Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday stamps - float like a butterfly

Today's Sunday Stamps theme is butterflies.

The US post office charges an extra fee, currently 22c, for items they consider to be non-machinable - square and other non-rectangular shaped envelopes, lumpy envelopes, etc. Additional ounces also cost 22c each for letters, up to 3.5 oz (yes, you pay 22c for that extra 0.5 oz after 3). If it is >3.5 oz it is not considered a letter, and you are charged package fees.

Where is this all going you ask? Well, the greeting card industry partnered with the USPS in 2010 to try and let people know when their cards are going to cost extra by placing a butterfly symbol in the stamp corner, and the post office has stylized butterfly stamps to cover that. These stamps are also square, to reinforce the non-machinable concept.

This is printed on many greeting card envelopes that are square, irregular, or will contain thicker cards requiring the extra postage. This symbol is printed slightly smaller than the stamp itself, making it easier to cover it up.

The USPS article about its introduction is here.




I've received the 2013 66c Spicebush butterfly (my favorite), and the 70c Great Spangled Fritillary. The new stamp which is non-denominated, and currently valued at 71c, features the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. I haven't received that one yet, but I have a sheet of stamps waiting for the perfect envelopes.






I also spotted a Monarch butterfly on the Ohio stamp in the Flags of our Nation series.



The Monarch was also featured on the 64c butterfly stamp, the first in the series issued in 2010. Here's an image from USPS.




The 65c butterfly showcased the Baltimore Checkerspot.





Bonus extra!

VioletSky's post today reminded me of these stamps from the Insects and Spiders sheet - a Monarch caterpillar and butterfly. I showed this envelope in an earlier blogpost. If you'd like to see the rest of the insect envelopes and accompanying stamps (there are a few spiders thrown in as well), here's the link.





12 comments:

  1. I am always pleased when a butterfly arrives in the mail..!

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  2. Wow that beautiful envelope is something else and rarely does a catterpillar get a stamp of its own. I wonder why they chose the butterfly as the symbol, perhaps because they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes?

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    1. I added a link to the blogpost that does a bit of explaining about why the butterfly was chosen. At first I thought it might be because they might be more appealing to women, since 80% of greeting cards are bought by women, but turns out it might have been more of a 'we all like this theme best' scenario.

      I also added links to the two posts with the insect envelopes and stamps in case you didn't see all of them. The envelopes were made from a calendar.

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  3. I was thinking that the extra postage needed for oversizes and bulkiness didn't sit well with the greeting card industry. But then you do get a pretty butterfly stamp with your card, so it's almost a win-win. (for stamp collectors).
    I think I might have to stock up on our .22 and .02 cent stamps so I can send a set like the ones you showed :)

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    1. Those stamps would make for a great combination on any envelope. Are they still the definitive low value stamps in use?

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    2. I like them a lot better than the US small denomination definitives.

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  4. Excellent information! I received a postcard from the USA with a USA 66c Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly stamp.

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    1. The 66c ones are my favorite of the bunch, I'm always looking for an opportunity to use them - I don't mind paying the extra 17c :)

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  5. Great to see that Monarch Caterpillar included. Someone said it's the caterpillar that does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.

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