The winter holidays are coming to Michigan. The season of the greeting cards will soon be here. You may notice something new this year. There may be a butterfly printed in the upper right corner of the envelope. We know that unusual sizes of cards take extra postage, but are you sure of what is "unusual?" A butterfly says "this is a non-standard size."
As you shop for holiday cards, now you have some help understanding what will mail for the standard postage and what will require extra. And if you are an artist who creates your own cards (and envelopes), you can have confidence that your card will arrive because you used the correct postage.
The Greeting Card Association and the United States Postal Service announced a new stamp designation for oversized or specially sized cards. It is called the butterfly stamp. This 64-cent stamp designed by Tom Engerman, covers the postage on non-standard mail up to 1 ounce. The butterfly stamp can be used on first class mail that does not meet the specifications for "machine readable" mail. The butterfly stamp covers the 20-cent surcharge in addition to the cost of standard postage.
The butterfly stamp can be used on envelopes that are:
- 1 ounce or less in weight
- Square, up to 6-1/8 inch x 6-1/8 inch
- Minimum/maximum height of 3-12 inch to 6-1/8 inch, length 5 inches to 11-1/2 inches, thickness of 0.007 inches to 1/4 inch
- Rigid and do not bend easily
- Contain items that cause the surface to be uneven
- Are set up for an address that is parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter
Some card manufacturers will print the butterfly image on the envelope to help card buyers recognize the non-standard sizes that will require the higher postage. If there is no butterfly on the envelope, you should still check the dimensions so you know the necessary postage to mail the holiday card safely to the intended recipient.
The butterfly stamp will always be the right amount of postage for the non-standard envelope, similar to the "forever" stamp on first class standard mail.
You can buy butterfly stamps in blocks of 4 stamps, 10 stamps, or 20 stamps at your local post office. Make sure you use the right amount of postage on your holiday cards this year.
And while you are shopping this year, notice all the stores that are "substations" for the post office. Most Meijer stores can take packages for USPS mail, just like the post office, but with shorter lines.
When buying for your family or your friends, spend your Michigan dollars in Michigan. Click here to see a list of Michigan companies that have been featured on this page.
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