Cate Blanchett Clothing Styling Fashion Sustainable Sports Kaput Kitsch Stealing Horses Galoppo Sport

The ‘send-button’ from a slower era

Kaput Kitsch™ - Editorial

In a world flooded with instant messages, memes, and fleeting likes, there's something timeless and profound about the humble postage stamp. These colourful, mini art-pieces are not just postage currency; they're tokens of human connection, and stories waiting to be told.

Picture this: a stamp, no bigger than a thumbnail, embarks on a journey carrying not just letters but the essence of relationships. It's a tiny envoy of emotions, travelling miles and borders to deliver a piece of someone's heart and thoughts. And in this age of digital speed, stamps are like the ‘send-button’ from a slower era. 

At the same time they are little ‘gallery-like’ mediums that portrait cultural happenings, influential personalities and significant turning points of society. 

They are ‘timestamps’ (makes sense, right?) that can be used to tell history. A red line.

In 2009, Australia paid homage to ‘Australian Legends’ featuring actors and actresses Cate Blanchett, Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Geoffrey Rush. It's not just postage; these stamps serve as a nudge, inspiring and reminding people of the significance and beauty of art and film. It's a subtle, yet profoundly beautiful way of using postal stamps to evoke thoughts about these actor's humanity and artistic legacy. And they just look awesome!

Here's a concise overview of the history of stamps:

  • Early Postal Systems (Pre-19th Century):
    Before the introduction of postage stamps, sending letters was often an expensive and complicated process. The recipient, not the sender, usually paid for the delivery.
    In the 17th century, postmarks and hand-stamps were used to indicate the payment of postage, but these were applied to the letter, not a separate adhesive stamp.

  • Rowland Hill's Reforms (1837):
    The modern postal stamp owes its existence to Sir Rowland Hill, a British educator and postal reformer. In 1837, Hill proposed a radical idea: prepayment of postage through a uniform, low rate, regardless of distance.
    In 1840, the United Kingdom became the first country to issue postage stamps. The Penny Black, featuring a profile of Queen Victoria, and the Twopenny Blue were the first adhesive stamps. The sender now paid the postage cost upfront.

  • Spread of Postage Stamps (1840s-1860s):
    Other countries quickly adopted the idea of postage stamps. Brazil, Switzerland, and the United States issued their first stamps in 1843, and many more followed suit. The introduction of postage stamps significantly simplified the mailing process and encouraged letter writing. It also marked the birth of philately, the hobby of collecting stamps.

  • Evolution of Stamp Designs (Late 19th Century):
    As postal services expanded globally, so did the variety of stamp designs. Stamps started featuring national symbols, historical figures, and cultural motifs, becoming a form of miniature art.
    Watermarks, perforations, and various printing techniques were introduced to deter forgery and improve stamp durability.

  • Innovations and Special Issues (20th Century):
    The 20th century witnessed innovations such as airmail stamps, which facilitated the growing importance of air travel in mail delivery.
    Governments also issued commemorative and special edition stamps for events like anniversaries, festivals, and important milestones. These stamps often appealed to collectors.

  • Self-Adhesive Stamps and Automation (Late 20th Century):
    In the latter half of the 20th century, self-adhesive stamps were introduced, eliminating the need for licking or moistening before affixing.
    Automation in mail processing led to the use of machine-readable barcodes and printing technologies to expedite sorting and delivery.

  • Digital Age Challenges (21st Century):
    The rise of email and digital communication posed challenges to traditional postal services. However, stamps maintained their cultural and historical significance, and many people continued to collect and use them.
    Some countries embraced innovative stamp designs, holograms, and augmented reality to enhance the appeal of their philatelic products.

  • Philately and Collecting (Present Day):
    Philately remains a popular hobby, with collectors often seeking rare and unique stamps. Stamp exhibitions, auctions, and online communities contribute to the vibrant stamp-collecting culture.
    National postal services continue to issue new stamps, commemorating important events, cultural icons, and historical milestones.

In summary, the history of postal stamps is a narrative of innovation and cultural expression, reflecting the changing landscape of communication and transportation over the centuries. From Rowland Hill's revolutionary postage reforms to the diverse and artistic stamps of the present day, postage stamps continue to capture the imagination of people worldwide.