World Stamps

By Bill Sharpe

Collecting computers on stamps

July 17, 2015 08:21 AM

  • Computer Fantasy is the title of this 25-millimes stamp issued by Tunisia in 1968 to commemorate the introduction of electronic equipment for postal service.
  • Italy celebrated Communications Day in 1998 with this 800-lire stamp promoting the Italia 98 international stamp show and the Internet.
  • Olivetti computer technology is honored on this 650-lire stamp issued by Italy in 1986. The computer shown was sold in the United States as a product of AT&T.
  • The United States paid tribute to computer technology with this 32¢ issued in 1996.
  • Charles Babbage, the inventory of the difference engine and credited with developing the concept of a programmable computer, is honored on this Great Britain 22-penny stamp, issued in 1991 in the Scientists & Their Technology set.

My monthly column in Linn’s usually features programs written to help collectors keep track of stamps, sources of album pages for saving stamps and websites where they can find out more information about stamps.

As a change of pace, I am starting my Linn’s blog by discussing some computer-related stamps. My favorite stamp is one from Tunisia showing a puzzled computer. The stamp, Scott 494, was issued in 1968, but the concept behind it still applies today, in my opinion.

Another stamp that I remember fondly is the commemorative issued by Italy honoring the Internet. A vacation trip to Italy corresponded with Italia 98 international stamp show held in Milan, where this stamp, Scott 2272, was issued.

Another Italy stamp shows an early computer that I used at work in the 1980s. The stamp, Scott 1688, identifies the computer as an Olivetti model, but it was sold in the United States as an AT&T computer.

The United States has issued a number of computer stamps. I consider the Computer Technology stamp, Scott 3106, issued by the United States in 1996 one of our uglier offerings. The Great Britain stamp issued to honor Charles Babbage, Scott 1361, the inventor of the difference engine, isn’t much of an improvement.

The Computer Stamps website lists 1,415 computer-related stamps issued up until 2012. You can click on the right-most cell labeled “link” in each column of the spreadsheet to view an image of each stamp. You need to download a zip file and extract “stamps.xls” to view these stamps. Microsoft Excel or any other spreadsheet program that can view Excel files is needed.

I invite your comments about these stamps and any other topics related to computers and stamps.