How Much is a Postage Stamp

Price of Postage Stamps:

Started out as stampless letters and then later becoming pre-paid letters sent through private carriers and post offices, the US postage stamps are the end culmination where a person can pay postage with the adhesive stamps on the mails bearing evidence of the same. While the letters have been in existence for a long time, the first ever postage stamp in US came into existence during the year 1847..


The price of the very first postage stamp in US was 5 cents, if the letter weighs less than half an ounce and the delivery is within 300 miles. In case of farther deliveries, and higher weights, the postage was paid with 10cent stamps.

Initially the postage stamps were used as an option where even the receiver can pay the charges for delivery and not the sender. Sooner though, thanks to the efficiency of the post offices, in the year 1851, the price of the postage stamps was reduced to 3 cents, which continued for a longer period of time. From the time of their introduction, the postage stamps in US have come a long way with different type of postage stamps available at different prices, depending on the mail weight and the distance.


How much is a Postage Stamp?

Current Postage Rates

The weight of the mail, the shape, the class under which you are mailing are a few factors that determine the price of the US postage stamps. There are also discounts offered by the US postal services on certain services, like when you purchase through online sites, etc.

The below table gives you the current postage rates, effective from 21 st January 2018, for your easy reference:

Type of Mail Postage Rate
Flat First class mail weighing 1oz $1.00
For every additional ounce on Flat first class mail (above 1oz) $0.21
Retail/post office rate on first class mail letter for 1oz $0.50
Rate of metered mail for first class mail letter (1oz) $0.47
For every additional ounce on the first class mail letter (above 1oz) $0.21
First class mail international letter $1.15
Postcards $0.35
For 1lbs priority mail (1&2 zones) $6.35 and above
Express priority mail for 1lb covering 1&2 zones $21.98 and above
Priority mail to Canada for 1lb (international) $31.35 and above
Priority mail for 1lb to other international countries $38.24 and above
Express international priority mail weighing 0.5lb zone 1 $40.38 and above
Packaging service first class weighing between 1oz and 6oz $2.66
International packaging service first class for 1oz (Group 1) $15.20 and above
Media mail weighing from 1lb (1&2 zones) $2.66
Parcel post and standard post currently known as Retail ground for zones 1&2, from 1lb $6.70 and above
Parcel select ground for 1lb (1&2 zones) $6.55 and above

Apart from the above, there are also other services like insurance, certified mail and USPS tracking which customers can avail with USPS. The rates for these additional services, as of the revision in January 21st of 2022, stand as below:

Type of service Postage Rate
Intercepting package $13.45
Confirmation of adult signature $6.10
Confirmation of signature $3.00
Mailing certificate $1.40
COD (Collect on delivery) $7.50 and above
Certified mail $3.45
Registered mailing $11.90 and above
Return receipt for merchandise $4.20
Electronic return receipt $1.50
Return receipt $2.75
Restricted Delivery $5.05

Additionally the notice of non-delivery has been discontinued. Also the USPS electronic tracking on priority mails (including express), media mails, first class package services and parcel select ground is available for free.

Postage Stamp Rates in 2022 (For Comparison with Current Year):

Every year, the US postal services (USPS) propose a change in rates for its shipping and mailing services in line with the increasing costs and demand to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The PRC then holds the hearing on the rate changes and approves them appropriately as deemed fit.

In the year 2022, the USPS proposed changes in mailing and shipping services. It is to be noted here that there were not any changes made on the first class international package services, priority international mails (including express priority international mails). These were revised already in the previous year 2022, which resulted in a huge increase of nearly 8% on priority mail rates.

For the year 2022, the rate increase was proposed on priority mail and priority mail retail, with a moderate hike of about 3.3%-3.9% expected on both of them.

The changes to the rates in comparison to the 2016 postage rates, post approval, effective from 22nd January 2022 until the rate revision in January 2022 stand as below:

  • 1 oz first class mail letter rate increased from $0.47 to $0.49. There will be no change on the additional ounce cost though and it will continue to be at $0.21 for every extra ounce.
  • Metered mail cost was reduced to $0.46 from $0.465
  • Any first class mail weighing 1oz in a flat or larger envelope was increased from $0.94 to $0.98 with no change to the cost on additional ounce (will continue at $0.21 for every extra oz).
  • There was no change on the rate for first class mail letter to international destinations and on post cards.
  • The priority mail and priority mail express increased to $21.18 & more and $5.95 & more respectively.
  • The first class package service was increased by $0.01 and media mail saw an increase of $0.02 in its price.

Postage Stamp Rates in 2022

Unlike the previous year, the year of 2022 saw changes/ revisions to both the shipping and mailing rates at USPS, at both the international and domestic levels. In fact except for the charges on additional ounces, you will not find a single postage service rate remaining unchanged for 2018. Summary of these changes are listed below:

  • 1 oz of first class mail letter rate increased from $0.49 to $0.50 with no change to the cost on additional oz (to continue at $0.21 for every oz).
  • Metered mail also increased from $0.46 to $0.47
  • The first class mail in flat or larger envelopes for 1 oz will cost $1.00 with no change to the cost on additional oz (to continue at $0.21).
  • Even the post cards will see a rise by $0.01 to $0.35.
  • The priority mail (domestic shipping including express) saw an increase by 3.9% with the base price at $21.98 for express priority mail and $6.55 on priority mail.
  • The base price of first class package service now starts at $2.66, nearly a 3.9% increase yet again.
  • The price of parcel select ground increased by about 4.9% with the base price now at $6.55.
  • $2.66 is now the rate for media mail, an increase of 3.9% from last year.

The international shipping charges also saw a revision of about 3.9% in each category this year. These were last revised in 2016 and have now undergone a revision after two years.

  • The base price on international express priority mail will start at $40.38 (earlier it was $38.90).
  • The base price on international priority mail, which was at $30.16 before, will start at $31.35

The base price on first class international package service, priced at $9.03 in 2017, will start at $9.50.

Cost of Forever Postage Stamp:

The forever stamps are similar to first class postage stamps except that you can use them to mail letters weighing 1oz or even lesser. The major difference is that these stamps do not have any denomination.

In 2007, the United States Postal Service (USPS) created the forever stamps. These forever stamps are used to mail the first class letters in spite of the postal rates. So they are non-denominational First Class postage stamps.

To give an example let us say you bought a forever stamp in the year 2017 when it was priced at $0.49. Now the rate has been revised to $0.50 for 2018. And yet you can use the same stamp you bought last year to mail a first class letter without any additional postage. Basically the rate of postage might vary and yet the forever stamp will continue to be used at the current rate prevailing for first class postage stamps.

The Forever Stamp costs $0.50 and they are best for mailing, especially one oz normal sized letter within the US. You have to ensure that your letter weight doesn’t exceed 1oz as additional weight will incur additional postage. Failing to affix the additional postage might have your mail returned to you. There are higher denomination stamps that you can get at the post office for letters that weigh more or you can just affix additional postage as required.

Additionally in case your letter weighs, say 2oz, then affixing two forever stamps will definitely cover postage rate for the mail. However it will cost you more as two of the forever stamps will be $1.00 wherein affixing one forever and additional postage of $0.21 will total to only $0.71. Therefore when you have a letter that weighs more than 1oz use only one forever stamp and affix additional postage as required.

Cost of 1 Postage Stamp:

The cost of postage stamps keeps changing almost every year. The very first postage stamp issued in US cost around 5cents and 10cents respectively. The rate is proposed by the USPS every year which is reviewed and approved for implementation by the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission). Most of these changes come into effect during the month of January.

The postage stamp cost while remaining fixed for the year, the postage rate you would pay will depend on the weight of the mail, the destination and other factors. This will require you to affix more than one stamp as required for the mail to be delivered. The latest rate of postage stamp is $0.50 for 1oz first class mail letter. The cost of the first class mail stamp across multiple categories including the forever stamps will be the same. The only difference with the forever stamps is that you can use them even if there has been a change in rate after buying them.

While the current postage rate is at $0.50 for a first class mail letter stamp, you can enjoy a discount when you buy the postage stamps from authorized websites like For every additional ounce in the weight, you will be required to pay additional postage of about $0.21.

Cost of Regular Postage Stamp:

As we have mentioned earlier the cost of the postage stamps are revised every year based on various factors by USPS under the review of PRC. The revenue made from the postage stamps form the major revenue stream for USPS and hence the rates are revised every year to handle the operational costs. The rate of the postage stamps is decided for a minimum of 1oz for domestic mailing and 1lb for international mailing with additional charges included based on additional weight.

Regular postage stamps in US, also referred to as the first class postage stamps currently stand at a cost of $0.50, which is $0.01 more than the last year (2017) rate. The rate of first class postage stamp for international shipping, where it falls under priority mail, priority mail express and first class international package services, stands at a base price of $40.38, $31.35 and $9.50 respectively. The cost will vary depending on the weight of the mail and also on the distance of the destination.

There are also metered mail which has the postage meters and online postage providers, where the cost of 1oz first class letter will be $0.47. In case of a larger envelope weighing at 1oz, the cost is set at $1.00. In all these cases, every additional ounce will attract additional postage of $0.21.

There are also postcards that you can use which costs about $0.35 each. These are the rates of the regular postage stamps and simple regular mails weighing 1oz or less. There are also priority mail services or package services that you can avail whose rate will vary depending on domestic and international shipping.

Postage stamps while may vary in cost, it is prudent to check the weight of the mail before affixing the respective postage to it. This will ensure that your mail is not returned for inadequate postage.

Cost of First Class Postage Stamp:

The first postage stamps were issued by the postal department on July 1, 1847. The first postage stamp issued was for 5 cents and 10 cents respectively. Later the cost was reduced from 5 cents to 3 cents which was the rate for nearly 30 years.

Postage stamp in general does not have expiration date and they can be used anytime even if it is too old. However the price of the postage stamps varies every year depending on the postage rate change made by USPS. USPS recommends changes to the postage rates based on the demand and operational costs which is later approved by the Postal Regulation Commission for implementation. The current rate of first class postage stamps is $0.50, which is higher by $0.01 than the previous year rate.

You can use the forever stamp issued earlier in place of a first class postage stamp as the forever stamp has value forever.

The first class postage stamps are the most common and widely used postage. The first class postage stamps can be bought from Walmart, Banks, a Gas Station, Pharmacies, an ATM, Office Supplies, Grocery Stores, and from online retailers like Amazon.

The First Class Mail Letter rates differ from category to category. If purchased from post office the rates costs about $0.50 and every additional ounce will cost $0.21. At the same time there is another discounted category for the first class mail letter, the “Metered Mail” category and this includes online postage providers and postage meters which costs about $0.47. The first class mail for flat or larger envelope which weighs 1oz is now $1 with additional ounces costing $0.21 each.

The first class postage stamps mentioned here are for domestic mailing and the postage stamps for international mailing will vary depending on the distance and weight of the package.