11 Creative Postage Stamps from Around the World

These stamps bring out the inner philatelist in all of us.

1. Mini Phonograph Records

The small Himalayan nation of Bhutan is well-known for creative postage, having designed stamps out of unorthodox materials from plastic to steel. But in 1973, they issued stamps that doubled as tiny phonograph records. The record stamps contain traditional folk songs and an oral history of Bhutan, and can be played on a turntable. There's currently a full set of these stamps on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $495.

2. Coffee-Scented

As Frank Sinatra once sang, "They grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil." In 2001, Brazil issued an aromatically enticing coffee-scented stamp. Beans were roasted, ground, and filtered under pressure then mixed with varnish and laid on each stamp. As with a scratch 'n' sniff, the aroma was released by rubbing a finger across the stamp. Mmm.

3. Hockey Game Footage

Canadians love hockey, and their most storied team is the Montreal Canadiens. In 2009, Canada Post issued stamps that feature actual footage of historic goals scored by famous players like Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur. The effect is achieved with a process called Motionstamp, with digital footage making the stamps into mini-movies. Other countries that have embedded video clips are Austria, Netherlands, and Australia.

4. Glow-in-the-Dark

In 2008, Malaysia figured out a novel way to increase awareness about their country's nocturnal animals. They put them on stamps that glow in the dark. The six designs include exotic creatures such as the moon rat and the flying fox. In 2003, Finland also had a glow in the dark series of stamps, celebrating their lighthouses.

5. Embroidered Edelweiss

A stamp that can be posted or worn, this Austrian design from 2005 was made of threads embroidered into the shape of the Edelweiss, queen of the alpine flowers. It was designed by Haemmerle & Vogel, a long-standing family-owned fabric mill in Austria.

6. Meteorite Dust

There must be some very creative types working in the Austrian postal system. In 2004, they issued crystal-coated stamps. In 2008, they unveiled the world's first stamp made of soccer ball material, to celebrate the Euro soccer tournament. Even wilder is a stamp they issued in 2006, featuring a meteorite streaking towards Earth. The rendering contains 0.03 grams of dust from an actual meteorite, fixed to the stamp with adhesive. For those letters from Vienna... to Venus.

7. The Rock of Gibraltar

Also in the geological-meets-philatelic department, Gibraltar issued a stamp in 2002 whose top layer was coated with finely pulverized pieces of The Rock of Gibraltar.

8. Cork

Portugal is the world's leading manufacturer of cork. In 2007, they celebrated this fact by issuing a lovely stamp depicting a cork tree on a hill. And the stamp itself was made entirely of cork – wafer thin, with a thickness of .35mm. And because of the cellular nature of cork, each stamp was unique.

9. Chocolate

The Swiss are famous for chocolate. For making it and eating it (they're estimated to be the number one consumer of chocolate in the world). So it makes perfect sense that they'd have a chocolate stamp. Well, it looks and smells like chocolate, and comes wrapped in foil like a chocolate bar. But if you're tempted to lick it, don't bother; it tastes like stamp glue.

10. Designer

For the past few years, at Valentine's Day, La Poste (the French postal service) has been issuing stamps designed by top names in the fashion industry, including Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, and Chanel. But the loveliest is Givenchy's elegant design of a simple wreathed heart.

11. Seed-Filled

And finally, stamps that bloom into living plants! In 2007, Dutch postal service TNT introduced a series of stamps that held seeds beneath a layer of plastic. Once you peeled it back, you could plant a variety of flowers, including pinks, petunias, and snapdragons.

New York City's Famed Katz's Delicatessen Has Launched a Monthly Meat Subscription Service

Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City makes a legendary pastrami sandwich, with some even calling it the best the city has to offer. Now, you can whip up your own New York-style Reuben when you get the deli’s signature meat (and accoutrements) delivered right to your door.

As spotted by Condé Nast Traveler, the deli is launching a monthly meat subscription service with nationwide deliveries. For $150 a month or $1500 a year, on the second Thursday of each month subscribers will receive a package with enough food to feed a family of (at least) six. June’s “pastrami package,” for instance, comes with a pound of sliced juicy pastrami, a medium whole pastrami (weighing between 4.1 and 4.7 pounds), a pound of deli mustard, a quart of pickles, and a loaf of rye bread.

To top it off, one or two pieces of merchandise will be thrown in each month, so if you want a pair of Katz’s $16 camouflage-patterned “salami socks,” now’s your chance. (Katz's was founded in 1888, and the socks reference the deli’s World War II-era slogan, “Send a salami to your boy in the Army.”)

Each month features a different seasonal theme, including a griller package in July, a beach package in August, and a Halloween package in October, which comes with Jewish delicacies such as sliced tongue, kishka (stuffed intestine), chopped liver, and of course, more pastrami.

According to Katz’s, their meat-curing process takes 30 days, which is significantly slower than other commercial delis that use a 36-hour curing method. That's because no chemicals or additives are injected into the meat to cure it faster.

Ready to sign up? You can place your order here, but keep in mind that you’ll have to order in three-month increments if you’re not selecting the year-long deal.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

USPS Is Issuing Its First Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps This Summer

Summertime smells like sunscreen, barbecues, and—starting June 20, 2018—postage stamps. That's when the United States Postal Service debuts its first line of scratch-and-sniff stamps in Austin, Texas with perfumes meant to evoke "the sweet scent of summer."

The 10 stamps in the collection feature playful watercolor illustrations of popsicles by artist Margaret Berg. If the designs alone don't immediately transport you back to hot summer days spent chasing ice cream trucks, a few scratches and a whiff of the stamp should do the trick. If you're patient, you can also refrain from scratching and use them to mail a bit of summer nostalgia to your loved ones.

Since it was invented in the 1960s, scratch-and-sniff technology has been incorporated into photographs, posters, picture books, and countless kids' stickers.

The first-class mail "forever" stamps will be available in booklets of 20 for $10. You can preorder yours online before they're unveiled at the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Austin's Thinkery children's museum next month.


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