“It’s true that young people don’t write letters or really know what stamps are, and that, generally speaking, stamp collecting is for an older generation that is slowly dying out, so far fewer people collect stamps nowadays than they did in the past,” says Douglas Muir, senior curator of philately at The Postal Museum in London. “But people are still extremely honoured if they appear on stamps, and you get far more publicity about stamps in newspapers these days than you ever used to.”
Etching your way into history by Royalty; Politicians and by those genuine accomplisher is something we have accepted, much like many other unquestioned impositions.
However over the last few decades, vanity by the commoners ( like me) have infested both the digital and real world.
If you are not on LinkedIn, and/or Facebook, and/or Twitter and/or Whatsapp and/or etc etc. You are probably non-existent ( and if I can be audacious enough to say irrelevant) as far as the digital world is concerned.
And if you are, well, of course you are. You are reading my blog. You have a reign and rein on your digital presence. You would have possibly and surely succumbed to this plague which is called vanity.
It strikes quietly uncontrollably and unconscious to many, to others it’s merely a competitive response.
And how it grows, triggers are everywhere must have been your surprise birthday party ( you had no idea you ruled so many hearts ) or your newly minted certification at a course ( latent genius ) or a recent acquisition ( hope we are taking Tesla and not Lamborghini). Or just a change of partnership ( personal or professional – everybody cares).
We post, and we share and we like and we go viral with this infestation of our glorious feet’s and hourly and weekly sense of dis appropriate accomplishments with the unfailing assumption that the world won’t “live another day” till they applauded to your blessed existence ( even if they don’t)
Well, who am I to preach, who in this crazy world doesn’t want the love ( as fake as it might be) ! It’s human to be vain.
So here I am sharing the opportunity for you to continue your persuasion in vanity into the glorious pages of history, or should I say sheet, ahem- may be just say, adhesive paper.
Many lovely desperate ( for commercial viability) postal departments of a few countries have found your sweet spot.
Vanity and they are at your service to flame your fire.
Getting on a stamp
Until quite recently, appearing on a stamp used to be something of a double-edged honour. In most countries, unless you were the head of state, one crucial condition for being so honoured on a postage stamp was that you were dead – and have been that way for at least five years.
In the UK, the birthplace of the postage stamp, the first living recipient of this honour was Sir Francis Chichester, whose boat Gipsy Moth IV, featuring its skipper’s definite if unidentifiable image as a small figure on deck, appeared on stamps in 1967 in celebration of the sailor’s singlehanded circumnavigation of the world.
Until then, the ban on picturing living people on stamps was an unwritten Post Office rule in the UK, and therefore the commonwealth stamp world and one that is still broken only rarely, and not always overtly.
A stamp in 1999 honouring Freddie Mercury, the singer with the band Queen, who had died eight years previously, also featured in the background the unmistakable figure of the band’s drummer, the very-much-still-alive Roger Taylor.
But the tribute of the first starring role as a living subject on a stamp was reserved for cricketers Michael Vaughan and Freddie Flintoff after England’s victory over Australia in the Ashes series in 2005.
In the US, a statutory restriction on the use of portraits of the living on currency, dating from 1866, was also applied to postage – until in 2011, the United States Postal Service announced it was “dropping a rule that currently requires an individual to have been deceased at least five years before being honoured on a stamp”.
In a move that looked suspiciously like a cynical effort to make philately both cool and commercially viable again, members of the public were urged to use social media – ironically – to nominate “acclaimed musicians, sports stars, writers, artists and other nationally-known figures” for consideration as subjects for stamps.
Well, now that was a start, but not quite so enamouring to the younger generation ( who we are counting upon to carrying on the baton of philatelic pursuits and not render our vintage collections worthless)
So how do we solve a problem like Mariaaaa… as the song goes.
Aha! #HarryPotter is summoned and #Avengers are called in #Starwars and #StarTrek collide while #lordoftherings vibe with #GamesoftheThrones and of course the #Pixar and #Disneyland characters have there own special commemoratives to ensure everlasting place in #philatelic history.
All this efforts to lure the young into stamp collecting. A win-win commercial arrangement.
Well if you are famous ( and saleable) anybody and nobody who has earned instant fame over the last few quarters are now on an adhesive paper which in other words is called a collectors item.
I have this uncanny premonition that publicists and advertising agencies will soon feel very threatened about their livelihood. Superstars shortcut to the hearts, minds and albums of their fans are just a call away to the post office stamp artists team!
Well, do we stop here. Oh no! We don’t. Vanity is much much more personal.
It’s not good enough that I have the entire collection of #wonderwoman stamps. I am wondering woman – why am I not on a stamp!
So, voila the not so artificial intellect of our friendly neighbourhood post office just went into a eureka nebulous state.
Selfie Stamps wave.
Postage stamp with your own ( or family) picture is the latest missile launched by postal offices of various countries such as USA, UK, Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Canada, Finland, India, Indonesia, New Zealand and a few more.
For example, The United States Post Office allows you to make custom postage stamps from your own photos, but you must use one of the organization’s approved third-party vendors. As explained on the U.S.P.S. website, custom stamps can be designed and purchased from PhotoStamps, PictureItPostage and Zazzle.
You can get your personalized stamps in a variety of sizes and monetary values. Most vendors also offer a collection of stock images you can use for your stamps. You can use your own logos and graphics to create postage, postcards and envelopes as well — which can come in handy for wedding announcements, family reunions and other events.
Custom postage stamps cost more than the standard versions available at the post office. Prices vary by vendor, stamp size and amount.
So as you can read, we are been nudged to remain self indulgent and in our family history be itched as the first’s to be on a postage stamp.
I wonder, if this doesn’t do the trick for keeping philately alive…. what will !
Yours truly vain,