Generally Speaking: The high cost of postage stamps

December 17, 2020 Theodore W. General
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As I think everyone is aware, the cost for mailing a letter or Christmas card is currently  55 cents, providing you buy the stamps at your local post office. However, I have been under the apparently mistaken impression that it was illegal for any store or corporation to sell U.S. Postage stamps above face value. 

Hoping to avoid both the long lines at the post office and to practice good social distancing in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, my wife ordered postage stamps online via Amazon. I was shocked to see what Amazon charges for first class forever stamps.  If you buy a book of 20 flag stamps at the post office, it is $11 or a roll of 100 for $55.  At Amazon , $29.95 and $64.95; for Christmas secular stamps $19.95, Christmas OLG stamps $20.95 and Liberty Bell stamps $34.95.

After seeing those outrageous prices, I decided to see what other online vendors were charging.  Walmart charges $15 plus a delivery charge of $5.99 for 20 flag stamps. If you buy more than $35 in stamps, you get free delivery. For 20 Christmas stamps, it’s $19.98-$27.98 and the roll of 100 flag stamps is $64.95. On Etsy, it costs $12.49 for 20 flag stamps and $59 for a roll of 100, and 20 Christmas stamps cost $20.49. In addition, I understand UPS, Fed-Ex shops and private mail facilities also add surcharges for postage stamps.

If you are over 50, I think you can recall the days when vendors could only sell U.S. Postage stamps at face value.

The Postal Service says they sell stamps at face value to everyone, and they claim to have no control over the pricing policies of private entrepreneurs, companies or agencies who resell their products.

I also found if you order stamps via the internet from the U.S. Postal Service, they now add a $1.50 handling fee.

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Society of Old Brooklynites – of which I am first vice president and public relations director –is glad to see the recent groundbreaking ceremony under the Brooklyn Bridge for the new plaza to be named in honor of Emily Roebling. When her husband Washington Roebling became incapacitated due to the bends, she was able to supervise and guide the final completion of the bridge. When the bridge opened in 1883, society officers were part of the opening ceremony. In 1973, the society erected a bronze monument to Washington Roebling in Columbus Park near Brooklyn Borough Hall.  Sadly, it took nearly five decades for the key role Emily played in this monumental achievement to be recognized. 

Society President George Broadhead released the following statement: “When this bridge was completed, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and was referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’ It’s high time we pay tribute to this great lady who managed to bring to final fruition this magnificent and world-renowned structure.”

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