Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Terminology - Common Design Stamps

Europa, 1961, Common Design
German and Greek Issues
Common Design stamps are stamps from different countries that have the same, or very similar design.

Common design stamps are often offered by the nations that are or were colonies of a parent country. The former colonies of the Great Britain, for example, will occasionally issue stamps of the same design, especially when it relates to anniversaries of the monarchy, historical dates, and the passing of historic persons. For example, common design stamps were issued by nations of the British Commonwealth to honor Princess Diana, shortly after her death.

Some organizations comprised of multiple countries can also issue common design stamps. Europa, an organization of European nations, issued stamps having a common design for the first 18 years of their existence (1958-1974). Each member country would issue stamps bearing the same basic image. After that time, the Europa stamps bore a common theme, not a common design.

Common design stamps are not absolutely identical. The issuing countries will, of course, print their own name on the stamp, as well as the denomination. Since currency valuations differ based on inflation and other causes, the stamps will typically have different values on them.

Collecting stamps that are based on a common design can be a fun way to expand your collection. Trying to get each country's stamp with a specific common design could be great fun.

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