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Top 10 extraordinary stamps 2011

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StampNews.com has issued a new ranking of extraordinary stamps resuming the year 2011. This time, it traditionally includes a lot of perfumed stamps and stamps created by means of the new technologies.

However, no major breakthrough occurred in the postal stamps’ design last year. Obviously, it becomes more and more complicated for designers to think up new features. Moreover, it is becoming more difficult to impress the public. So, this is how we see the extraordinary stamps 2011 ranking:

#1

Europa 2011 stamps by Austria Post

Europa 2011 stamps by Austria Post

The topic chosen by Posteurop for Europa 2011 stamp was the International Year of the Forest. In cooperation with the Federal Forestry company, the Austrian Post Office came up with something very special: the present stamp block, designed by Michael Rosenfeld, is more than just a stamp. In the form of a small letter, the block contains a specially selected mixture of seeds from Austrian spruce trees from the Tyrol, the Salzkammergut, the Waldviertel, Styria and Carinthia.

#2

India's first cloth stamp

India's first cloth stamp

In 2011, India Post released a stamp printed on khadi (Indian handspun and hand-woven cloth). A first such stamp in the country, it bears the image of Mahatma Gandhi.

The stamp was issued on February 12, the inaugural day of week-long world philatelic exhibition - Indipex 2011.

According to philatelist Madhukar Jhingan, that was a revolutionary step as no Indian stamp was ever made on any material other than paper.

Unfortunately it is not available for online purchase.

#3

TNT Post: Augmented reality on a postage stamp + Listen to the stamp

Augmented reality on a postage stamp

In 2011, Dutch advertising agency Gummo, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and TNT Post presented the first stamps in the world with augmented reality. The stamps show five unbuilt works by famous Dutch architects. Each stamp is printed with a unique QR-code that when placed in front of a webcam erect 3D buildings in the palm of your hand. By moving the stamp, users are able to see the virtual building from almost any angle.

Unfortunately it is not available for online purchase.

World's first musical stamp

It looks like an ordinary postage stamp, but if you scan it with your smartphone it plays 'Radar Love' by the Dutch band Golden Earring.

This world first from Dutch postal company PostNL can be used as a normal stamp to send letters and parcels.

To listen to the stamp you need to install the Chameleon Explorer app on your smartphone.

Unfortunately it is not available for online purchase.

#4. New Zealand's first 3D stamp + Australia Post's first 3D minisheet

New Zealand's first 3D stamp

In September 2011, New Zealand Post issued its first 3D stamp - just in time for Rugby World Cup 2011. This innovative stamp, featuring the Tournament's prize, the Webb Ellis Cup, has been produced in strictly limited quantities.

Australia Post's first 3D minisheet

This Australia Post's stamp issue, released in October 2011, features Mythical Creatures including a fairy, troll, mermaid, griffin, unicorn and a dragon.

Included in this stamp issue is an Australian first, a special effect 3D minisheet. It comes with viewing glasses and is housed in a special stamp pack complete with a standard minisheet.

#5. Zodiac issue by Liechtenstein and China

Zodiac issue by Liechtenstein and China

One of expressions of cordial relationship between the Principality of Liechtenstein and the People's Republic of China are numerous Liechtenstein postage stamps to which Chinese artists have contributed. This is the case for "Chinese Signs of the Zodiac" issue. In 2011, for the first time, a postage stamp appeared in silhouette form. For the purpose the face design by Stefan Erne was cut out using state-of-the art laser technology. For greater practical convenience the stamp is moreover appearing in self-adhesive form.

The stamp illustrates dragon, symbol of the year 2012.

#6. French Heart stamps

French Heart stamps

Maurizio Galante, a famous Paris fashion designer, in collaboration with French Post created in 2011 two stamps to illustrate the designer brandname hearts.

The first stamp of 0.95€ named "Engrave your initials" is covered with a red metallic film on which you can "engrave" a message or your initials.

The second stamp of 0.58€ titled "Paint me" gives you the freedom to colorize it at your will. Thus, everyone can manifest creativity and become author of his own stamp.

#7. Cocoa Scented Postage Stamps by Liberia and Grenada

Cocoa Scented Postage Stamps by Liberia

The African nation of Liberia issued in 2011 two sheets of chocolate themed postage stamps commemorating one of their leading exports, cocoa. Postage stamps on the first sheet are designed to appear as blocks of chocolate in an unwrapped candy bar, while the second sheet portrays a box of truffles - each stamp depicting a different gourmet confection. Both sheets are cocoa scented.

These attractive designs strive to educate philatelists in the process of making this beloved dessert, from harvesting the beans to packaging chocolate products. The incorporation of a quick response (QR) barcode supplies additional information on this process and gives the stamps a modern touch.

Cocoa Scented Postage Stamps by Grenada

The similar cocoa scented series was released in 2011 by Grenada, the other cocoa exporting nation.

#8. Eucalyptus stamp from Australia

Eucalyptus stamp from Australia

Aromatic postage stamps infused with eucalyptus oil gave mail deliveries a distinct Australian scent when they were released in spring 2011.
The printer of the Australian stamps said the scent could freshen up the musty files of stamp collectors for decades.

"The eucalyptus scent is encapsulated into little bubbles and we put that into a printable varnish," Graeme Lidgerwood, the sales manager of the print firm Ego, said. "It could last forever. The scent will only wear off when you rub the surface to break the micro bubbles."

#9. Pineapple Fragrance Stamps by Papua New Guinea

Pineapple Fragrance Stamps by Papua New Guinea

Another scented stamp issue was released in 2011 in Papua New Guinea.

The Post PNG issued a set of stamps, a sheetlet and a souvenir sheet dedicated to different pineapple species.

The PNG Philatelic Bureau in its quest to produce innovative products subsequently incorporated the actual fragrance to the postage stamps.

#10. Zodiac Stamp Issue by SingPost

Zodiac Stamp Issue by SingPost

At the beginning of the year Singapore Post welcomed 2011 with the release of the Rabbit Zodiac stamp issue.

Adding to the philatelic collection was the special Collector's Sheet - the first-of-its-kind offset printing on hot foiled golden metallic film with matt UV varnish. Under this special effect, one can simultaneously view the Rabbit with the Tiger on the S$5 stamp. The S$10 stamp features the same interesting effect with the Rabbit and the Dragon.

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