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Rate-Change Stamps Printed; Is a Postage Hike Far Behind?

June 03, 1997| Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In another sign that the price of sending a first-class letter may go up next year, the U.S. Postal Service is printing millions of temporary rate-change stamps, according to postal officials.

Postal Service spokesman Mark Weinberg called the printing of the nondenominated stamps, which can be used by consumers temporarily after a rate hike, a "prudent step," but he declined to confirm an impending rate hike.

"The authority to file a rate case rests solely with the board of governors of the U.S. Postal Service, which has made no decision on doing so," Weinberg said.

Weinberg declined to describe the stamp, but a Postal Service source, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified further, said the transition stamp being printed has a red, white and blue Uncle Sam-style hat, and the letter "H" in place of a denomination.

The Associated Press first reported the possible increase in stamp prices in January after learning about an internal postal memo that mentioned a likely raise of "a penny or two" from the current 32 cents.

Postal officials since then have said a recommendation to raise the price of stamps could come this summer. The Postal Service's board of governors and the independent Postal Rate Commission would then consider approving the hike for sometime next year.

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