More fun and intriguing facts about stamps.
In 1879, the Belgian town of Liege tried using cats to deliver mail. 37 cats were employed to carry bundles of letters to villages within a 37km radius. They proved unreliable and the experiment was short-lived!
The smallest ever stamp, issued in 1863 by the Columbian state of Bolivar, was only 9.5mm x 8mm. Imagine trying to find an image that looks good that small!
In 1977, Australia issued a stamp called "Surfing Santa", with a picture of Santa wearing shorts and riding a wave, but a lot of people weren't happy with this stamp as a Christmas stamp.
Many old stamps were printed using an engraving process called "intaglio". The design was engraved or etched into a flat metal plate, using lots of finely spaced lines to produce different shades. Originally this was all done by hand! The engraver was a highly skilled craftsperson and must have had a lot of patience.
Australia's youngest stamp designer is Holly Alvarez of Perth. She was only five years old when her design for a 1983 Christmas stamp was chosen in a national competition for primary school children.
Since 1968 stamps have been issued to celebrate Australia's participation in the Olympic Games.
If you love reptiles or insects, stamps are for you! These animals have been featured on more than 50 Australian fauna stamps issued since 1982.
Part of every stamp is invisible to our eyes and can only be seen by Australia Post's sorting machines. A special phosphorescent coating on each stamp only shows up under an ultraviolet light. This light is what the sorting machine uses to position the stamp for cancellation (postmarking) when a letter is sorted for delivery.
Early stamps had no perforations; they had to be cut from the sheets with scissors.