Unusual Stamps from Around the World (Part 1).

"Pass me a magnifying glass, would you?"
Stamp collecting and philately are very specialized areas and it is not the purpose of this article to conduct a definitive study of postage stamps, in terms of their rarity, financial value and so on. Rather, this is an examination of some of the more unusual and curious postage stamp designs from around the world.

This postcard from 1905 uses stamps to indicate the "love language" (pre-smileys and emoticons, you know). Some options include: "I miss you", "My Heart Is Free", "Do You Think About Me?" Very sweet... especially since you have to use your tongue to glue the stamps in the proper spot, so it is literally tongue-spoken from the heart:

peculiar stamps1
(image credit: Vladimir Jorf)
This stamp was printed on silver foil by the government of Tonga (more on such stamps here):

(images by Rod Perry, via)
These stamps issued in Malaysia feature a variety of nocturnal animals and actually glow in the dark:

In 2004, Switzerland issued this wooden stamp made from 120-year-old fir trees:

Switzerland also produced this embroidered stamp in 2000, celebrating the world-famous embroidery created in St. Gallen, one of the Swiss cantons:

(images via 1, 2)
This Austrian stamp from 2005 is similarly made of threads, embroidered into the design of the Edelweiss, the well-known alpine flower. The stamp was issued in honour of the Austrian embroidery industry, which dates back to the eighteenth century. The stamp has a self-adhesive backing, but can even be worn if so desired (more info):

Austria Post also produced in the world’s first stamp made of soccer ball material in 2008, to mark the UEFA Euro soccer tournament:

(on the right: famous Lufthansa's soccer ball airplane paint scheme)
In 2006, Austria issued this curious stamp, which could even be said to be out of this world. The stamp contains 0.03 grams of dust from a meteorite found in Morocco two years earlier, which was fixed to the stamp with a special adhesive:

(image via)
These cloth stamps from Grenada, the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, honour the humble teddy bear:

(images via)
The Rock of Gibraltar is one of the world’s most recognized natural features and it appeared on this Gibraltar stamp in more ways than one in 2002. The stamp’s top layer is actually embellished with finely pulverized pieces of rock from the famous landmark:

(image via)
This 2007 stamp printed on thinly sliced cork is from Portugal, commemorating the country’s cork industry, which produces around 30% of the world supply:

(images via)

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