Beginning Jan. 22, first-class stamps in the U.S. will not have postage numbers on them.
Ending a tradition that began with the very first stamps in 1847, the U.S. Postal Service has made universal the no-numbers idea first begun a few years ago, in an attempt to make it easier for all involved.
Currently, Americans buy stamps that are worth 44 cents and have the value printed on them. When the first-class postal rate goes up, people can still use the 44-cent stamps but also have to buy other stamps of much lesser value, usually 1 or 2 cents, to make up the difference. The new scheme, deemed Forever, will make that scenario obsolete.
The Forever stamp is not an altogether new idea. The USPS issued Liberty Bell Forever stamps in 2007. No postage numbers were on those stamps, which customers can still buy and use.
The key difference is that customers will have to pay whatever the current rate is but will no longer have to make up any difference by buying smaller-value stamps.
This applies only to the one-ounce first-class stamps that are the staple of regular-sized envelopes containing letters, bills, and other lightweight items.