Postage Stamp Prices Through the Decades: How Much Are Stamps Increasing?

Life magazine, 1963

Remember the days when your mailbox would be filled with letters, birthday cards and fun magazines? When you actually enjoyed and looked forward to seeing your mailman/mailwoman and wondered what treasures might be coming your way?

Mail (and mail service) sure has changed over the decades. The nearly 250-year-old institution — the United States Postal Service — has been struggling for many years due to earlier-day lavish spending, outdated technology, declining first-class mail volume and lack of consumer confidence. Originally known as the Post Office Department, it wasn’t until 1971 that it became the U.S. Postal Service. Ads during the time championed postal workers almost as superheroes, touting how neither rain nor snow would stop these carriers from getting you your mail.

In a 1963 ad that was featured in Life magazine, a group of 113 mail carriers converged in front of the James Farley post office building to pose for an ad for Bulova watches. “These couriers setting off on their appointed rounds are here to bring you a very special message: Bulova makes 113 waterproof watch styles — a different style for every last man here.”

Life magazine page ad with mail carriers

Nowadays, the post office struggles to find enough people to do the job. We went an entire week (and we are a business) without getting mail because our postal carrier was on vacation.

With the increasing postal prices, is it just a matter of time before magazines and letters are just another thing of the past? On Sunday, July 9, 2023 first-class mail Forever stamps will increase a second time this year, from 63 cents to 66 cents.

Here’s a quick look at postage stamp prices for first-class mail throughout the decades:

1958: $.04

1968: $0.06

1977: $.15

1988: $.25

1998: $.32

2008: $.42

2018: $.50

2019: $.55

2021: $.58

2022: $.60 (July 10, 2022)

2023: $.63 (Jan. 22, 2023)

2023: $.66 (July 9, 2023)