The image of a great spangled fritillary butterfly set against a white background is featured on a United States stamp issued Feb. 10 in Kansas City, Mo.
The self-adhesive 70¢ stamp in panes of 20 was offered for sale nationwide on the day of issue, but because the stamps were not scheduled for automatic distribution, post offices needed to place an order for the stamp to have it in stock.
No local first-day ceremony was planned, but the first-day cancel will be available in Kansas City.
The 70¢ stamp fulfills two new postage rates effective Jan. 26: for 1-ounce nonmachinable first-class mail and for 2-ounce first-class letters.
The nonmachinable rate applies primarily to square or odd-shaped envelopes, such as square greeting card envelopes.
Participating envelope manufacturers are printing a small message with the silhouette of a butterfly in the stamp corner of envelopes that require additional postage.
The stamp’s denomination includes the 21¢ nonmachinable surcharge that the Postal Service adds to the 49¢ cost of standard 1-ounce first-class mail.
This is the fourth stamp in the Butterfly series specifically created to fulfill this mail classification. The previous issues in the series are the 64¢ Monarch Butterfly stamp issued May 17, 2010 (Scott 4462), the 65¢ Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly stamp issued Jan. 20, 2012 (4603), and the 66¢ Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly stamp issued Jan. 23, 2013 (4736).
Tom Engeman of Bethany Beach, Del., has created the designs for all four stamps in this series using computer illustration software.
Postal Service officials have said that with each increase in the first-class nonmachinable rate, a new stamp depicting a different butterfly will be issued.
The great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele) lives in temperate forests and wooded clearings throughout most of Canada and the United States. According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee field station, the butterfly is named for the silvery spots on the underside of its hind wings.
The pane of 20 Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly stamps was manufactured by USPS contract printer CCL Label Inc. An initial quantity of 60 million stamps was produced.
A header on the new pane reads “Great Spangled Fritillary” across the top. The phrase “First-Class Surcharge Rate” is printed along the bottom of the pane.
Press sheets, both with and without the die cuts that normally separate individual stamps, will be issued for the Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly stamp. Each press sheet consists of 10 panes and sells for $140. A total of 2,500 press sheets of each type will be available.
Technical details for the 70¢ Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly stamp are found below.
70¢ Great Spangled Fritillary stamp
FIRST DAY— Feb. 10, 2014; city— Kansas City, Mo., and nationwide.
DESIGN: illustrator— Tom Engeman, Bethany Beach, Del.; designer, typographer and art director— Derry Noyes, Washington, D.C.; modeler— CCL Label Inc.; engraver— Trident; series— Butterfly.
PRINTING: process— gravure; printer and processor— CCL Label Inc., Clinton, S.C.; press— Dia Nippon Kiko; inks— Pantone Matching System 476 brown, PMS 160 light brown, PMS 145 dark yellow, PMS 1595 dark orange, PMS 021 orange, PMS 8 cool gray, black; paper— prephosphored type I; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 60 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 200-subject cylinders; size— 1.121 inches by 1.085 inches (image); 1.225 inches by 1.225 inches (overall); 5.75 inches by 7.125 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “C” followed by seven single digits; marginal markings— header top “Great Spangled Fritillary,” text at bottom “First-Class Surcharge Rate,” plate number in four corners (stamp side); “©2013 USPS,” plate position diagram, USPS logo, price, bar code 116600 in two corners, promotional text; USPS item No.— 116604.
First-day cancel ordering information
Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Great Spangled Fritillary Stamp, Cancellation Services, 8300 N.E. Underground Drive, Pillar 210, Kansas City, MO 64144-0001. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by April 13.
The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the 70¢ Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly stamp is USPS item No. 116616 at $1.14.