Adding Personal Touch to Stamps By Rupinder Kaur
The invention of camera brought a huge revolution throughout the world. Digital cameras further made them handy and simpler to operate. We never forget to carry our personal camera and capture our precious moments, whether it is a religious ceremony, festival, wedding, birthday, or a holiday trip. One can always cherish these sweet memories by keeping these photographs in a photo album or get it framed to display in our house.
But have you ever thought of converting your personal photographs into Photo Stamps? These stamps also known as Personalized Postage Stamps or Customized Postage Stamps are legal postage stamps. The image can be designed or chosen by the customer. They are officially authorized by the Postal service and can be used on any standard mail. Many countries offer this facility. These include Aland, Austria, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherland, Poland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. In all these countries except United States, these stamps can be used for both domestic and international postage. Photo Stamps of US are allowed for domestic use only.
Ranjit Singh, a retired person from Posts and Telegraphs Department in Delhi, and a passionate collector of stamps boasts of having numerous such stamps. In the last few years he has preserved the memories of his loved ones beautifully and in a useful manner by converting them into Personalised Postage Stamps. He has got over fifteen photographs converted into Photo Stamps from various countries like USA, Canada, Hungary and Bhutan till date. These include some family Photo Stamps made with his wife, son, grandson and daughter in law. Some of his Personalized Photo Stamps also include stamps with Golden Temple, Amritsar and Shri Akal Takhat Sahib.
His first Photo Stamp was made though Canada Post and was released on April 28, 2000, that showed his picture with his wife within a broad golden frame. Here the stamp is shown on its First Day Cover with the cancellation mark on it. On the left side of the cover the golden frame is shown in bold with a stylized 11-pointed Maple Leaf, just like the one on the national flag of Canada.
A personalized postage stamp from Hungary had the photograph of his grandson and daughter-in-law. On its right was a monochromatic designer label in yellow-ochre colour with the denomination and name of the country written on it.
Another stamp from United Kingdom showed the photograph of his two sons while the label showed the laughing face of a policeman. Interestingly, the stamps from UK show a miniature portrait of the queen in golden colour on the top right side corner of the label in place of the country name.
The stamp from US showed the photograph of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib along with the price and an abstract black and white pattern representing the company that printed it. The stamp can be used just like a sticker on a notebook.
One of the most recent stamp from Bhutan in Ranjit Singh’s collection showed his portrait framed between two horizontal multicoloured borders. The name of the country is written in both English and Dzongkha on top. The denomination is mentioned on the lower right hand corner of the stamp.
His friends and relatives also got Personalised Postage Stamps made for themselves. One of them sent him a letter having his Photo Stamp from United Kingdom which showed his family photograph while the label showed the enigmatic smile of Leonardo’s masterpiece Mona Lisa.
The process of any personal picture to be converted into a Photo stamp is fairly simple. The order can be placed online by uploading the selected digital photographs or sending printed copies to the Postal Department of the concerned country. Each country offers Photo stamps with a minimum purchase of 20 stamps. The order is sent through regular mail. The cost per stamp is generally twice as much as a standard postage stamp. Each image is reviewed by the Postal Department of the concerned country before it is allowed to be printed. These stamps can be purchased with varying face values.
These stamps can be used either independently or along with general usage stamps. One of the envelopes received by Ranjit Singh from Canada had three Personalised Photo Stamps and two general stamps.
Even today in the age of emails, postal letters hold an importance of their own. For our friends and relatives settled abroad, Photo Stamps can be a good way to bring distant hearts together. These stamps will not only make the letters special for the sender but also for the receiver staying miles away. Stamp lovers can add these unique mementoes to their collections. You can also make unique gifts and keepsakes from these. So what are you waiting for? Place an order today and express your personal style with Personalised Postage Stamps.
Material Courtsey: Ranjit Singh & Rupinder Kaur
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