Tuesday, February 06, 2007


39 cent stampI went to buy stamps today - 39 cents each. $7.80 for book of 20 and I wondered - why do the write .39 cents on the front of the stamp and lock it into a specific value? When I go to the post office, I think I'm buying the right to mail 20 first class letters when I buy 20 stamps. Shouldn't I always be able to mail a first class letter with one of those stamps? Or is it really just conveniently-sticky currency? I'll ask next time...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:35 PM

    the answer to your question is yes, they are monetary equivilant units with sticky gum on the backs.

    In grocery stores, stamps are often kept under lock and key because they can be traded in for cash.

    You always pay the face value for a stamp, without any tax added, even when you buy them in a book.

    And contrary to almost any other monetary unit, the face value of a stamp does not appreciate or depreciate -- that is to say if a lost letter from 1914 had a 5 cent stamp on it, it would be returned to sender for additional postage, even though the "collectable" value of the stamp might be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    Often, when they are thinking of switching the value of stamps, the USPS will issue "intermediate" value stamps that only make up the difference btwn the value of the old and new 1st class letter rate.