Postal Rates Due to Increase January 21

New U.S. postal rates due to begin January 21 affect most, though not all, mailing classes.

First-class domestic 1-ounce letter rate and postcard rates, which each rise by a penny to 50 cents and 35 cents, respectively, are among the rising postage rates.

Also rising will be metered first-class mail, from 46 cents to 47 cents, along with all basic shipping charges, which are rising 5 cents per rate across the board. The shipping rates include Priority Mail small flat-rate box and padded flat-rate envelope, which will rise to $7.20 and $7.25, respectively.

Two rates that are not due to rise include the additional ounce (or second ounce) first-class letter rate, which stays at 21 cents, and the international 1-ounce letter rate, which remains at $1.15.

Any appropriate forever stamps purchased at lower prices are, of course, valid for all the new rates. Forever stamps originally released to accommodate former rates will now be sold at the new price. For example, a booklet of 10 Flag stamps originally issued in 2016 and sold for $4.90 will cost $5 if purchased from the U.S. Postal Service starting January 21.

The U.S. Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission on October 6 of the price changes, which still need formal approval.

The proposed prices would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase, the Postal Service said in a news release. While Mailing Services price increases are limited based on the Consumer Price Index, Shipping Services prices are adjusted strategically, according to market conditions and the need to maintain affordable services for customers, the USPS stated.

The following chart lists all of the main mailing rate changes, according to the USPS:

Product Current New
Letters (1 oz.) 49 cents 50 cents
Letters additional ounces 21 cents 21 cents
Letters (metered) 46 cents 47 cents
Outbound International Letters (1 oz.) $1.15 $1.15
Domestic Postcards 34 cents 35 cents

The proposed domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate Retail price changes are:

Product Current Proposed
Small Flat Rate Box $7.15 $7.20
Medium Flat Rate Box $13.60 $13.65
Large Flat Rate Box $18.85 $18.90
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box $17.35 $17.40
Regular Flat Rate Envelope $6.65 $6.70
Legal Flat Rate Envelope $6.95 $7.00
Padded Flat Rate Envelope $7.20 $7.25

Celebrating Lunar New Year Stamp Series Continues with Year of the Dog

The U.S. Postal Service kicks off its 2018 stamp program in January with a Lunar New Year forever stamp celebrating the Year of the Dog.

The stamp will be formally issued January 11 at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Year of the Dog begins February 16 and ends February 4, 2019.

This is the 11th of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series, which features primary art from illustrator Kam Mak, a Hong Kong-born artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn.

The stamps in the current series, designed by Ethel Kessler, also incorporate elements from a previous Lunar New Year series: Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a dog, and the Chinese character for “dog,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun. Those elements graced U.S. Lunar New Year stamps issued found in stamps issued from 1992 through 2004.

The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world and is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage.

The U.S. Postal Service introduced its Celebrating Lunar New Year series, with stamps featuring artwork from Mak, in 2008. The series will continue through 2019 with a stamp for the Year of the Boar. Year of the Dog is being issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive Forever stamps.

The Year of the Dog illustration, originally created using oil paints on panel, depicts an arrangement of lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii). To the right is a lozenge-shaped piece of red paper with the Chinese character “fu,” meaning good fortune, rendered in calligraphy — a common decoration on doors and entryways during Lunar New Year festivities.

Previous Years of the Dog started in January or February of 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006.

Have a Ball Stamps June 14 at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Wisconsin

The U.S. Postal Service will issue June 14 a first-of-a-kind stamps with the look — and feel — of actual balls used in eight popular sports, according to a press release.

The Have a Ball forever stamps depict balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

A special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a: baseball’s stitching; golf ball’s dimples; tennis ball’s seams; soccer ball or volleyball’s textured panels; and, the different raised patterns of a football, basketball and kickball.

The first-day-of-issuance ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 14, at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Hartford, Wisconsin. The ceremony will be part of the U.S. Golf Association’s Flag Day celebration. The Postal Service is honored to be part of this special tribute to those who serve or have served in the military. Nearly one of seven postal employees served in the military.

To attend the standing room only ceremony, you must present a 2017 U.S. Open ticket for June 14, 2017, or a free special access ticket available for request only at usps.com/haveaball. Special access tickets are limited and are only good for June 14, 2017. Confirmed acceptance will be provided and is required for admission. The offer does not apply to U.S. Open ticket holders, active military — who will be admitted free — or children under 12 when accompanied by an adult ticket holder or badge holder.

The eight forever stamps will be issued in panes of 16 that include two stamps of each design. While most traditional stamps are square or rectangular in design, these stamps will be round. Stamp artist Daniel Nyari of Long Island City, New York, and stamp designer Mike Ryan of Charlottesville, Virginia, worked with Art Director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Virginia to create the stamp images.

Presidential Inauguration Station Postmark

Today, January 20, is Inauguration Day in the United States. To mark the occasion of Donald J. Trump being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, the U.S. Postal Service is offering a special cancellation in Washington, D.C.

Inaugural postmarks have been a tradition in the United States since the late 1950s.

Here are the instructions from the USPS on how to obtain the postmark:

Pictorial postmarks are available only for the dates indicated, and requests must be postmarked no later than 30 days following the requested pictorial postmark date.

All requests must include a stamped envelope or postcard bearing at least the minimum First-Class Mail postage. Items submitted for postmark may not include postage issued after the date of the requested postmark. Such items will be returned unserviced.

Customers wishing to obtain a postmark should affix stamps to any envelope or postcard of their choice, address the envelope or postcard to themselves or others, insert a card of postcard thickness in envelopes for sturdiness, and tuck in the flap. Place the envelope or postcard in a larger envelope and address it to: Pictorial Postmarks, followed by the Name of the Station, Address, City, State, ZIP+4® Code, as listed below.

Customers can also send stamped envelopes and postcards without addresses for postmark, as long as they supply a larger envelope with adequate postage and their return address. After applying the pictorial postmark, the Postal Service returns the items (with or without addresses) under addressed protective cover.

The address for the Inauguration postmark is: Presidential Inauguration Day Station, Postmaster, 2 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast, Washington, DC 20002-9998.