September 25, 2016 - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service issued the Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly stamp nationwide on Sept. 24. It will be for use on irregularly sized envelopes, such as square greeting cards, invitations and announcements, and priced at 68 cents.
These stamps will be issued in panes of 20. The words “NON-MACHINEABLE SURCHARGE” on the stamp indicate its usage value. As a Forever stamp, this stamp will always be valid for the rate printed on it.
Nationally acclaimed artist Tom Engeman created the stamp design on a computer using images of preserved butterflies as a starting point. The result is a highly stylized, simplified image of an Eastern Tailed-Blue rather than an exact replica.
The Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas) is named for the iridescent blue color of its upper wing surface, more vivid in the male, and for the short, thread-like tail on each hind wing. Females are often slate grey, sometimes with vivid blue coloration close to the body. This 2016 stamp depicts a first-generation male, which displays the species’ brightest coloration. Each year sees two or more generations, the latter being less colorful.
The square format of the stamp was developed in collaboration with the greeting card industry specifically for oversized or square envelopes. These envelopes cannot pass through the automated Postal Service processing system and have to be hand-cancelled. The envelopes are charged a non-machineable surcharge even if they weigh less than 1 ounce. Greeting card envelopes printed with a silhouette of a butterfly indicate the need for additional postage — or the use of a butterfly stamp. Any nonmachineable envelope, like oddly-shaped or vertical envelopes, as well as lumpy envelopes, rigid envelopes and mail with clasps, ribbons and buttons may use this stamp.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store® website at http:// www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Butterfly) Stamp
Stamp Fulfillment Services
Cancellation Services 8300
NE Underground Drive, Pillar 210
Kansas City, MO 64144-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 24, 2016.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at http:// www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
Philatelic Products There are three philatelic products for this stamp issue:
- 119516, First-Day Cover, $1.12.
- 119521, Digital Color Postmark, $1.83.
- 119524, Framed Art, $19.95.