Friday, June 13, 2008

The World's Smelliest Postage Stamps

It's Fun Friday -- time for some fun for the weekend. Enjoy today's post and I'll see you back here on Monday with more philatelic news and notes.

There have been many attempts to improve the revenue-generating power of the postage stamp. Some countries will do almost anything to sell postage stamps, especially to hoarders or collectors, who in turn will never use them. This represents a nearly 100% profit for the postal administration.

In the last 35 years, there has been a growing number of scented stamps being issued. From the first smelly stamp through to the most current olfactory offering, the use of scented stamps are a novelty that are becoming more and more prevalent.

Here, then, is a list of some of the more notorious scented postage stamps available for collectors. Every stamp is valid postage in the country it was issued.

  • Bhutan's Rose-Scented Stamps.

    The tiny nation of Bhutan, located between India and China, is a economically underdeveloped nation. Surprisingly, the country's lack of money does not translate into misery, though, as they are time and again judged to be among the happiest people in the world by unbiased sources, such as the United Nations. The people of Bhutan are very content, and its a safe bet that the nation's postal system only adds to their happiness by the fun variety of stamps that they offer.

    In 1973, Bhutan's postal authorities released the world's first-ever scented stamps. The 6-stamp series depicted beautiful roses and each stamp was perfumed to smell like a rose. During the production of the stamps, the underlying paper had been scented with rose essence, leading to the stamps smelling like the depicted roses.

    Since Bhutan's aromatic stamp, numerous other countries have issued flower-scented stamps. In fact, of all of the stamps issued with scents, flowers-scented stamps are the predominant type.

  • India's Jasmine-Scented Stamp.

    India has recently issued jasmine-scented stamps to remind postal patrons of the flowering plants wonderful smell.

    Jasmine plants vary in size and form; most species are vine-like and climb other plants or posts, producing flowers that are small and delicate in appearance. Besides their natural use as a garden and landscaping plant, jasmine tea is widely used in many cultures as a ameliorative for coughs and colds. The essence of jasmine is also used as a basis for perfumes and ointments.

  • India's Sandalwood-Scented Stamp.

    Along the same lines as flower-scented stamps are wood-scented stamps. Sandalwood, a type of tree that produces wood that is easily worked, is also one of the most fragrant woods. And India has graced our noses with a stamp containing that scent.

    Sandalwood is used for religious rituals in Hinduism, a wide-spread religion in India. Adherents also use sandalwood incense when offering incense to the Buddha.

  • Brazil's Burnt-Wood-Scented Stamps.

    While other stamps may use sweet smells in an effort to sell stamps, Brazil's first scented stamp was used to bring awareness to the damages of forest fires.

    In 1999, Brazil issued a set of 4 stamps smelling of burnt wood. The stamps feature an anteater, a flower, leaf, and a burnt tree trunk, each of which indicates what is at risk when a forest burns. The odor was meant to make people keenly aware of the dangers of careless fires and their impact on the environment. The stamp set was part of Brazil's forest fire prevention efforts.

    This stamp shows an indigenous anteater that would be at risk in the event of a forest fire.

  • Brazil's Coffee-Scented Stamp.

    The Brazilian postal authorities certainly redeemed themselves from the burnt wood smells of their previous scented stamp issue when they released one honoring coffee. The stamp was scented with the aroma of coffee.

    Coffee is one of Brazil's largest exports and Brazil accounts for much of the world's supply of coffee beans. The coffee industry is a huge industry for the country. As a way to celebrate this industry, this special stamp was issued so that all can smell the fragrance of Brazil's gift to caffeine junkies everywhere.

  • Switzerland's Chocolate Stamp.

    The end-product of a different bean was honored by the Swiss -- chocolate. Swiss chocolate is world famous for its smoothness and richness of flavor.

    The climate of Switzerland does not allow the growing of cacao beans, the source of cocoa. Thus all of the cocoa that is used in Swiss chocolate is imported from various countries of more tropical climate. But that hasn't stopped the Swiss from enjoying the product that they make; the Swiss are estimated to be the number one consumer of chocolate in the world.

    This stamp, which came in a foil-wrapped booklet, much like a chocolate bar, really makes you want to lick it. But don't bother. It only smells like chocolate; it tastes like plain old stamp glue.

  • China's Sweet-and-Sour-Pork-Scented Stamp.

    Yes, you read it correctly; China issued a stamp with the aroma of sweet and sour pork on it. They issued the stamp in celebration of 2007 as the Year of the Pig.

    Chinese cuisine has become extremely popular in many parts of the world. While sweet-and-sour pork is certainly not the most fanciful meal that China has to offer, it is probably one of the more widely recognized.

    Sweet and sour pork is made by deep-frying small morsels of breaded pork. When the meat is done, it may then be mixed with stir-fried vegetables. The morsels are served with, or coated with, a sauce composed of sweet elements, such as sugar or pineapple, combined with a tangy element, such as mild vinegar.

    There were unconfirmed reports that the glue on the back of the stamp would taste a bit like sweet and sour pork, but I cannot substantiate this as fact.

There you have it, just a few of the growing number of smelly postage stamps.

Previous Fun Friday Posts

1 comment:

nathalie said...

France also issued a "chocolate smelling" souvenir sheet a few years ago. And they are planning a lavender issue as well next year (made from essential oils).