U.S. # 4999
2015 71¢ Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
In 1587, colonist and artist John White depicted the Eastern tiger swallowtail while accompanying Sir Walter Raleigh’s third expedition to the New World. It was the first butterfly known to have been documented in the United States.
One of the most common butterflies in North America, the Eastern tiger swallowtail is also one of the largest. Its wingspan can measure up to five and a half inches across. From spring until fall, gardens, forests and meadows across the Eastern United States are dappled with these light yellow tiger-striped butterflies.
Not all Eastern tiger swallowtails are yellow with black stripes. A minority of females take on a dark gray coloring, with their tiger stripes barely visible. The darker coloring protects the butterfly from potential predators by mimicking the poisonous pipevine swallowtail. The trait is more prevalent in tiger swallowtails in the southeast, where the pipevine swallowtail is common.
Though it flies relatively fast, the Eastern tiger swallowtail beats its wings rather slowly, allowing watchers to better appreciate its beauty. Named state butterfly of five states and state insect in another, the large but delicate Eastern tiger swallowtail is a favorite in the Eastern United States.
Value: 71¢ Non-Machineable Surcharge Rate
Issued: June 1, 2015
First Day City: Kansas City, MO
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Method: Offset with microprinting in sheets of 120 with 6 panes of 20 per sheet
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ½
Quantity Printed: 100,000,000 stamps
Tom Engeman of Delaware used computer software to design the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, as well as the other butterfly stamps in the series so far. Engeman has designed a number of other U.S. stamps and postal stationary, including the entire 60-stamp Flags of Our Nation series and the Liberty Bell Forever stamp.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail stamp is the fifth in a series Butterfly stamps issued for use on square envelopes such as greeting cards weighing up to one ounce. Many of these envelopes now have a silhouette of a butterfly in the upper-right corner to indicate extra postage is needed. This is the first Forever stamp in the series, so it doesn’t have a denomination; rather it reads “non-machineable surcharge.”