
Think stamps are only worth the paper they’re printed on? Philatelists will tell you to think again. The tiny One-Cent Magenta stamp, now on display at the National Postal Museum, recently sold for $9.5 million.
Of course, that sole-surviving stamp of the British Guiana penny issues is the rarest stamp in the world. Other stamps deemed collectible by the philatelic community are also worth a pretty penny.
Elvis is back in the building! Earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service previewed the new Elvis Presley stamp that will be released in August as part of the popular music icons series of commemorative stamps that include the likes of Ray Charles, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.
Love ‘em, hate ‘em or feel indifferent, stamps are certainly getting their 15 minutes of fame. Not only are the latest stamp releases creating major buzz (think Harry Potter and Jimi Hendrix) but alternatives to buying stamps at Post Office counters – such as online and retail partners – are gaining in popularity.
Young or old Elvis? That was the question 20 years ago when the U.S. Postal Service considered artwork for the Elvis stamp. The Postal Service put the vote to the public and controversy soon followed. Members of Congress debated the worthiness of an Elvis stamp, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton weighed in, and the whole thing became fodder for cartoonists and late-night comedians, according to the National Postal Museum.
Elvis Mania paid off and the Elvis stamp went on to become the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time.
The sale of stamps and related products are a core Postal Service business. The Postal Service prints billions of commemorative and definitive stamps annually to enable customers to mail pre-paid domestic and international mail and to also encourage stamp collecting. Given the traditional importance of stamps to the Postal Service, it is vital that the process by which stamps are distributed to customers be both timely and secure.
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) ushered in a new regulatory structure for the U.S. Postal Service. One key element was a price cap on market dominant products. (Most of the Postal Service's products are market dominant.) This means that price increases for market dominant products are capped by the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
For decades, the Postal Service offered vending machine service to supplement its retail operations. Vending machines meet the needs of customers who want to purchase stamps without waiting in line. While the lack of stamp vending machines has resulted in customer frustration and a surprising number of newspaper articles, the problems are particularly acute in economically depressed and more urban areas.
How much does it cost to develop, print, ship, inventory, secure, sell, and cancel a stamp used to mail a letter? What about the stamps that are never sold? The Postal Service destroys billions of stamps each year because they are obsolete. In FY 2008, the Postal Service printed 37 billion stamps, which cost $78 million to print. In that same year, they destroyed old stamps, some of which were printed more than 10 years ago, that were valued at approximately $2.8 billion. Those stamps were printed, shipped, counted multiple times in various inventories, and finally shipped back for des
Last Monday was predicted to be the busiest day of the year for Post Offices™ across the country. Have you visited a Post Office recently? If so, we would like to hear your story.
Why were you there? What worked well? What didn’t work well?
Has your local Post Office adopted any best practices that should spread across the country? Are there any low-cost improvements that would improve the retail experience?