The Forever Stamp has been designed by the U.S. Postal Service as a product of convenience for its busy customers. Customers can avoid lines by buying these stamps in bulk. The lure of the Forever Stamp is that it continues to hold the same value as a standard stamp, regardless of whether the price changes.
The price of a Forever Stamp is equal to the price of a regular first-class mail postage stamp. These stamps are not sold at a higher price because the U.S. Post Office (USPS) seeks to secure a stable customer base. By encouraging repeat business with the Forever Stamp, USPS can both satisfy its customers' needs for convenience as well as its own short-term sales goals. Forever Stamps are sold individually and in booklets.
Once purchased, a Forever Stamp increases in value without incurring any further costs to a postal customer. The value of a Forever Stamp could increase 10 or 20 cents over the course of a decade to match the price of a standard stamp. Just like a standard stamp, a Forever Stamp can also be used to mail letters and bills. However, even though this stamp contains the word "Forever" in its name, it no longer carries value as a postal instrument once it's canceled. Thus, once used, the stamp becomes nothing more than a quaint collectible.
While the Forever Stamp is produced in only one type---with an image of the Liberty Bell---advocates for veterans' interests have introduced legislation to produce a stamp in honor of service members who were killed or wounded at war. This proposed stamp, which features a Purple Heart symbol, is currently circulated as a standard stamp and must be reissued each time the price of a standard stamp is increased. Advocates want to make the status of the stamp permanent by converting it into a Forever Stamp.
A Forever Stamp can be used when sending a letter internationally. While the Forever Stamp will be recognized internationally to carry the same value of a standard stamp, the Forever Stamp may need to be supplemented with additional postage in order to be in agreement with international postage rates.
Roughly over the course of a year, $2.3 billion worth of Forever Stamps were sold following its introduction in 2007. The USPS announced that it suffered a net loss of $1.9 billion in the first three months of 2009, so it resorted to a price hike on its standard stamp. Nevertheless, customers are always encouraged to buy Forever Stamps prior to a postal rate increase. Such purchases are in the interests of both the customer as well as the postal service. Indeed, the Postal Service receives a double boost by increasing postal rates. Most customers will continue to buy stamps at any rate, as long as the increase is reasonable. However, fans of Forever Stamps will begin to purchase these stamps enthusiastically in the days leading up to the price hike. It's a win-win situation for USPS.