By Barry Janoff
November 8, 2012: The U.S. Postal Service is losing as much as $25 million a day and reported a net loss of $5.2 billion in the third quarter of 2012. But don't blame that on baseball fans and sports stamps collectors.
More than 32 million Major League Baseball All-Star Forever stamps have been sold since their pre-order release in May and official release on July 20, according to USPS.
The four classic players, each with his own stamp, are Willie Stargell (Pittsburgh Pirates), Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees), Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox) and Larry Doby (Cleveland Indians).
The USPS said it printed three million stamps on sheets of 20 for each individual player in addition to the 80 million stamps on sheets of 20 honoring all four players.
The Post Office set up a friendly competition among fans and consumers to see which player's stamp would sell the most.
The winner was Stargell, whose individual stamp sale topped 8.22 million, slightly outdistancing William's total of 8.2 million.
DiMaggio was a close third with sales passed 8 million. Doby's stamps came in at 7.8 million in sales.
"Fan support of their favorite players was so strong that we decided to continue this friendly competition through the end of the World Series," Stephen Kearney, manager-Stamp Services for USPS, said in a statement.
Combined pre-order sales of the individual stamps topped 2.29 million, and combined sales of the individual stamps during the regular season and post-season cleared 30 million, per USPS. The stamps are still being offered for sale.
The USPS is raising the rate of a first-class stamp from 45¢ to 46¢ this January, but Forever stamps that have already been purchased can be used at no additional cost.
"Fan support of their favorite players was so strong that we decided to continue this friendly competition through the end of the World Series."
Elvis stamps issued in 1993 with a face value of 29¢ remain the most popular commemorative stamps, with more than 500 million printed, about three-times what was then a usual run for a commemorative stamp. Some 124 million of those remain unused, the most of any stamp issue, according to USPS.
About 1 billion stamps featuring The Simpsons were printed in 2009 with a face value of 44¢, but more than 613 million went unsold because the USPS raised stamps to 45¢ in 2012. All commemorative first-class stamps are now Forever stamps to avoid that problem.
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