USPS proposes semi-postal changes

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently proposed several changes to its semi-postal stamp program that would remove restrictions on the duration of semi-postal sales and the number of semi-postal issues offered at one time.

“The Postal Service has encountered continued interest in the sale of a previously offered discretionary semi-postal stamp for which the Postal Service possesses unsold inventory,” according to a June 10 notice in the U.S. government’s Federal Register.

The current regulations limit semi-postal sales to one issue at a time over two years.

“In administering this program it has become clear that there is interest in and demand for a lengthier period of sales for individual offerings from customers, stakeholders and congressional policy makers,” reads the notice, which adds the current regulations were based on five semi-postal stamps issued over 10 years—something since “proven impractical,” according to the postal service.

The USPS accepted public comments on the proposed changes until July 10.

The most successful semi-postal stamp issued by the USPS was also its first: the 1998 “Breast Cancer Research” stamp (Scott #B1) exceeded one billion units sold and raised more than $91 million US for breast cancer research.

The latest U.S. semi-postal issue, the “Healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” stamp (Scott #B7), has raised $638,000 US since it was issued last December.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEMI-POSTALS

In 1890, Britain issued the world’s first semi-postal—a postcard with a five-penny surcharge over the penny postage rate.

The extra five cents from this fundraising effort went into a trust benefitting Britain’s postal workers.

In North America, Canada was the country to issue semi-postals when the Post Office Department dished out a four-stamp series between 1974 and 1976 to support the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montréal.

To read more about the history of semi-postal stamps, click here for our 2016 story on the subject.

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