Published on February 24th, 2020 | by Sam Rose
Speciality Stamps: 6 Examples of the Best Special Edition Stamps
Direct Packaging Solutions share some of their favourite speciality stamps designs to have been issued so far in our latest Guest Blog Article.
Ever since the Penny Black stamp in 1840, we’ve seen stamps on each and every letter sent across the globe.
It didn’t take long for stamp creators to get a little bit more creative than to just show the current monarch, which eventually led to commemorative or special edition stamps.
As soon as creativity started getting into the mix, stamps began transforming into miniature canvases, the likes of which could celebrate anything from religious holidays to milestone years for beloved pop-culture.
The Royal Mail is well-known for creating wonderful & whimsical speciality stamps, yet there are plenty of other creative stamp distributors out there.
Direct Packaging Solutions knows plenty about packaging and post, having seen an array of different colourful & kooky examples of speciality stamps, which is why so many fantastic examples have landed on their desk over the years.
Below are just six of these superb pieces of scaled-down art.
1. Video Games Special Stamps 2020
First off is a recent speciality stamp from the Royal Mail, the nostalgia capturing Video Games Special Stamps.
Eight individual love letters to both industry icons and esoteric classics, the Video Games Special Stamps each focus on video games that were created in Britain and either carried on to gain worldwide recognition, such as the originally-bemusing Lemmings franchise, or established themselves as cult favourites, like the infamously complex for the time fantasy world, Dizzy.
Each stamp needs little explanation design-wise, simply allowing screenshots from the games to do the talking for them.
Some do a better job than others of capturing the essence of each game, such as the perfect timing of an explosion on the battlefield of a Worms match, yet each one successfully showcases some of the humble history of early British video game development, even at a glance.
2. Marvel Comics Stamps – 10 Panel Comic Strip
Continuing the theme of ‘geek culture’ style speciality stamps, we have the stamp-iteration of celebrating the runaway success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the Westminster Collection.
Charmingly presented as a comic strip, the collection of five stamps blend seamlessly with the rest of the mini-story, an original short that is aptly set in London, with Thanos invading and the lesser-known Captain Britain teaming up with some of Marvel’s most popular characters, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Hulk.
Offered as an extremely limited collector’s edition, with only 495 being made, this speciality stamp very may well be the greatest example of how to incorporate source material into a promotional stamp collection, as unless one specifically looks for the edges of the stamps, it’s hard to ascertain which panels are stamps and which merely add to the story.
3. USPS – Woodstock Commemorative Stamps
Comics may be incredibly bold and vibrant, but the United States Postal Service has created some stamps that truly showcase the colour spectrum in style.
Created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the era-defining music festival, the Woodstock commemorative stamps feature and aptly 60’s style aesthetic, with appropriately rainbow coloured font and the symbol of peace, the dove, serving as an excellent contrasting backdrop.
Much like the dove, if this stamp were to be placed upon a plain white envelope (as one would nine times out of ten), then the vivid and mesmerising colours of the design would stand out even more.
While the design of the stamp is certainly stunning, it’s also iconic as it mirrors the original promotional poster for the festival, which featured the image of a dove resting on the neck of a guitar.
4. Canadian Post – Hanukkah & Festival of Lights Stamp
Canada Post’s spectacular 2017 Hanukkah themed stamp served as an incredible example of how a more simplistic, modern design can be both eye-catching and beautiful.
An exceptional representation of the Jewish holiday, the Hanukkah & Festival of Lights stamp was unveiled at the ‘Starry Nights’ event at the Toronto Reference Library.
Created and distributed for a good cause, the charitable organization, Ve’ahavta, hosted the event and promoted the stamp.
While this is not the only stamps that Canada Post would release celebrating a religious holiday, issuing stamps for Eid and Diwali too, the design of the Hanukkah is undeniably fantastic.
It showcases, plain and simple, that Canada celebrates its many different diverse faiths equally, with no fuss and pure respect.
5. Curious Customs Special Stamps 2019
Not all national or cultural celebrations need to be considered holy, or, in so many words, make a lot of sense.
Case in point; the Curious Customs stamps.
Not only does this wild collection raise the question of what these celebrations are or where they originated from (with ‘Burning the Clocks’ arguably being the most normal out of the entire ensemble) the Curious Customs stamp collection manages to portray in a charmingly novel manner how rich and, frankly, weird our nation’s culture can be if you know where to look.
On a purely stylistic note, each stamp is utterly spellbinding, with each example perfectly representing how barmy Brits can get with these bizarre celebrations by jumbling different fonts together, utilising striking colours and utilising cartoonish, almost childish imagery that, in many cases, wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a children’s book.
This isn’t a mocking or derogative statement either, as it’s undeniable that these stamps leave a striking impression.
6. Animal Rescue – Adopt a Shelter Pet
Finally, we have an example of how special stamps can be used for a worthy cause.
Whilst not as visually striking as some of the other design, any animal lover will instantly recognise the variety of good boys and girls in this stamp collection.
Branded with the message (and slogan of this campaign) “Adopt a Shelter Pet”, the “Stamps to the Rescue” promotion aimed to help spread awareness of all the animals in animal shelters around the country who needed a home.
It was a simple idea, but one that could effectively spread the message in an incredibly easy manner to virtually the entire country.
Spearheaded by Postmaster General Jack Potter and Ellen DeGeneres, who co-owns Halo, a holistic pet care company, “Stamps to the Rescue” launched 300 million of these stamps into circulation with hopes that more people would choose to ‘adopt, not shop’ when it came to finding a pet.