Greeting card customers often don’t have a clear idea about the postage they have to put on their envelopes.
To make things easy for them, the USPS (United States Postal Service) and the GCA (Greeting Card Association) launched the 64-cent Butterfly stamp on 30th December 2009.
All manufacturers participating in this effort started making irregular silhouettes of butterflies on their envelopes.
This helped customers understand more about the butterfly stamps or the equivalent postage charges they had to pay to send their greeting cards to different destinations.
The first butterfly stamp that was launched represented one of the most famous and popular butterflies in North America – the monarch. While launching the stamp at the Jacob Javits Centre in New York on May 17 2010, the USPS dedicated this service to the National Stationery Show. At the time of launching, these stamps were published as a pane of 20.
What is Butterfly Stamp?
The butterfly stamps launched in May 2010 cover the postage charges for the 1-ounce First Class mail and all non-machinable surcharges. When the postal charges remain the same, these butterfly stamps can be used for all non-machinable letters. When the charges increase, the USPS will come up with a new design of the stamp.
On the Butterfly stamp, you can see these words written – Butterfly stamp or Equivalent Postage Required”. This means, you should either use a butterfly stamp or postage stamps equaling the value of the butterfly stamps for non-machinable letters.
To bring a structure to this process, the GCA has come up with a few guidelines. All square letters and non-machinable envelopes should bear the Butterfly Stamp icon on the top right-hand corner. This makes it easy for customers to calculate their postage charges for cards and non-machinable letters.
How Much is a Butterfly Stamp?
Initially, the butterfly stamps were priced at 64 cents per piece. However, now the price has gone up to 71 cents per piece. Like Forever Stamps, Butterfly stamps, too, are always valued at the postage rate that is printed on them, regardless of the price increase.
read our guide on where to buy stamps to find out various places where you can get these stamps.
What is the size and use of these stamps?
While it was launched initially in 2010, a butterfly stamp was priced at 64 cents. It comes in the dimensions of 1 ¼” x 1 ¼”.
Currently, a butterfly stamp icon comes in the dimensions of 1 1/8” x 1 1/8”. Its compact size helps it to fit comfortably below the original stamp.
If you are using a one-ounce envelope, you should ensure that the butterfly stamp is placed at a distance of 3/16 inches from the top and right corners.
Related: Does Walmart Sell Stamps?
What is the USPS butterfly stamp used for?
The GCA has taken all efforts to ensure that the use of butterfly stamps is as hassle-free as possible. Manufacturers of greeting cards, who agreed to participate in this initiative, started making cards with irregular silhouettes of butterflies on their envelopes. These icons came with an accompanying text – “Butterfly Stamp or Equivalent Postage Required.”
These butterfly stamps can replace Forever Stamps for First Class mails. However, here are a few conditions that you should know:
- Should be a square envelope; also, the aspect ratio of the envelope shouldn’t match with the ones of a standard envelope (this means when the length is divided by height of the envelop, it shouldn’t be in the range of 1.3 to 2.5)
- Envelope should be durable, and shouldn’t bend or tear easily
- Envelope should be simple, and shouldn’t contain items like ribbons, buttons, or clasps, which cause the cover to wobble
- Envelope’s address should be parallel to the short measurement of the letter
In cases where we don’t have butterfly stamps, we can pay the equivalent postage charges in the form of multiple stamps. However, it is always recommended to use butterfly stamps to pay the exact postage charges.
How to get the icon artwork?
For downloading the butterfly icon on envelopes, we can visit the website of GCA – www.greetingcard.org. Here, the icon is available in EPS and PDF formats.
What is Non-machinable surcharges?
All First Class Mails qualify for the automated postal processing system. However, some letters don’t go through this system, and they have to be manually canceled by the employees at USPS. These letters attract additional postage charges, known as non-machinable surcharges. Currently, this rate is $0.15 in the USA.
What is the weight limit of letters for butterfly stamps?
Initially, the butterfly stamps were designed to be used on one-ounce greeting cards with irregular butterfly icons, and those that attracted non-machinable surcharges. Currently, these stamps are valid for 2-ounce cards as well.
Can I replace one butterfly stamp with two forever stamps?
Yes, it is possible to do this. Presently, the rate of a butterfly stamp is 0.70 cents, which includes 0.55 cents postage charges for one-ounce letters and 0.15cents towards non-machinable surcharges. However, as long as the letter is more than one-ounce, but lesser than 2 ounces, you can use these stamps for machinable letters as well. The only point to note is that you need to pay the right amount of postage charges for the type of letter you are mailing.
Hello, I’m Kevin, a passionate philatelist from Brooklyn, NY, with years of experience in collecting and studying stamps. Through my blog, I aim to share my knowledge and insights on all things related to stamps, including where to buy them and their current market value. As a trained researcher, I pride myself on providing accurate and trustworthy information to my readers. Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form with any questions or suggestions. Happy stamping!