Philatelist. It is a person who loves to collect, research about and appreciate postal stamps. These people surely have a keen eye for detail as some of them are proficient enough that they can tell you the difference of the year of manufacture of one stamp to the other just by the kind of print on it. They absolutely love stamps and have gone way out of their way to be able to add more to their collections.
But these little wonders can put anyone in sheer awe of them. They might just sit in a corner on an envelope, but they sure know how to be the centre of the Universe for some people. So here is a list of ten creative stamps that will surely make you want to turn into a philatelist.
1. Bhutan Mini Phonograph Stamps (1973)
Back in the 1970s, Bhutan, the country that swears by its GNP or Gross National Happiness versus the usual indicator of GDP or Gross Domestic Product, launched a set of one of the coolest stamps till date. They launched mini phonographs which could actually be played on a player. They had adhesive on one side and recorded bits and pieces related to Bhutan on the other. The stamps play the Royal Bhutan Anthem, folk-songs and a short history of Bhutan.
2. Swiss Chocolate Stamps (2001)
If you are a Chocoholic this one’s for you. This scratch and sniff stamp was issued in the world’s most chocolate loving nation- Switzerland. On an average, a Swiss person consumes about 12kg of chocolate annually, which is the highest in the world. Since they love not only producing, but also eating it so much, they came up with these stamps that smell like chocolate to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Association of Swiss Chocolate manufacturers. Best part? You can indulge in it and not consume a single calorie.
3. Gibraltar Stamps (2002)
The people of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, very famously put their iconic Gibraltar rock on a stamp very well know by philatelists, literally. They produced a 4-stamp set where they printed the stamp images and then used techniques like lithography and thermography to put pulverised limestone bits taken from the actual rock onto the stamp. The pieces were put where the rock bit is showing in the pictures of the iconic landmark.
4. Austrian Swarovski Stamp
Austria surely knows how to glam up their stamps. In 2004, Swarovski, which was founded in Austria came up with stamps that had little Swarovski crystals on them. They created a block with two stamps, one with a printed image of a crystal and the other a swan. These two stamps were each covered with six crystals from Swarovski.
5. Austrian Meteorite Stamp (2006)
Austria surely knows how to have the best stamps in the world, but this stamp beats all others at being otherworldly. The Austrian State Printing Company launched a stamp sprinkled with real meteorite powder on March 24, 2006! The 19kg meteorite was found in Morocco in the year 2014 and the Austrians decided to use it in the most unconventional way possible! Space and astronomy, anyone?
6. Portuguese Cork Stamp (2007)
In 2007, Portugal decided to celebrate the fact that they are the world’s largest manufacturer of cork. They came up with stamps made out of a paper-thin variety of cork which was designed by Joao Machado. Because of the nature of cork, each stamp is unique and different from the other.
7. Chinese Ceramic Stamp (2010)
These unique ceramic stamps were released for the promotion of the 2010 China Jingdezhen International Ceramic Fair. Jingdezhen claims to having been producing pottery for 1,700 years. These stamps are all handmade individually and would not fade, corrode or catch fire. Even though they are made out of ceramic, they are only about 0.3 mm thick.
8. Finnish Holographic Stamp (2016)
This beautiful stamp is a microphotography masterpiece by Pekka Honkakoski. It is a picture of an ice crystal which has been treated with the holographic film. This is perfect for all the Frozen fans who want to wield powers like Elsa. The ice blue colour scheme transforms into a spectrum of colours as the light hits the stamp. It is visually tantalising and a treat to the eyes.
9. New Zealand’s Glow-in-the-dark Stamp (2016)
Released in February 2016, the New Zealand Post brought out some beautiful glow-in-the-dark stamps. Celebrating the bioluminescent glow worms that live in the caves of New Zealand, photographer, Joseph Michael, took long exposure shots in the caves of Mangawhitikau, Nikau, Ruakuri and Waipu which were then printed with glow-in-the-dark technology.
10. English Agatha Christie Stamps (2016)
These stamps might look and feel like the same old boring paper stamps, but on closer inspection, one will find that each of these six stamps hides a mystery within themselves. They were issued to mark the centenary of Agatha Christie writing her first detective story – The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Each stamp summarised one of her famous novels. The hidden clues could be accessed only if the stamp was made to react to heat or UV light.
Which one is your favourite?