StampNews.com sums up the year 2009. In spite of the global financial instability the year was rich in interesting philatelic events. Many countries issued a huge number of beautiful stamps.
As result StampNews.com presents the first of five rankings which grades extraordinary stamps of the year 2009.
Guernsey Post: Sherlock Holmes stamps with added mystery
In October 2009, Guernsey Post issued a set of stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
In a world first, the six stamp set has used innovative printing techniques giving dual layered images. The stamps are beautifully illustrated with scenes from the original Sherlock Holmes story but an image, not normally visible to the naked eye, is hidden underneath. This is only visible with a special lens.
Commissioning Keith Robinson, the illustrator and animator, to design the stamps, Guernsey Post has found itself sponsoring the writing of a new mystery story called Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull.
Iceland Post: Preserve Polar Regions and Glaciers
In January 2009, Iceland issued a miniature sheet as part of the joint stamp series 'Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers'.
The stamps are printed with thermochromic ink. This animated gif illustrates how the sheet looks in normal heat and also when it is heated and the ice melts away.
Cold state of the stamp shows the amount of ice and snow in the North-Pole in the year of 2009.
Hot state of the stamp shows the estimated amount of ice and snow in the North-Pole in the year of 2100.
Chocolate Stamps from France
In May 2009, France issued a limited edition set of postage stamps celebrating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of cocoa beans at the City of Bayonne.
Besides the fact that the design of the stamps are superb; they have an added delightful feature. The stamps sport the wonderful aroma of dark French chocolate! It is reported that the scent is expected to last for 2 years.
#4. 3D Dinosaurs stamps from South Africa
In November 2009, South Africa issued ten dinosaur stamps.
With this set the South African Post Office is combining pre-history with modern technology by using the anaglyph method to create a three-dimensional effect.
This set is the first ever with a 3D effect issued by the South African Post Office.
#5. 3D postage stamps from San Marino
San Marino released its three-dimensional stamps in August 2009.
The stamps are printed on three mini souvenir sheets which are designed to fit into the stereoscope.
Three of San Marino's most classic views were selected and photographed by Paolo Candelari and his assistant, Nicola Franchini.
#6. Micro Monsters on Australian Stamps
In July 2009, Australia issued a special set of 6 stamps.
This issue reveals a wonderful microscopic world most of us never have a chance to see. Familiar everyday insects, magnified many times, are shown in a new light.
This is a great issue for kids! In an Australian first, the minisheet stamps incorporate thermoprinting technology. Simply apply friction (e.g. rub quickly with your thumb) to a special area on each stamp on the minisheet to reveal information on the degree of magnification of each small creature.
#7. Bhutan Resumes World's First Philatelic CD-ROM Series
In 2009, Bhutan Postal Corporation released its second issue in a series of world's first CD-ROM postage stamps with web portal.
The stamps are mini-CDs that fit into exquisitely decorated, self-adhesive envelopes. When affixed to a larger envelope, the CD-ROM stamp can be used as postage. When inserted into a computer, the CD-ROM plays an 8-minute video about Bhutan.
#8. Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy on Vatican stamps
In October 2009, the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State produced a CD with a selection of musical works by Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
Enclosed in the CD package is also the series of stamps dedicated to the three great artists.
#9. Slovak Post: Scented Stamp For Easter
In February 2009, Slovakia issued a stamp with the scent of the narcissus. The scent was added during the colour printing process. The stamp just needs warmth or friction to release the fragrance.
#10. Lighthouses of New Zealand on stamps
In January 2009, New Zealand Post issued a series of five stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of New Zealand's first lighthouse.
Each stamp features a technological 'landmark' of its own – lighthouse beams that actually glow in the dark!
To activate the glow-in-the-dark ink, hold the stamps for a short time under a light, or in the sun - the effect can then be seen in the dark.
Our Special Nomination Award this time goes to China Post
In September 2009, China issued the world's first multimedia stamps.
Touching the stamps with a special pen-shaped device, called the aigo pen, allows a chip in the pen to recite some of the greatest poems from the Tang Dynasty, including work by Li Bai, Du Fu and Bai Juyi.
The pen is a unique gadget that combines an infrared recognition system, mass data storage and an MP3 player.