Post Office Deficits

When an organization is facing large deficits like the USPS is facing now, the temptation is to look at bold changes. Finding several billion dollars to balance the budget is never easy, but managers are often tempted to forget that a large forest is made up of many trees and that many small changes can have have a big impact on the bottom line. One idea for increasing postal revenues in a profitable area would be to increase the number of collectors buying new issue stamps to put away. Stamps that are bought and put in collections are almost pure profit for the USPS and it’s hard to understand why they don’t make more of an effort to increase stamp collecting. And what would increase collecting more than anything else would be some kind of limited issue stamps that would go up in value. One of the reasons that stamp collecting was so popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s was that the stamps of the previous generation were somewhat scarce and began to appreciate in value. Collector’s don’t need to get rich but a real inducement to this hobby is a sense of increasing value in the stamps that you are putting away. There are several ways a plan like this could work. Perhaps quarterly the Post Office would offer a limited edition item through a lottery that only subscribers to the Post Office new issue service could enter. The winners would have the opportunity to purchase a limited edition item issued in small enough numbers that it would have a chance of going up a few bucks in a short period of time. If well designed, I think millions would enter a lottery like this and become new issue subscribers. Or new issue subscribers could have the right to purchase imperfs of prevailing issues at double or triple face value (the Hungarian Post Office used to do this and perhaps still does). Any idea that offers limited editions in exchange for buying new issues would produce a big increase in the number of new issue subscribers. And for current collectors and stamp dealers? The possibility of quick gain will attract huge numbers of new collectors, generate an enormous amount of publicity and get our hobby growing again.

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