Emoji on Stamps

Emoji have been with us barely 20 years and gained popularity in the 2010’s, when more and more communication systems starting introducing them in their keyboard choice. Remarkably, they caught on in all cultures, even if they originated in Japan, and became an integral part of our everyday communication – to the extent that in 2015, Oxford dictionaries named the face with tears of joy emoji (😂) the Word of the Year!

So what are emoji? Well, to understand it better, let’s look at the etymology of the word, which, of course, is Japanese – emoji (Japanese: 絵文字) is a word that really has nothing to do with emotions – they are pictograms (絵 is a drawing, while 文字 is a symbol). So they are images that stand in for words, a thing that is not dissimilar to the use of Chinese characters, where some still remind us of the original ‘form’ of the concept they describe (for example you can easily remember that 川 is a river, 山 is a mountain, or 森 is a forest). In the same way, you can easily remember that 🐣 is a hatching chick, or that 💄 is a bar of lipstick. But, unlike Chinese characters, they can gain new meanings, depending on how the users interpret them. The hatching chick can be used when seeing the truth with clarity for the first time, just like a chick that’s just been hatched, while the bar of lipstick can be used to express one keeping their cool in difficult situations.

As tomorrow is the World Emoji Day (Jul-17), I thought we’d look at the presence of emoji on stamps (which is rapidly growing, and making emoji one of the cutest topical interests there is). Why Jul-17? Well, the calendar emoji (📅) displays that date!

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Tattoos on Stamps

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!


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Saunas and Baths on Stamps

If you ever asked yourself whether there are or not sauna and baths stamps, well, the answer is going to be yes. With Finland as the main issuer of such stamps – but that’s not really a surprise for anyone, is it?

Former Czechoslovakia


These stamps from Former Czechoslovakia present the baths of several known locations, such as Piešťany and Vyšné Ružbachy (nowadays in Slovakia); or Mariánské Lázně and Karlovy Vary (currently in the Czech Republic).

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