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WASHINGTON — Beautiful butterflies will flutter across the mail stream Jan. 27 when the Postal Service releases the Spicebush Swallowtail First-Class Surcharge 66-cent stamp. Customers may purchase the stamp at usps.com/stamps, or by phone at 800-Stamp24 (800-782-6724) for delivery a few days following the Jan. 27 issuance.
The new stamp is designed to be used with cards that have an irregular shape and require additional postage. The Butterfly stamp was first introduced in 2010, when participating greeting card manufacturers began printing a silhouette image of a butterfly on their envelopes so customers would understand that the new butterfly stamp or equivalent postage is required to mail the card.
Nationally acclaimed artist Tom Engeman of Frederick, MD, working under the direction of Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, created the design on a computer using images of preserved butterflies as a starting point. The result is a highly stylized, simplified image of a spicebush swallowtail rather than an exact replica.
Both as caterpillars and butterflies, spicebush swallowtails hide from their predators in plain sight. They do this by mimicking other animals. The caterpillar later morphs into what looks like a small green snake, with yellow and black markings that resemble a snake's eyes and a false forked tongue. The butterfly’s chrysalis mimics a dried brown leaf, complete with veins.
Customers may view the Spicebush Swallowtail stamp, as well as many of next year’s other stamps on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2013-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office™ Boxes. The Postal Service™ receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com®, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, Oxford Strategic Consulting ranked the U.S. Postal Service number one in overall service performance of the posts in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.