Have you ever wondered how much postage is required when an oversized or irregular-shaped greeting card's envelope says "extra postage required?" Well, now the U.S. Postal Service has a solution to your dilemma. The Postal Service, in conjunction with the Greeting Card Association, has announced the first in a new series of stamps that will make it easier for greeting card customers to know how much postage to put on their envelopes.
The new 64-cent Monarch (Butterfly) definitive stamp is designed for use on cards that have an irregular shape requiring additional postage. Participating manufacturers will print a silhouette image of a butterfly on their envelopes, making it easier for customers to understand the new Butterfly stamp or equivalent postage is all that's needed to mail the card.
The first stamp design in the new series features one of the most recognizable butterflies in North America-the monarch. The butterfly symbol is universal and will be used on all future stamps for nonmachinable letters. When postal prices increase, USPS will issue a new stamp using the butterfly symbol. The Butterfly stamp silhouette image includes text that reads, "Butterfly Stamp or Equivalent Postage Required."
USPS requires extra postage, called a "nonmachinable surcharge," on First-Class Mail letters when an envelope:
The Monarch (Butterfly) stamp, was designed by Derry Noyes, Washington, DC, and is on sale nationwide. 20 million stamps have been printed. The current butterfly stamp includes the regular postage of 44 cents plus the 20-cent surcharge for being oversized or irregular and nonmachinable.
Nationally acclaimed artist, Tom Engeman, Bethany Beach, DE, used images of preserved butterflies to inspire the stamp art he created by computer. The result is a highly stylized, simplified image of the monarch rather than an exact replica. Engeman has designed a long list of stamps for the U.S. Postal Service including the Liberty Bell Forever stamp, various stamped cards in the Historical Preservation series, and sixty stamps for the Flags of Our Nation series that began in 2008.
Customers have 90 days from the official first day of issuance date to obtain first day of sale postmarks on new stamps and stationery items. Collectors may request a local first day of sale postmark by mail only. There is no charge for servicing of first day of sale postmarks up to 50 covers. Mail-in customers must supply a self-addressed envelope with sufficient return postage applied to return the serviced covers.
To obtain the first day of sale postmark, mail stationery items bearing Monarch (Butterfly) stamp to: Customer Relations USPS, 79 Mid Cape Terr Ste 8, Cape Coral, FL 33991. Please specify which city you are requesting a postmark for-Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, or Sanibel. All orders must be postmarked by August 19, 2010.
For more information about purchasing stamps, stamps by mail, postal regulations, a free subscription to USA Philatelic magazine, Post Office events, the location of the nearest postal store or contract unit, or for answers to your specific Postal Service questions, contact USPS at 1-800-275-8777, or visit www.usps.com. To schedule a presentation for your community, club or group on how the Postal Service brings the Post Office to your home or office computer, call 239-573-9638.
An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that visits every address in the nation 146 million homes and businesses. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses, not tax dollars. The Postal Service has annual revenues of $75 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail.