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After 111 Years, Postage Stamps Go Private

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U.S. federal government printed its last postage stamps Friday.

The end to 111 years of stamp production by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) came without any public ceremony in the same 14th Street building where many of the nation's most famous stamps have been printed.

Workers pulled a final roll of 37-cent flag stamps from an aging, four-color Andreotti press on the fourth floor. That simple act terminated a once-thriving business that the Treasury Department agency had monopolized for decades.

Now, private printers will produce all the nation's stamps, a decision that U.S. Postal Service officials say will save tens of millions of dollars a year. The bureau will concentrate on printing currency, its other major product.

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