Every time there is an increase in USA postage stamps, a trip to the post office to buy penny or two cent stamps is required. In May of this year, the US Postal service decided to issue 41 cent first class stamps. This alleviated any further purchase of penny stamps for the consumer, and was considered great news for anyone who had to run out and buy extra stamps in order to post their mail.
However, along with the new first class stamp came a new set of rules and regulations governing the type of mail that is sent. What emerged was a new way of calculating postage for use within the US and abroad.
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The first change was a new rate chart which illustrated the cost of mailing anything from postcards to packages weighing over 70 lbs. Instead of just mailing a regular envelope, for example, you are now required to weigh it as well as determine its dimensions. Let’s say you are mailing a letter to someone in Australia. The new regulations state that the letter has to have a maximum weight of 3.5 ounces, maximum length of 8-1/2 inches, and maximum height of 6-1/8 inches.
In addition, no longer is the term “air mail” used, but “first class international mail” has been substituted.
While these new rules have been somewhat confusing, they are nonetheless essential since putting a tight rein on what is being mailed and how it is being mailed falls within the parameters of Homeland Security and its efforts to stay on top of any type of mail that could contain explosives or toxic powders. After the anthrax scare, efforts to implement a safer and more secure way of checking pieces of mail were instituted.
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So far, the new regulations have been widely accepted and carry few problems to date. Although having ones at a set rate is a positive step, anyone who mails packages or parcels within the US or outside the country are still required to post these larger parcels at their local post office.
This is done not only to ensure accurate postage, but it has been mandated by the US Postal Service to ask several questions regarding the packages and what is being sent. This is just another security measure that has been put in place to protect everyone receiving and sending mail as well. Thus, the US postage stamps created in May can be used for all first class mail or as collector’s items as well.