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November 28, 2014

9 Bizarre Postage Stamps That Really Exist


As the art of the letter goes the way of the dinosaur, so does the utility of the postage stamp. However, as long as there are hobbyists out there, the stamp will live on as a collectors’ item. While most stamps are simply practical ways of letting the post office know that you paid to send this letter, some stamps are…less practical. These are 9 such stamps that make you scratch your head and ask why…

9. Yoda

What better way to guarantee the safe arrival of your parcel than be affixing the visage of a Jedi guru onto it? Hmm. Probably lots of better ways exist, actually, but there’s little question that you will feel 17% more secure about the delivery of your package or parcel with Yoda on it. Fortunately, there’s also a nice little label that says “Star Wars Yoda” in case the recipient just thought your stamp was of an older, hairier Millard Filmore or something.

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8. The Simpsons

They went from being the scourge of America to being memorialized on a series of postage stamps. My how tastes change. Considering US stamps allow you to send things to other countries, my guess is that a Frenchman would take one look at a package bearing these yellow likenesses and say to himself, “Teepical American sheeeet!”

However, these stamps have a second life as a pop culture memento, though that heyday may have passed as well, considering how bad the show has gotten in its geriatric.

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7. Holocaust Stamp

Don’t recognize the language on this one? That’s because it’s Hungarian, and Hungarian, like Finnish, is one of those languages that seems to have no ties to any other language. Once you crack the code, in case you didn’t recognize the Star of David, you learn that this is a holocaust commemoration stamp. While not as breezy as other entries on this list, I still find it a little odd that one would need to be reminded of the holocaust through their method of postage, but I’m about as far removed from both the holocaust and Hungarian postal service as any person can be, so I’ll reserve judgment.

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6. Potato Chip Stamp

Thank God for this stamp from the Aland Islands in Europe. Otherwise, we might never remember that potato chips are a thing that exist. It’s largely a mystery as to why the chips got to grace the front of countless envelopes from this itty-bitty island nation. Perhaps they are the source of some huge amount of revenue, or maybe the guy that designs the stamps was hungry when he had to pitch ideas. The world will never know. What we do know is that they seem to prefer crinkle-cut over regular. And who can blame them?

Potato chips: Never forget.

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5. Greetings From…New Jersey?

I don’t know where you live that’s so awful that you’re going to brag about being in New Jersey, but this American stamp seems to be designed for you. I’m thrilled with the way they’re able to couple such iconic New Jersey imagery with the message. Indeterminate large buildings along the shore. Man with busted-ass umbrella.

This message sponsored by the New Jersey Tourism Board.

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4. Ugly Duckling

Singapore always seems to be looking out for the little guy. I have no idea if that’s actually true or not. All I know about Singapore is that they (apparently) love The Ugly Duckling and hit you with a stick if they catch you chewing gum. I guess, all in all, this stamp might not be that weird, it’s just weird when you think of these things as being regionally important. “What is it about Singapore that endears them so much to the story of this heinous bird?” Probably nothing. Pretty birds, though.

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3. Monkey on a Bike

Sure, Mongolia. Why not? Again, I don’t know what a primate cyclist has to do with the land of Genghis Khan, but I’m down with it. My biggest concern is that the monkey seems a little…impaired. I’m not sure how things are in Mongolia, but here in the States, riding a bike under the influence is the same as driving a car that way. Also, those baggy pants are bound to get caught in his chain. Perhaps cycling pants on a monkey would be too sexually suggestive, but there has to be some middle ground. What example does this set for Mongol children? That wasn’t rhetorical. A bad one. It sets a bad example.

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2. Boulder Guy

The picture, coupled with the fact that there’s no information on the origins of this stamp create quite the head scratcher. The solitary word “Giants” sits in the lower left. Should we fear the giants? Love them? Both? I’ll do whatever you tell me to, stamp, just be more clear. It’s also clear that this stamp costs 62 of something. Pennies? Baht? Virgins? I’m going to play it safe and fear the boulder-chucking giant until further notice.

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1. Emaciated Dude on a Bed

Congratulations, Congo. You win. The “communicable diseases” stamp gets the gold medal. We’ve got a guy on a bed dying of malaria or some such bug-transmitted disease. He looks like he’s on his last legs. What’s the purpose of this stamp? I have no idea. To remind the sender and/or recipient that life is fleeting, especially in the Congo, where the life expectancy is 53.7 years? Perhaps. Maybe it’s just to scare kids for no particular reason. I like that explanation more. “This stamp was created to terrify children.” Done.

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