16 August 2011

From Penny Black to stamp with lenticular technology….

 

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Here I wish to share a very special article by distinguished Philatelist and writer Dr Satyendra Kumar Agarwal of Varanasi. The article is about various types of  unique stamps issued so far using most advanced technology by different postal administrations. The story has been narrated in a very interesting way that  readers would love to read without a break……..From Penny Black to  stamp with lenticular technology…

There was a stamp……

 

image © Dr.Satyendra Kumar Agrawal

 

Once upon a time, a Stamp was born. He was given the responsibility to collect pre-payment from the sender for postal services around the world.

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First Postage Stamp

Soon he gave life to more of his kind to share his increasing responsibilities. Some were assigned to collect pre-payment for Air Mail, some for Parcels. A few got the work of collecting Postage Due and some to bear additional responsibility of collecting Charities for the benefit of various organizations.

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Airmail               Parcel                        Postage Due                       Charity  

Although his empire was invaded by his own step brothers; Mechanical and Electronic frankings, ATM labels etc. several times, the Stamp and his aides ruled the world of Post for more than 160 years,

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                    Franking                                             ATM machine  Frama Label

In the last two decades our very own Stamp was challenged by the avatars of modern communication. Telephone, Fax, SMS, MMS and emails challenged his rule and began establishing their own empire.

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Telephone, Fax, SMS, MMS, emails etc., the children of Modern Communication

What was left, was captured by his cousin, named Courier Services.

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Courier Service

These rivals of new age brought the race of True Stamps to the verge of extinction. Their existence was limited to the pages of Stock Books of collectors and professionals. These days they are rarely seen on postal articles performing their actual duty. Their ancestors were turned into living mummies and are only seen when put for sale by big Auction Houses or displayed during Philatelic Exhibitions.

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Auction Catalogue             Stock Book Philatelic           Exhibition

Once, a very old Stamp escaped from the Stock Book of a collector and wandered here and there with a wish to meet his younger generation. His hope lit, when he found a bunch of envelopes on a table. Alas! There were no stamps on them, only Red markings, Labels and Hand written inscriptions. Suddenly he sprang in joy seeing a multicolor Brochure of an exhibition with few illustrations of his own family members.

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Exhibition Hall

He rushed to the Exhibition and entered the hall. “Where am I?” he murmured “ Have I mistakenly entered the Wonder land of Alice?” He searched every where for his relatives but the inhabitants were aliens to him. Somebody told him that those are his new generation relatives, and his eyes wide opened in astonishment.

Some looked like fruits and vegetables

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Fruits                              Vegetables

while others looked like animals, birds and reptiles

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Cat                               Parrot                              Tortoise

A few resembled garments and crockery.

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T-Shirt                  Coffee Mug

Chess, Snake & Ladder, Table Tennis, Football, Boxing, Discus & Pole vault and all types of indoor and outdoor games formed the faces of his new relatives.

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Chess board               Snake & Ladder               Football

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                 Boxing                       Discus                                    Pole vault

Quiz game boards were also included in this family.

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Fun Games

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Tangram Puzzle

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Leaflet can be folded in the shape of the box, showing the cathedral from the various points of view

A few were in even harder to believe shapes and sizes.

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Largest Stamp

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Unusual Shapes

He found few members playing Hide & Seek

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To see the Hidden Image, concentrate on one stamp; bring it right up to your nose and “stare through it”. It will be blurred. Slowly move it about a foot away without focus on the pattern. The image should now appear.

And other few were displaying collage of decorated bricks.

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The image of Mona Lisa is made up of many other small paintings.

Wow, a group of magicians were also there, showing interesting magic tricks.

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Looking in chain

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Magic tricks

Some changed colours when seen while moving

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Colour changes with movement

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Able to change the background colour

while others did it when rubbed.

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  It reveals a trapped ion in a molecule                        Gold nuggets revealed in the pot

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Core disappears figure of a man                      Heat reveals hidden messages

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Placing a finger or scratching on the dates, the heat-sensitive ink reveals the effects of climate change on sea ice

He felt shy when he found himself in between a group wearing gems & jewellery and embroidered cloths.

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Beaded and Embroidered                               Pearl

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Famous Swarovski glass crystals                 Ruby  

Ultra modern race had chosen unusual materials too to decorate themselves like stones, granite, clay, meteorite dust, volcanic ash, glittering fabric crystals, wax seal and tennis ball stuff etc..

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                 Stone dust on Rocks             Granite piece            Clay dust on court

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Meteorite dust in red ink         Volcanic Ash                   Fiber Crystals in Fire Works

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                                    Wax Seal Tennis             ball stuff

Even their cloths were made of precious metals like Platinum, Titanium, Palladium, Gold and Silver.

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            Platinum             Palladium                           Gold                           Silver

Poorer were wearing Copper, Aluminum, Steel and Bronze dresses.

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                Copper                  Aluminum                   Steel                       Bronze

He fell in deep thought, how poor his race was, made of mere paper. He reconciled remembering the simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi.

He also asked himself, “was it only a dream or was he watching a Fashion channel on TV?”

Suddenly he was pushed by a stamp jumping out of his frame probably to kiss a passing by beautiful lady with a magnet in her hand. He collided with another stamp; who cried in anger .He bounced back falling on a soft bed and felt tickled when a velvety hand caught him falling again.

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   Magnetic,        Produces sound if scratched       Cork         On Velvet with Rose scent

 

He introduced himself as made up of Velvet and to those he collided were magnetic, talking and cork stamps. Wood, Plastic, Silk and polyester stamps of that family also came forward to greet him.

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                     Wood                       Plastic                                 Silk

While he was trying to come out of this amusement park, he was surrounded with the sweet aroma of fresh roses in the air. He searched for roses but found none but his velvety friend smiling and telling him that it is from his own body. He invited him to meet his other family members of perfumed stamps smelling like Jasmine, Apricot, Narcissus, Magnolia, Tulips, and Orchids etc.

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                Jasmine                    Narcissus                 Magnolia              Orchid

After floral scented relatives he met a group of young Stamps who smelt of fresh fruits, Mango, Pineapple, Apple and Coconut.

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            Mango                     Pineapple                Apple                          Coconut

Few smelt like Sandal wood.

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Sandal wood

Even before he could leave behind this world of perfumed stamps he stumbled upon the mouth watering smell of fresh Swiss Chocolates, Tea and Coffey coming from a distance.

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                         Chocolate                     Tea                           Coffee

Even few drops of salvia fell down looking at the brick of chocolates unconsciously on a stamp nearby and to his surprise, as he rubbed the “Lamp of Aladdin” a seed sprang out of the stamp like Ginny introducing himself as Seeded stamp.

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Each stamp attached a seed

He himself sprang in excitement when his Velvety friend told that not only perfumed and seeded stamps but also tasty stamps belong to his family. He pointed out towards a stamp depicting a pig and when he kissed him it felt like tasting sweet-sour pork.

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                       Gum tastes sweet-Sour pork      Taste of Vanilla flavored Rubber stamp

He began dreaming when Burger, Pizza, Chow Mein, Biscuit and Cake flavoured stamps would join this new race of tasty stamps. Suddenly the exhibition hall was engulfed into darkness due to a sudden power failure. He was bewildered at the sight that dawned upon him. Ghost like creatures were hanging in the air and glowing brightly. He shivered in fear.

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Glow in dark

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Glow in dark

His Velvety friend came forward, patting his shoulder and said “don’t worry, these are no ghost but your own younger brothers capable of glowing in dark. He showed him few more strange relatives, transparent stamp, stereoscopic stamp and book stamp.

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             Transparent               Looks Yellow on Yellow and Red on Red backgrounds

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Stamps are slotted into a small screen cinema like arrangement and 3-D glasses

used to view pair of stamps

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Special glasses are needed to see the 3-D effect

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'Book stamps' that you can read and leaf: it contains the story in Dutch Micro Text by J. Zwagerman "Wat is erect" ("What is worse")

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Flipping through the pages quickly of this 15 pages “Flip Book” the pictures make an impression of movement.

There was no end to his surprises. He soon found himself in another world of sensual stamps where his relatives were talking, singing and playing movies. They were Gramophone Record stamps, CD and DVD stamps.

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    Gramophone  Record               CD Rom                                    DVD

A few looked like tiny TV screens with antenna like tentacles showing short clips of football, surfing and rowing.

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             Approximately 3-second sport clip               3D Ramayana Puppet show

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Lenticular Stamp

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Lenticular technology is used for above stamps in which a plastic lens atop a specially-formatted image makes it appear to change.

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Many images layered on top of each other, when tilted, the images move to appear

One was even showing short movie.

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The stamp contains a sequence of 30 frames, for about second mini-movies in a joking way that describes the relationship between the director Anton Corbijn and actress Carice van Houten.

He also met most amazing computer age relative, said ready to accept the challenges of 21st century, “Multimedia” and "intelligent" stamps the youngest addition in members of this new generation of stamps.

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Touching the stamps with a special pen-shaped device, called the Aigo pen(The pen is a unique gadget combines an infrared That recognition system, mass data storage and an MP3 player), allows a chip in the stamp recite some of the greatest poems from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)to background music.

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Viewing the stamp via a Smartphone takes users to a related webpage. The stamps combine with an image recognition app called Junaio.

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And shows a short film in which B. Cribbins reads the poetry of WH Auden, "The Night Mail".

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Through software, the camera phone recognizes the bee tag and allows connection to a particular website.

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The up code, top right, can be opened with a phone with a camera which recognizes the up code and allows direct connection to the site of e-shop of the Finnish Post Office.

While returning from the exhibition he was caught in a crowd of thoughts. Some praising the innovations and modernization while others feeling sorry for those who are left with the job of inhibiting philatelic zoos because of the increasing physical and visual materiality of his modern generation relatives and considered by the Post as a product aimed exclusively for collectors not for circulation to perform the function for which they were born.

What would be the future, if collectors turn their back on these stamps exclusively philatelic rather than postal nature, and because of the abuses by many Postal Administrations? “Stamp Collecting” is heading towards becoming a branch of the Antiques business, would it be a tragic end in the middle term? And ‘He’ himself would be in way of dinosaurs?

I thankfully acknowledge my son Tushar , Senior Software Engineer,Tesco HSC, Bangalore and  my daughter Tulika  , Associate Consultant in Enterprise Solutions Division,  Infosys Technologies Ltd, Hyderabad, for their help in portraying the story of  " Stamp in Wonderland"  beautifully in words.- Dr SK Agarwal

Dr SK Agarwal may be contacted at e-mail : rosephila@hotmail.com

 

2 comments:

Tushar said...

Amazing

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Agarwal.
I found your article about unique stamps very nice and interesting, because it has been years since I dedicate myself to this topic...
but I was hoping for at least being mentioned, since many images were clearly taken from my site "Dentelli Stravaganti" http://www.eryx.it/dentelli/index.htm
Hovever, I hope that your article will serve to raise awareness of these stamps.
Good job! Eryx

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