Tuesday 20 October 2020

The stamp that doesn’t exist

I’m conscious that I’ve missed a few days here and there recently. As with everything that you start with enthusiasm, after a while it becomes a bit of a routine and then it’s easy to forget… So I thought I’d come back in full strength today with a nice floral tribute to the bluebell which is affixed to the Australia page alongside a lot of stamps from the early 1980s. Flower stamps are always straightforward to find, especially when they kindly have their name printed on them. Bluebell. Faith. Australia. Simple enough, right? It’s even sitting next ot a very similar image of a Lily of the Valley, entitled Happiness. So I could riff about the whole set…

Except it doesn’t exist. Or it’s not a stamp. Or something.

Clues: there’s no price. Every stamp I’ve ever seen has a price on it. Neither bluebell nor its lily-of-the-valley sibling has a price. Similarly, there’s usually a country name (though not always. Price is more likely than nation.). And looking a little closer, I realised that the perforations aren’t real – they’re printed. As if someone has printed a load of stamp-like shapes onto a sheet of paper and then cut them out.

Which leads me to wonder: why would someone print thing that looked like stamps, cut them out and stick them in to the Australia page of my great-aunt’s stamp collection? Note that this page of the album very definitely is from the early 1980s (so no print-at-home options even if said great-aunt had been a digital whizz (she wasn’t)). We shall have to go with the more likely, but still vague, explanation that these were purely decorative, perhaps charitable, or maybe even a little gift set that came with some Christmas toiletries. In Australia (I am sticking with that element of my truth…!).

Those who would like to know more about the bluebell can follow the link below in the usual way. Those who are enjoying the mystery, well, thank you for reading.


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