Do Stamps Expire?

The quick answer is no. Stamps don’t expire as long as they’re in good condition.

This means that there should be no tears or faded areas anywhere on the stamp.

Both the image and denomination should be clear and easy to recognize.

If you’ve had stamps for a long time, it could be confusing trying to guess whether or not they’re still valid. You’re probably wondering if they expire or have a good-if-used-by date.

The great news is that ever since 1860, all postage stamps that have been issued by the United States are valid for postage.

In addition to the US, there are other countries that have stamps that don’t expire, such as Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Many of them also follow a similar system for their mail service as the US.

Do Stamps Lose Value?

The problem many people face is that they have stamps that don’t match the current postage rates. What to do?

Well, you can’t throw them just because the postage is no longer the same. That’d be a waste of money.

What you can do, however, is use the stamps you already have and simply pay the difference.

You’ll most likely end up paying no more than ten or twenty cents.

Once you’ve bought the necessary stamps to supplement the price, your letter is now ready to be mailed. 

It’s worth mentioning that the only thing that can affect the validity of your stamps is their condition. It’s a measure of how well you’ve taken care of them.

Keep stamps neatly placed and covered, preferably in a folder or binder. You can buy specially-made folders or make one yourself. This keeps them protected against the elements, such as moisture and humidity. It also helps retain the integrity and legitimacy of the stamps.

More Questions About Stamps

Now that we’ve answered one of the most commonly asked questions about stamps. Let’s see if we can answer some more. Read on for more interesting stamp facts.

Everyone knows those cute little pieces of paper we stick on our letters. But did you know that stamps have been around for nearly two hundred years?

Stamps can be used to send practically everything to almost anywhere in the world. They keep us connected and make our lives much easier in the process.

Are you interested in finding out more about stamps? Keep reading.

What Are the Most Common Types of Stamps?

In essence, a postage stamp is a piece of paper issued by an authorized postal service. Many stamps have a fixed amount of postage denoted on them. This denomination is the value of the stamp.

Some countries have non-denominated stamps. These types of stamps don’t feature any type of value denoted on the face of the stamp. In other words, they can be used for first-class postage even if postage rates increase.

They can be bought individually, in booklets, or as sheets. The following are some of the most common types of stamps made available by the postal service.

Definitive Stamps

The first-ever United States postage stamp was put into circulation in 1847. It was meant for standard, everyday mail. Since then, definitive stamps have had a variety of denominations that can range from as low as 1¢ all the way to $25.50.

Forever Stamps

First introduced in 2007, Forever stamps are one type of non- denominated stamp. They feature the word ‘FOREVER’ instead of having a certain denomination.

As with all other types of stamps, Forever stamps don’t expire. What makes them unique is that their value never changes, even if postal rates increase.

Forever stamps are sold at the current rate. Yet, they remain valid even when stamp prices go up. This means that if postage rates increase, you can still use your Forever stamp for 1-ounce letters. You won’t need any additional stamps to make up for the current postage rate.

Many people ask, “What do I do if I have mail that weighs heavier than one ounce?” All you have to do is pay for the extra postage to cover the cost.

Airmail Stamps

The first airmail stamp appeared in 1918. Since it was made specifically for airmail service, it wasn’t as common as other types of stamps. Nowadays, it’s become more popular for both national and international mail services.

Semi-Postal Stamps

Semi-postal stamps are sold for extra to raise money for a worthy cause. The first one appeared in 1997. It aimed to help fund breast cancer research. It’s called the Breast Cancer Semi-Postal.

The next one came out in 2002. It was made to gather funds for families of first responders of the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York. This stamp is known as the Heroes of 9/11 Semi-Postal.

Semi-postals aren’t printed as frequently as other types of stamps. This is why stamp collectors regard them as an investment. They also make great additions to their stamp collections.

Commemorative Stamps

From 1847 to 1893, definitive stamps were the only type of stamp available. Then came the release of the first commemorative stamp.

Just as semi-postals, commemorative stamps aren’t widely printed. That’s why avid stamp collectors also consider them an investment.

Can Stamps Be Reused?

Once a stamp has passed through the mail service, it can’t be reused.

You can’t remove a stamp from one mailpiece to use on another.

This also applies if the stamp wasn’t canceled in any way or defaced by the Postal Service.

Can a Stamp Be Torn and Still Be Considered Valid?

No. Stamps that are torn or are missing major portions, such as the denomination, aren’t valid.

The only thing that can render a stamp invalid is if it has been defaced.

This ruins the stamp and makes it unrecognizable. If a stamp is ruined and can’t be validated as legitimate postage, then it’ll be rejected by the US Mail service.

However, if a stamp has only a minor tear in one of the corners, it can still be considered valid.

You can even exchange it at your local post office.

Make sure the remaining portion of the stamp is in decent condition.

The denomination should also be clear and easily read.

The Takeaway

Postage stamps were designed to facilitate the sending and receiving of parcels. They’ve been helping us do that for hundreds of years.

Since most of us have old stamps lying around, many people ask: do stamps expire? Luckily for us, all types of postage stamps don’t go out of date. 

No matter what type you may have, you can still use your stamps to send mail. Some types of stamps, as Forever stamps, are more resourceful than others. They retain their value despite any increases that may occur to postal rates.

As with other types of stamps, you may end up paying a little extra to make up for the slight difference in postal rates. Either way, you can keep using any stamps you have on hand until you run out.