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
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)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Aug 22, 2012 11:44 AM CDT
I had those Simpson stamps and I was down to my last one when I needed to send a Sympathy Card. After walking around with it for a couple of days I had to stick Marge Simpson on the card and I found myself apologizing for it on the card! Luckily the recipient whose father had died, has a twisted sense of humor so I felt it wouldn't be a complete disaster, but still...!
Aug 21, 2012 10:06 PM CDT
usps inaction! stick with flag stamps!
Aug 21, 2012 6:34 PM CDT
The whole idea of a stamp being desirable (for purposes other than workaday postage) is that it's supposed to be RARE. Press runs of a billion are beyond ridiculous. I say that the mint should turn out any given novelty commemorative in no more than one or two million copies and let their collectors joyfully fight over them.