Belgium is catching up with France and The Netherlands : Personalised stamps : Your picture on a valid stamp!
Placing ads on, next to or behind stamps is not new, neither is it on stamp sheets. In the past, some, like the « Marianne »,have been modestly successful. In June, the Belgian post services offer this opportunity again. On « Belgica 2001 », the Post offered visitors the possibility to have an (adhesive) stamp made of themselves. During the course of the world exhibition, a special franking was possible, including sending on the spot.
The Belgian principle is not new, the Australians were the first to introduce it two years ago, followed by France and a few English-speaking countries. The Netherlands did something similar in 1999. What is new is the fact that the personalisation is now printed on the spot. From October on, the idea should be launched through the traditional post offices.
The concept offers enormous possibilities, which consist not only of the personal portrait, but also company logos, special events, exhibitions. This will make out a whole new collection area. One can think about a serious expansion in the field of thematic philately, for companies it is a new form of restricting the use (like in the past with company perforations) ,… . But as a general principle, it should be clear that it is a collection area which will never be complete. And whether the modern collector will benefit from it… In any case, they are an opportunity for companies to use stamps again on direct mailings in order to make them more attractive and eye-catching. And, that is a positive evolution for philately in general.