A customer asked why the new Fern coil stamps from the USPS were denominated 49˘ instead of using the “Forever” designation. This one is simple to answer.

This particular coil issue only comes in rolls of 5000 or 10,000 stamps. Therefore, it’s not used by the average person in the public. These coils are used by commercial mailing firms that are sending out thousands and thousands of letters at one time. These large coil rolls are placed into stamp affixing machines. As the envelopes are addressed and stuffed, the stamp is applied to the envelope. Using large coil rolls of stamps allows the operation to continue uninterrupted for long periods of time without having someone constantly changing the roll of stamps.

When a rate change occurs, Forever stamps are still sold at the old rate up until the day that the rate changes. If the average person buys a few booklets or coil rolls of stamps the day before the rate changes, the USPS loses a couple of bucks. In the grand scheme of things, it’s peanuts to the USPS. Even if thousands of customers stock up on stamps the day before the rate changes, it’s still not a huge amount of money to the USPS.

However, if the commercial mailing companies were to buy multiple large rolls of Forever stamps the day before the rate changes, one purchase alone could cost the USPS thousands and thousands of dollars or more. Now we’re talking real money.

To prevent this from happening, the USPS doesn’t use the Forever designation on these large rolls of coils. It only uses the first class postage rate.

Couldn’t these large mailers just buy coil rolls of 100 instead? Sure. However, the labor involved to constantly change a roll of 100 stamps in a stamp affixing machine is too high. The few pennies the company saves by buying the rolls of 100 stamps is easily wiped out by the high cost of someone having to change the roll so often.

That’s why coil stamps that are issued in large rolls are not inscribed with Forever. It’s to prevent substantial losses by the USPS when the rate changes.