Ever since the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, there has been speculation concerning the continued validity of stamps with values expressed as a service, rather than a monetary value - 1st, 2nd, Special Delivery, etc.
In January TNT Dutch Post announced that all Guilder-valued stamps would be invalidated from 1 November, with no option of exchanging them for Euro-valued stamps which have been in use since 2002. A court case ensued brought by the Dutch Stamp Dealers Association, during which the TNT lawyer casually mentioned that Euro-valued stamps would cease to be valid also - that means all stamps issued from mid 2001 to mid 2010!
Since mid 2010 the stamps have a rate indicator instead of a value, like '1' for inland mail up to 20 gr.
Now Canada Post has stunned collectors and dealers alike by announcing a new basis of stamp sales. Their current inland letter rate - served by stamps denominated 'P' for permanent (what a joke!) - is 63c.
"A new approach to pricing Lettermail to take effect March 31, 2014
Post will introduce a new tiered pricing structure for Letter mail
mailed within Canada, which will better reflect the cost of serving
various customer segments. Under these changes, the majority of
Canadians, because they buy stamps in booklets or coils, will pay $0.85
per stamp, with discounts for customers that use the mail most.
minority of consumers who purchase stamps one at a time, which
represents an estimated 2 per cent of stamp purchases, will pay $1 per
stamp. The average Canadian household purchases fewer than 2 stamps per
month. These stamp price changes will take effect March 31, 2014."
But not only will the price increase by 35% (59% if you buy just one stamp), but all 'P' rate stamps have been summarily removed from sale at Post Offices and the Philatelic Bureau, including those in quarterly packs which collectors often don't buy as soon as they are issued.
All the POs were told by e-mail to remove all the "P"
stamps from sale. If they sell any "P" stamps and Canada Post finds out,
they will face repercussions. The only stamps that are now sold at POs are
stamps with the 63¢ value on them. This explains why the Christmas stamps are denominated at 63c instead of 'P'.
The rate increase still requires Parliament's approval, as Canada Post is only approved to raise the rate 2 cents per year until 2015, but with a new business plan presented there may be little option. According to Canada Post:
5,094,694 people get door to door delivery in Canada.
Average cost per address is $269.
3,804, 574 get mail through group mail boxes.
Average cost per box is $117.
So they are also proposing to end door to door delivery to urban addresses.
Note though, that just as Royal Mail said that the average UK household only spent 50p a week on stamps (before the 2012 rise), Canada Post reckons their citizens buy fewer than 2 stamps a month on average.
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