“Extra postage required.”
What busy customer has not groaned to see this notice imprinted on oversized greeting cards or envelopes of non-standard shapes and sizes?
This simple statement has always spelled an extra errand – in the form of a trip to the nearest U.S. postal office – where the customer must stand in line to purchase several stamps (or metered postage) for the special odd-sized mailing.
U.S. Postal customers need groan no longer.
On May 17, 2010, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil a new first-class stamp that has been specifically designed for use on oversized or odd-sized mailings. The 2010 Monarch First Class Surcharge Rate stamp will be sold for 64 cents.
Monarch stamps will be sold in sheets of twenty postage stamps (for $12.80).
For added convenience, postal customers will be able to purchase the new 2010 Monarch First Class Surcharge Rate stamps online at the USPS website or through the mail.
The 2010 Monarch First Class Surcharge Rate stamp was designed by Delaware artist Tom Engeman, who created the butterfly postage stamp graphic using computer graphics and scientific images of actual Monarch butterflies. (Tom Engeman also designed the Flags of Our Nations series of U.S. postage stamps, as well as the Liberty Bell Forever stamp.)
What is a Monarch butterfly?
The Monarch butterfly, scientifically known as danaus plexippus, perhaps the most popular of all butterflies in North America. Technically a milkweed butterfly (and a nymphalid), the matured Monarch butterfly is orange with black stripes and spots.
The Monarch butterfly is toxic for predators, most likely because of the contents of its diet, which consists mainly of milkweed.
Although the Monarch butterfly may closely resemble the Viceroy butterfly, these two creatures are actually two distinct species.
Often called the king of all butterflies, the Monarch butterfly may also be found in Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe.
This delicate and colorful member of the insect world may make a most suitable subject for a U.S. postage stamp, as many mailings may migrate even farther than the Monarch butterfly itself.
Oversized printed cards and envelopes will soon carry butterfly graphic reminders.
Store-bought greeting cards and envelopes (that fit the oversized or odd-sized description) are expected to feature Monarch butterfly illustrations to indicate that they will require and accommodate the new special surcharge postage. Customers purchasing oversized or odd-sized stationary will see the butterfly graphics as reminders to purchase the special postage stamps before mailing their cards and letters..