No, Forever Stamps Are Not an Investment Opportunity

Some things always seem like a sure bet. One of them is that the price of stamps will never go back down. That's not how most philatelists make the big bucks, though.

Starting this past weekend, the U.S. Post Office has raised the price of Forever Stamps yet again, to 55 cents from 50 cents. That's a 10 percent increase, the biggest jump since Forever Stamps were introduced more than a decade ago, at 39 cents a pop. Priority Mail prices for packages have also increased, but postcard stamps are staying put at 35 cents.

We've known about the pending increase since the fall, which means we've also missed our window for saving big on stamps going forward. Writing in 2007, when Forever Stamps debuted, Trent Hamm pointed out that "the rate of postage stamp increase is amazingly close to the rate of inflation in recent years. This is because that postage stamps are hedged to match inflation, as the postal service isn't out to make a profit, but to break even."

If you've got visions of saving big by stockpiling stamps before the next price hike, the Washington Post's Allan Sloan brings us all back down to Earth: "[Y]ou shouldn't treat Forevers as an investment because they don't produce any current income, and those of us who are average postal customers can't buy or sell them in enough quantity to make any serious money." Whether you mail enough letters to make it worth your while is one thing, but you might have better luck in the rare stamp biz if you're looking for profits.