Tattoos are not a common sight on stamps, but the avid researcher is going to find quite a couple of exquisite examples. Below you will find a ‘starter kit’ – make sure to let me know if you happen to find other examples of tattoos on stamps.
United Arab Emirates
Let’s start from the light stuff. The United Arab Emirates issued in 1998 this series of stamps featuring intricate hand henna-based tattoos. Brilliant!
Bosnia and Herzegovina
This stamp from 2004 of the Croat office of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Post also features a hand tattoo, this time for cultural reasons – the stamp is issued under the title of ethnic culture.
I have found two examples of New Zealand stamps featuring tattoos. The first one was dedicated to Maori culture, and was issued as early as 1990.
The second one comes 6 years later, in a series of stamps dedicated to the centenary of the cinema (1996).
Again Maori-style tattoos are in the spotlight with this scene from the local movie “Once Were Warriors” (1994).
Let’s change again continents with another ethnologic incursion. The less than 40k inhabitants pertaining to the Yąnomamö tribe feature interesting tattoos – as the ones shown on these 1991 stamps.
This 2016 sheet from Brazil presents the art of tattooing in all its splendor.
And where you’d expect less, another series of tattoo stamps surfaces.
This 2006 set presents seaside- and beach-themed tattoos.
This Samoan set dates back from 1981. Its 4 stamps act as panels in the procession of tattoo-making. The first one presents the tattoo instruments. The second and third present the process of tattooing, whereas the last one presents the final result.
By far the winner of the tattoo on stamp competition, French Polynesia issued several sets of stamps devoted to local tattoos.
The set above dates from 1992.
These large-format stamps date from 2010.
Whereas the last set, which presents various local trades, shows on the top row right (the 20F value) a tattoo artist. It was issued in 2015.
Stamps featured in post: 39; Period: modern (1981-2015); Pricing: low to moderate; Availability: scarce.