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Postal system have existed for millennia and postage stamps played a vital role in the ancient mailing systems. People would accumulate postage stamps for their historical value and unique geographical aspects.
For instance, collecting stamps and philately is considered to be one of the most popular hobbies among all ages.
Postage stamps has served as an essential evidence for the payment of postage, usually affixed on the face or address side of any item of mail-- an envelope or other postal cover.
Ancient revenue stamps of Bhutan, authorized for use as postage stamps
As Bhutan unfolded itself into the modern world in the 1960s, postal systems were first introduced in the country with an assistance from an American entrepreneur Burt Todd.
Todd was invited to the Royal Wedding by Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, having known him as a fellow student in England.
--Todd returned to the county with his wife for honeymoon- the couple forming a lifelong love of the country and its people.
Todd travelled colossally to discover new and fascinating printing methods of stamp production, and Bhutan became well known for its “firsts”-
As a result the Revenue earned from the sale of stamps tremendously helped fund developmental activities including new roads, schools and hospitals.
Bhutan issued its 1st regular stamps on 10th October, 1962; manufactured in four designs each comprising of seven denominations.
A set of seven stamps- first Bhutanese postage stamps
Burt Todd was probably the first American to visit Bhutan in 1951 and later introduced postage stamps to Bhutan.
Bhutan's stamps have toured around the globe with great pride as it not only features the Kingdom's rich cultural heritage, beautiful flora and fauna but also a diverse range of international themes on :
Bhutan was the first country to pioneer 3-D stamps, exquisite silk stamps (Thangka) and a very special circular sculpted stamps ( Talking Stamps) that has a unique ability to play the nation's national anthem and traditional folk songs on a record player.
Perhaps no other Bhutanese postage stamp has received as much attention as the so-called talking stamps.
Quite possibly the littlest vinyl records that can still be played with a stylus, those of you after a set will be pleased to know that the stamps still sporadically appear on eBay.
The talking stamps of Bhutan- a set of seven circular grooved stamps
The set of seven talking stamps comprise :
Todd, who passed away in 2008, was credited for the creation of many designs of stamps over the years.
---and in keeping up with the trend, his daughter Frances, achieved another world “first” in 2006 by producing the worlds’ first CD-ROM postage stamps for Bhutan, this time containing documentary videos about the nation.
A set of circular coin stamps made of foil (1966); 3D stamps (1967); silk stamps (1969); and CD-ROM stamp (2008)
Although the global philately market is not so trendy, stamps still continue to play an essential role in the kingdom of Bhutan. The revenue generation from sale of stamps has also made a significant contribution to the country's economy.
The newly opened postal museum in Thimphu has turned out to be one of the major tourist attraction sites.
At the museum shop, tourists are not only able to purchase Bhutanese stamps and witness ancient rare stamps of Bhutan ; but can also produce personalized stamps featuring one's own portraits set against one of Bhutan’s historic fortresses or temples, or even better by using photos from their own USB drives.
The headquarters of the Bhutan Postal Corporation in Thimphu is also a regular post office and the office of the Philately Division, where stamps are produced, as well as a postal museum. (Photo: Peter Biľak)
Are you a stamp collector ? Even if you're not, these rare and beautiful Bhutanese stamps would make a wonderful start !
To purchase Bhutanese stamps, click here.