WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today announced that it will issue the Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly stamp as a 68 cent nonmachineable stamp. It will be for use on irregularly sized envelopes, such as square greeting cards, invitations and announcements. Details on the date of the stamp issue will be forthcoming.
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.
These nonmachineable surcharge stamps will be issued in panes of 20. The words “NON-MACHINEABLE SURCHARGE” on the stamp indicate its usage value. Like a Forever stamp, this stamp will always be valid for the rate printed on it.
Once released, customers may purchase the Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly stamps at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office locations nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at ebay.com/stamps.