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October 7, 2002 3:17 AM   Subscribe

New York company designs and produces 65% [bottom of page] of the worlds stamps. Their job includes making and promoting tacky "topicals" that will earn a few bucks for countries cashing in on the desire for collectibles. But thank god really because now we can enjoy Baywatch and David Copperfield stamps as well as the country of Mordovia's view on Clinton's impeachment plus many more. Here's the story of how Seattle writer Charles Johnson ended up on a stamp in Ghana.
posted by meech (16 comments total)

 
It's not just a few bucks. Some of the Islands in the Carribean who do this get a significant percentage of their foreign capital through sales of these stamps.

Think about it you're Sly Stallone, Gambia, Uganda, St Vincent, Grenada, and Ghana have all just released a stamp honouring your performance in 'Rocky', how can you not buy a few thousand dollars worth to give to friends and family and to use on your Christmas card mailings?
posted by PenDevil at 4:16 AM on October 7, 2002


"IGPC's art and production department certainly rates with any top advertising agency in terms of efficiency and quality"

You'd think being the #1 stamp producer in the world would give you the resources to Photoshop these pictures before they were published.

I guess it's more about quantity in the stamp world.
posted by superchicken at 4:20 AM on October 7, 2002


Thank god Grenada had the foresight to put out a sheetlet of stamps commemorating supermodel Heidi Klum - I was wondering when someone would get around to that. We need more stamps commemorating supermodels, dammit! (insert your own comment about licking the stamp here)

Does the US still only commemorate people posthumously? I tried to find some info on this but couldnt come up with anything definitive.
posted by iconomy at 4:21 AM on October 7, 2002


Commemorate: To serve as a memorial to. I think a stamp picturing a living person would be a tribute.

Anyway, the US will only print you if you're dead:
No living person shall be honored by portrayal on U.S. postage.

Commemorative stamps honoring individuals usually will be issued on, or in conjunction with, significant anniversaries of their birth, but not sooner than ten years after the individual's death.

(found here)
posted by Nothing at 5:14 AM on October 7, 2002


(The official USPS page with the same information)
posted by Nothing at 5:16 AM on October 7, 2002


(insert your own comment about licking the stamp here)

Heidi Klum OK --- but Linda Tripp? {shudder}
posted by ElvisJesus at 6:30 AM on October 7, 2002


I don't lick the Heidi Klum stamp. It's one of those stamps that are already sticky when i start to use it.

Sorry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2002


Wait! That's means there's hope for Steve and Ellen??! That rocks!
posted by ericableu at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2002


It looks like they'll put almost anyones face on a stamp. I mean Chow Yun Fat?
posted by disgruntled at 7:09 AM on October 7, 2002


Disclaimer:
My father is a philatelist, and I am the good daughter who will admire his collection.

The United States has a rule about putting a living person on a stamp. This rule is currently being broken to allow the US to put out a stamp that has the firmen putting up the flag on it.

Countries who flood the market with stamps of celebrities in attempts to generate profit are often small near-states in the middle east, and are, in stamp collector terms, non-so-affectionately called 'sand dunes'. When you buy a box of 3000 stamps in the mail you will get 1000 with pictures of the hottest celebrities. These stamps had little hope of ever being used in a postal system.
posted by goneill at 7:30 AM on October 7, 2002


If you send a letter with a Bill Gates stamp on it, will the Postal System crash?
posted by ElvisJesus at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2002


This thread reminded me that back in the 80s, someone on a daytime show (i think Joan Rivers?) had fake stamps made up with her face on them, put on envelopes, and mailed from different parts of the country--3/4 of them arrived safely!
posted by amberglow at 9:08 AM on October 7, 2002


Wait - is Dave Matthews dead?
posted by FeetOfClay at 9:41 AM on October 7, 2002


I recently read about Michael Thompson and Michael Hernandez de Luna who create stamps and then try to pass them through the postal system. They're called artistamps and it is a subset of the larger movement of mail art.
posted by snez at 11:21 AM on October 7, 2002


Adding to goneill's info, many collectors don't deal with "sand dunes" since they were never intended to be legal tender. They're cancelled-to-order (CTO), and sold at a fraction of their face value to stamp dealers. Postally used copies are worth more than the CTO counterparts. They're "sand dunes" because various Arab emirates were the first ones to sell to this market - they issued many series that were 10-20 stamps, and all had similar scenes of the local landscape. (Seen one scene in Abu Dhabi, you've seen 'em all, apparently.) I've heard (can't find link) that stamp collectors account for as much as half of the income for the postal service, and at one point stamps were the leading export for some small countries that nobody but stamp collectors have ever heard of.
posted by swell at 4:36 PM on October 7, 2002


from snez's link: Lick Flavored Anthrax Series & ALICE & DAD IN WONDERLAND

thanks!
posted by amberglow at 5:42 PM on October 7, 2002


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