Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

Postage rate increases set for big hike next week


January 24, 2019

Cost to mail a first class letter will increase five cents from 50 cents to 55 cents Jan. 27, a hike which is believed to be the largest postage jump in U.S. history.

The first class stamp, which became synonymous with a forever stamps in 2011 with the price set at 44 cents, are for mail up to one ounce.

According to the USPS Forever Stamp fact sheet, the forever stamp was introduced in 2007, with prices set at 41 cents. It allowed customers some extra security, as even with price changes the stamp will still be good. That same year also introduced shape-based postage pricing and with different prices for letters and packages with the latter starting at $1.13.

In 2014, the cost of the forever stamp jumped from 46 cents to 49 cents, but then was dropped to 47 cents in April of 2016 before returning to 49 cents in January of the following year.

Last year the cost increased to 50 cents.

Stamps.com goes over the current postage price change on their website.

While the stamp cost is going up, the cost of each additional ounce for a letter is going down from 21 cents to 15 cents.

Postcard stamps will remain 35 cents.

Priority mail will have an average increase of 5.9 percent. First class packages are increasing an average of 11.9 percent and media mail rates are increasing 2.9 percent from $2.66 to $2.75.

International priority shipping will increase by 6.2 percent starting at $39.71 from $38.29.

Flat rate priority shipping is increasing across the board. Some examples include flat rate envelopes $6.70 are going to $7.35, and medium and large flat rate boxes $13.65 to $14.35 and $18.90 to $19.95 respectively.

President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act in 1792, establishing the United States Post Office Department. Starting with rates for a single piece of paper at six cents for under 30 miles and increasing incrementally to 25 cents for more than 450 miles.

In 1845, Congress established uniform postal rates throughout the nation. The USPS postage rates and historical statistics showed at that time a letter would cost five cents if it was under half an ounce and was going no farther than 300 miles. Letters going more than 300 miles cost 10 cents. The first U.S. postage stamps were issued in 1847.

In 1863, the rate for domestic letters dropped to three cents per half ounce. They dropped again in 1883 to two cents per half ounce. In 1885 the rates changed again to two cents per ounce. Postage rates remained under 10 cents until 1974.


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