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Rare and unique postage stamps!

Updated on March 25, 2016
Postage stamps with real crystals!
Postage stamps with real crystals!

People do not send letters or even postcards as frequently as they used to anymore. The world of the Internet seems to have taken over and what prevails now are just emails, ecards and virtual, digital or electronic postcards! At least here in Austria, the Post Office service has been affected and many small post offices have needed to be closed.

It seems that the art of creating beautiful new stamps has not been affected though and that is true of Austria and many other countries as well, as you will see here!

Swarovski crystal stamps

In 2004 Austria issued the world's first crystal-coated stamp. The rare postage stamp created by Swarovski cost € 7.50 euros and was produced in conjunction with the Austrian postal service. The stamp was made out of paper like any normal stamp and the crystals were stuck on with a special glue. A way was found by Swarovski to make the crystal-coated stamp withstand rough treatment in automated mail sorting machines. The real glass crystal surface showed the Swarovski swan motif.

Chocolate mail from England
Chocolate mail from England
Chocolate from France
Chocolate from France

Chocolate stamps

Some people like to lick stamps before sticking them on envelopes, while others find it disgusting. Although there are less stamps to lick these days, one has to admit that those old-fashioned stamps will never die. So if one has to lick them anyway, why not make them taste good, so everybody can be happy? The stamps featured here are called Chocolate Mail and they even come in 3 flavors: dark, milk and white chocolate! The stamps are designed so they look like a bar of chocolate, packaged as an envelope.

The second lot are a series of ten stamps from France celebrating chocolate — but more than just looking like blocks of chocolate, they're scented like chocolate. The stamps, issued by La Poste, the French mail service, trace the history of the product over ten frames, from Central America to the royal courts to becoming an everyday treat.

Soccer ball stamps

In March 2008, the Austrian Post Office issued a stamp made of the same original material as the UEFA European Championship ball – a synthetic mix which included polyurethane.

The Simpsons stamps

Woo-Hoo! The US Postal Service started selling stamps featuring The Simpsons on May 7th, 2009. The price of the first-class stamps was 44 cents each. “This is the biggest and most adhesive honor The Simpsons have ever received ,” commented Matt Groening, creator and executive producer of The Simpsons.

The Simpsons, currently in its 20th year as a regularly scheduled half-hour series, is the longest-running comedy in television history. The show is a cultural phenomenon, recognizable throughout the world.

Coffee scented stamps

This postage stamp was issued by Brazil. This rare stamp is coated with varnish containing the microcapsules that were prepared from the matured coffee beans, after they were roasted, ground and filtered under pressure. This process gives a strong coffee aroma to the stamp that lasts for many years!

Switzerland's first embroidered stamp
Switzerland's first embroidered stamp
Austria's first embroidered stamp
Austria's first embroidered stamp
Edelweiss, Austria's second embroidered stamp.
Edelweiss, Austria's second embroidered stamp.
Petit Point, Austria's third stamp in the series.
Petit Point, Austria's third stamp in the series.

Embroidered stamps from Switzerland

Swiss Post issued the worlds first embroidered stamp in the year 2000. Even though the stamps were created by automated embroidery machinery, they were still time-consuming to create, especially when one compares them to typical paper stamps.

The stamps were issued so as to call attention to the world-famous embroidery created in St. Gallen, a canton of Switzerland. St Gallen originated in the 15th century as a center for textiles and it became the de facto home of embroidery after creating the first automated embroidery machines in the 19th century.

Embroidered stamps from Austria

In 2005, Austria Post issued the first of a commemorative series of embroidered stamps. It was created in Lustenau, the centre of the Vorarlberg embroidery industry.

The next embroidered stamp was a blue Clusius Gentian flower, which was released in 2008. Then in 2010 the third embroidered stamp with the name of Petite Point was issued and this time it is a rose.

Cork tree sitting atop a hill.
Cork tree sitting atop a hill.

Gibraltar Rock dust stamp

Gibraltar put the country's famous landmark on their stamps 2002. The Rock of Gilbraltar , is one of the most recognized natural landmarks in the world. The top layer of the stamp is embellished with finely pulverized pieces of geologic rock from the famous landmark. So with this stamp you get a piece of the rock, in more ways than one!

Cork stamps

Portugal's Cork Stamp was issued in 2007. This unique stamp was printed on very thinly sliced cork (0.35 mm) and printed on the substrate is a stylized image of a cork tree sitting atop a hill. The stamp has a € 1 Euro denomination .

The stamp serves to bring attention to Portugal's cork industry, which provides well over 30% of the world's market for cork. Cork is used for making stoppers for bottles, fishing floats, gaskets, and bulletin boards.

Wooden stamp from Switzerland
Wooden stamp from Switzerland

Wooden stamps

Another stamp that was built using the product of trees is this Swiss 5-Franc postage stamp. It was issued in 2004 and was made from 120-year-old fir trees from Swiss forests. Like the cork stamp above, due to the nature of the underlying growth characteristics, every single stamp is naturally unique.

Austrian stamp depicting the win against Sweden.
Austrian stamp depicting the win against Sweden.
Stamp with meteorite dust from Morocco.
Stamp with meteorite dust from Morocco.

Moving stamps

Postage stamps these days even feature a 3-second sport clip, which in this case depicts various views of the winning goal that was scored against Sweden to grant Austria passage to the 1998 Soccer World Cup. This historical moment was immortalized by Austria Post in honor of the UEFA' 2008 series. By using advancements in existing technology, Austria Post managed to put the moving image of this goal onto a postage stamp. The stamp is very large, as it measures 6.5 cm wide by 4.7 cm tall. With its size, denomination, and the novelty of moving images, it is sure to stand out in any stamp collection.

Mail from a different world

Austria Post issued a stamp containing 0.03 grams of meteorite dust. The dust came from a 19 kilogram meteorite found in Morocco in 2004. The meteorite was composed of olivine, a mineral chemically defined as magnesium iron silicate. 
The meteorite was crushed into a very fine dust, which was then fixed to the stamp using a special adhesive. The stamp issue was called Mail From a Different World.


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    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      8 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      Thanks for your comment! I used to like collecting postage stamps and it's nice to see how sophisticated they have become!

    • Joseph Hollick profile image

      Joseph Hollick 

      8 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada

      Great information!

      Thanks for posting.

    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      9 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      Thanks for leaving your comment Denise! I loved the choice of words in your hubs: whispers of truth, splendor of fall, simplicity of being and so on! As you can see from my name, I also like No. 13 and like your mother, I am a librarian too! I used to collect stamps as a child, but as you can see my love for them continues, whether they have Swarovsky crystals in them or not!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Sylvia-this is such a cool hub. I was just thinking of stamp collecing in the post office last week. I love certain stamps for their beauty and others for their message. Thanks. Happy Holidays.


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