Unsold Simpsons Stamps Cost USPS $1.2M

Yet another blow for the beleaguered USPS

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 21, 2012 10:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – Homer Simpson has managed to bungle things once again—this time for the USPS. Bloomberg reports that the agency's run of 1 billion Simpsons stamps turned out to be a money-losing proposition for the money-losing service. It sold only 318 million of them, washing some $1.2 million in printing costs down the drain. The cartoon-theme bust was mentioned in a report by the USPS' inspector general, who noted that if the service was able to put a stop to overprinting, it could save $2 million a year.

The Simpsons stamps, sold in 2009 and 2010 to commemorate the show's 20th anniversary, were priced at 44 cents; it now costs 45 cents to mail a letter. How did the USPS calculate how many to produce? In a very unscientific manner, according to the inspector general. "This process depends on manual procedures and the experience of one individual, which increases the risk for costly miscalculations." It apparently bet that the cartoon family would be twice as popular as the best-selling commemorative stamp of all time: an Elvis Presley stamp issued in 1993. The USPS says the issue is moot, thanks to the introduction of forever stamps.

This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Postal Service shows the five 44-cent postage stamps featuring The Simpsons.   (AP Photo/USPS, File)
Matt Groening, creator and executive producer of "The Simpsons" autographs a Simpsons-themed US Postal Service stamp.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
The Simpsons themed U.S. Postal Service stamps are unveiled at the first day of issue ceremony at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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