Roo on map on stamp on stamp

11 04 2008

Australian National Stamp WeekAustralia, Scott 647, 1976, 22mm x 34mm

Along with cartophilately (see the links on the sidebar), collecting stamps depicted on stamps is a popular topical specialty. This issue for National Stamp Week shows the first designer of Australian stamps, Blamire Young alongside a miniature picture of his own design for Australia’s first issue (Scott 59, 1915). That stamp shows the outline of the country surmounted by a kangaroo or perhaps a wallaby, and is of a much larger denomination. The apple green background of the main issue contrasts with the rose background of the original one and with the portrait of Young, made to look like watercolor, which was his favored artistic medium.

This design raises a question of how much regress one could engineer into the space of a postage stamp – perhaps a map on a stamp on a stamp on a stamp issue could make use of microprinting techniques, the innermost design revealed only under high magnification. Even with the two-level nesting represented here, if the map stamp had been much more detailed, with surface features and legends, one would be pretty hard pressed to be able to make them out even under ideal printing conditions.

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