The United States Postal Service has undertaken a concerted effort to promote the four semipostal stamps it’s currently selling.
First up is the Alzheimer’s Awareness semipostal, but those wanting to support that effort will need to act fast. That’s because the focus on this stamp ends September 30, even though they will continue to be available throughout the special promotional period ending December 31.
Other semipostals due special attention are Breast Cancer Research (first issued in 1998) during October, Save Vanishing Species (released in 2011) throughout November, and Healing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (issued in 2019) in December.
Postal workers are wearing promotional T-shirts and decorating the lobbies of post offices nationwide with materials reminding customers that the semipostals are available for purchase, presumably will supplies remain or more stamps are printed.
Semipostal stamps are nondenominated stamps offered in panes of 20 to help raise funds for specific causes. In addition to the current first-class letter rate of 58¢, these stamps include a 10¢ surcharge that brings the total cost of each semipostal stamp to 68¢ or $13.60 for a 20-stamp pane.
Originally issued November 30, 2017, the Alzheimer’s Awareness semipostal stamp was temporarily removed from sale at post offices two years later, in accordance with the then-current USPS policy that limited semipostal sales to a maximum of two years. However, after a public outcry and under the threat of Congressional action to reverse their actions, the USPS changed that policy and resumed sales of the Alzheimer’s stamp on October 5, 2020, with no announced limit on how long it will be available.
When the Alzheimer’s stamp was removed from sale in 2019, some 8.2 million stamps had been sold, raising more than $1.06 million for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its efforts to treat the degenerative brain disease. While the Alzheimer’s Association itself doesn’t benefit directly from sales of this semipostal stamp, the general cause of supporting research that could help to #ENDALZ is served by this special stamp’s ongoing sales.
According to technical details released when the stamps were first issued in 2017, a total of 500 million stamps were printed. This suggests that an unsold inventory remained that could be sold when these stamps were again made available to the public in 2019.
“As a philatelist (stamp collector), I urge everyone who supports the fight to #ENDALZ to purchase and use as many of the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamps as you can,” says John Crosiar, secretary of the Cascade Coast Regional Action Council, Advocacy and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) subcommittee chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Eugene on October 10, and an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer since 1996. “While the USPS special promotion of this stamp ends September 30, these self-adhesive stamps are expected to remain available at your nearest post office. Buy one or more panes today to Lick Alzheimer’s!”