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Stamp Retention Figures

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Pillar Of The Community

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Posted 10/03/2021   11:14 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add eyeonwall to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I found a rather old article cut out of a newspaper with by the Associated Press quoting some interesting figures from the USPS that people might find interesting.

It said that "About 20% of commemorative stamps are sold but never used for postage. This profit amounted to $168 million after costs in fiscal 1983."

That would mean they sold around $840 million in commem stamps. In 83 the rate was 20c, so that would be around 4.2 billion commem stamps.

They also claimed that 22 million people saved these unused stamps "in albums or shoeboxes", which would mean an average of about 38 stamps per person for the year (38 diff commems were issued that year).

I've always felt their retention figures were overly optimistic. For one thing, I have a problem with their assumption that these stamps will never be used. Most of us use old stamps and many other older stamps are sold into the discount postage market and many of those are used. While some will never be used, a significant number of them are used and thus are more of a long term interest free loan rather than a profit.

The article also said the estimated profit for 1974 was only $22 million (rae was only 8c and only about half as many diff commems were issued).
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United Kingdom
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Posted 10/04/2021   04:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Do you have any data for the UK?
There is a discount market for unused stamps.

I think that many other counties have large amounts of unused postage in collections, so worldwide post offices have done well out of collectors by not providing postal services for stamp purchases.
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United Kingdom
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Posted 10/04/2021   05:21 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Many years ago, the post office conducted a survey - and was mocked for doing so - of the stamps that customers had in their possession, although I think that this probably focused on definitives, rather than those bought by stamp collectors. I imagine that Royal Mail has an idea of liability - perhaps it's hidden somewhere in the accounts. Taking into account the buyer's premium, auction prices seem to be about 60% of face at present.
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Posted 10/04/2021   07:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would think the USPS should carry sold but not used stamps as a liability on the books. With Forever stamps, it gets more interesting as rates increase.
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Al
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Posted 10/04/2021   07:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Based on the amount of "face value" lots I see in every Canadian auction, there's a ton of unused postage washing around the market. Seem to go for around 70% of face. Don't think Canada Post tracks sold, unused postage as a liability - I've read their annual report (which is interesting reading!), but don't recall it mentioned in there - of course, could be rolled up into a larger segment.

~Greg
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Posted 10/04/2021   08:07 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here, decimalisation provided an overnight remival of liability. The liability that has built up since then will be likely to be much more substantial because of the volume of issues allied with the development of the market for discounted postage.
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Posted 10/04/2021   09:49 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will add the majority of my stamp purchases did not generate any new revenue because old stamps were used.
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Al
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Posted 10/04/2021   09:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jconey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
angore. In years past that liability would 'technically' have been removed as issues were demonetized. Even though old postage is still honored. I would think you are right though, especially with forever stamps never being demonetized. They are out there hanging in the balance sheet "forever". This is probably something they didn't give thought to when devising the schema. After so many years of this amount growing, I wonder if this is also causing a snowball effect in the USPS books and adding to current fiscal problems, with or without conscience recognition by the powers that be...
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Edited by jconey - 10/04/2021 09:54 am
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United States
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Posted 10/04/2021   09:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jconey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hahahah. Yeah I don't keep up with new issues either so don't blame me...
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Edited by jconey - 10/04/2021 09:53 am
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Posted 10/04/2021   10:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The USPS started the Forever stamp program to CUT costs. The constant rate changes were causing them to keep creating and producing large quantities of new issues including small denomination make-up stamps. In hindsight probably a shortsighted decision.
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Posted 10/04/2021   3:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Check out this link which has information sourced from the USPS about how many of each popular issue were saved.

https://www.infoplease.com/us/posta...ative-stamps

How does the USPS know how many of each issue were saved vs used for postage?

I think it would be helpful for collectors, the Board of Governors, and taxpayers alike, if the USPS published how many of each issue were printed vs sold.
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Posted 10/04/2021   3:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The USPS used to do an annual survey of 10,000 households to determine which stamps are most popular and extrapolate from the results. They really have no way, other than for the sale of semi-postal's, to break anything down by issue.
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Posted 10/04/2021   4:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
They really have no way, other than for the sale of semi-postal's, to break anything down by issue.


Huh?

All accountable paper products are barcoded. They know EXACTLY how many of each stamp they sell.

What they would not know is the retention rate of any individual item.
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United Kingdom
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Posted 10/04/2021   5:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I took a letter with about 25 stamps to my local post office today as it was a registered item.They pulled a face. The first clerk spent about 15 minutes trying to add up the value, and got it wrong. The second clerk at the 3rd attempt got it to agree with what I had put on the item and finally registered the item. They both complained that I should have bought a label from them. I was using proper unused stamps and sending to a stamp collector. Unfortunately this post office which is the nearest to me has 2 very miserable clerks as some of the other offices are more helpful.This pair always give me a hard time if I use stamps. If possible I always try to go to other post offices , but if I am late for the post or something else then I may have no choice.
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Edited by Triangle - 10/04/2021 5:33 pm
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Posted 10/04/2021   6:09 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You were within your rights, but it was not, perhaps, wise to exercise them. Twenty-five stamps to count wouldn't be my idea of fun.
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Posted 10/04/2021   6:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
All accountable paper products are barcoded. They know EXACTLY how many of each stamp they sell.


I can and do go into my local PO and purchase stamps as well as stamped envelopes. I bring in mail and ask them to use stamps and they do after weighing the items. They scan no barcodes. They ring it up as a stamp sale and that is that.

Some products do have UPC codes but that does not mean that the USPS accounts for every stamp sold by issue.

Postmasters are responsible for inventory but good luck with that one. My local postmaster can barely get the mail sorted every day.

Perhaps John Becker can point us to the USPS document(s)/publication(s) that breaks down stamp sales by individual issue.

Standing by.

Cheers


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