Spain takes printing innovations to the extreme
Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke
This summer as I gave the final page approvals to the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue Vol. 6, some of the recent stamps of Spain jumped out at me.
In the last few years, that country has pushed the boundary of what stamp printers are able to do, and the result has been some interesting stamp issues.
Some might call these printing techniques gimmicks, but I don’t think that word adequately describes them. For example many new self-adhesive stamps have an “n” punched out in the design. Sometimes the stamps have other elements cut out. Also lenticular motion was added to a Star Wars souvenir sheet in 2018 (Scott 4272), and a Chess stamp from the same year (4286) is perforated to the shape of a pawn.
A 2018 commemorative honoring Alvaro de Mendana y Neira, the discoverer of the Solomon Islands and Marquesas Islands, is printed on wood veneer with self-adhesive backing (Scott 4293). And inventor Cosme Garcia Saez, who is credited with creating the inked handstamp for the post office among other things, is honored on a stamp that resembles a handstamp and is printed on rubber (4297).
For the 2019 Euroleague Basketball commemorative (Scott 4360), string netting was applied to the printed stamp to make it look like the ball is going through the net. I think it turned out well and looks nice in person.
Other stamps have foil added or special finishes. To see these and other types of techniques used, check out the pages for Spain in the Scott catalog. The real treasure for collectors would be finding in-period usages for any of these stamps.
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