USPS has been issuing stamps for decades. It makes sense to wonder if they have an expiration date for something that’s been around that long.
So, if you’ve got sheets of stamps gathering dust on your desk, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to find out if USPS stamps expire.
Do USPS Stamps Expire?
As long as they are in good condition, USPS stamps do not expire. Forever Stamps, which USPS has been issuing since 2007, are non-denominational and always reflect the current rate of first-class postage. Stamps with a dollar value also do not expire but must be combined with other stamps to reflect the current postage rate.
While your stamps won’t expire, knowing how much they’re worth can be tricky. Read on to find out the value of your stamps!
How Do I Know If My USPS Stamps Are Still Good?
A simple glance is all you need to do to know if your USPS stamps are still good.
If your stamps have the word “Forever” printed somewhere, feel free to stick one on an envelope and put your letter in the mail (as long as it weighs less than one ounce!).
USPS considers Forever Stamps “non-denominated” postage. This means the stamps don’t have any monetary value printed on them to tell you what they’re worth.
Forever Stamps’ value changes in function of the current value of first-class postage. In other words, a Forever Stamp will forever be worth the present value of first-class postage.
If you buy Forever Stamps today and postage goes up tomorrow, your stamps will reflect the current value of first-class postage, even though you bought them at a lower price.
Besides Forever Stamps, USPS also sells stamps with a number followed by the cent symbol (¢). They come in denominations such as 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢ and 10¢.
You can use these stamps whenever you wish. However, you’ll need to check the current postage cost to see how many to use.
Once you know how much postage costs, you can combine as many cent stamps as needed.
Notably, stamps with a monetary value may have a year printed on them.
This indicates the year in which the USPS adopted the stamp. It has nothing to do with an expiration date. Just like Forever Stamps, these stamps don’t expire.
Can You Use Old USPS Stamps?
In most cases, yes, you can. Your old stamps will work as long as USPS can validate your stamps as legitimate postage.
A stamp is considered legitimate if it is clean and adheres to the envelope.
If, on the other hand, your stamp is damaged, there’s a chance USPS will reject it. Some reasons a stamp may be rejected include:
- A torn or damaged border
- The price/value of the stamp is illegible, blurred, smeared or covered
- The stamp has lost its adhesiveness. USPS will reject stamps covered with tape or glue.
If you have doubts about old stamps in your junk drawer, bring them to USPS and have a mail clerk make the final decision.
How Long Are USPS Forever Stamps Good For?
Just like the name indicates, USPS Forever Stamps are good forever.
Unlike stamps of the past that had a monetary value printed on them, Forever Stamps don’t have a set value—instead, their value changes in the function of the USPS’ postage rate.
You’ll pay the current rate for first-class postage when you purchase a Forever Stamp.
If you don’t use the stamp for five years and the postage rate goes up (which it undoubtedly will), your Forever Stamp will reflect the current value of first-class postage.
Let’s look at an example to make things clearer. In 2007 (the year Forever Stamps were introduced), the cost of first-class postage was $0.41.
Currently, the cost is $0.58. If you bought Forever Stamps between 2007 and 2020, their value is now $0.58, even though you paid less.
Do Global Forever® Stamps Expire?
Just like domestic Forever Stamps, USPS’ Global Forever® stamps never expire.
Global Forever® stamps are part of the USPS’ First-Class Mail International® (FCMI) service. They’re the most affordable way to send letters and postcards to more than 180 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.
With one Global Forever® stamp, you can send 1oz letters or postcards pretty much anywhere in the world for one flat rate.
Even if postage goes up, your stamps will still be valid and ready to get your mail where it needs to go.
Do USPS Shipping Labels Expire?
Unlike stamps, USPS shipping labels do have an expiration date. Technically speaking, USPS shipping labels “expire” 28 days after you purchase them.
While day 28 is the official cutoff date, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Generally, USPS will give you a 2 to 3-day grace period when using shipping labels.
However, each Post Office can use its discretion.
Some locations may accept labels weeks after the printed ship date. Others will reject a label that’s only a day over. It all depends!
If the mail clerk at your Post Office refuses labels that you believe are still within an acceptable range, you can ask to speak with the Postmaster.
If they refuse to budge, don’t fret! USPS doesn’t scan labels into their system when you purchase them.
That means the tracking numbers never enter their system. You can always request a refund from your online shipping software and use the refund to buy a new label.