They were first issued by such tropical climates as Sierra Leone in February 1964 and Tonga in April 1969 in an attempt to avoid the tendency of traditional water-activated stamps to stick together in humid conditions. They also made die cutting into fanciful and unique shapes easier.
The United States Postal Service's first foray into self-adhesive stamps was in 1974 with the 10-cent dove weathervane, produced by Avery Dennison, that soon became discolored due to the instability of the adhesive. It was another 15 years (1989) before another such stamp was issued by the USPS. Stamp collectors criticized the format, as the rubber base adhesive used tended to progressively yellow the stamps. They also found them difficult to remove from covers, and to save in mint condition, though self-adhesives of recent years have improved in these respects. The British Post Office first issued self-adhesive stamps on October 19, 1993, with the introduction of books of 20 First Class stamps, later a 2nd class stamp was introduced, in later years other issues were produced in the self-adhesive format. Outside of the philatelic community, the stamps have been welcomed as more convenient; by 2002, virtually all new USPS stamps were issued as self-adhesives.
More recent USPS self-adhesive stamps are not readily removable from the envelope or cover backing by traditional water soaking. Some collectors of used stamps have discovered that although not readily removable by water, the self-adhesives can be removed with Bestine (a hexane solvent), Benzine (Petroleum Ether), or a natural based citrus solvent containing d-limonene (e.g., Pure Citrus Orange is an air freshener product that works for this purpose).
Artistamps have also been issued in a self-adhesive format.
Drawings have been made on the backing paper of a self-adhesive stamp for the purpose of creating a bas-relief on the surface.
Media related to Self-adhesive stamps at Wikimedia Commons
- "Self-Adhesive Stamps". Preservation and Care of Philatelic Materials. American Philatelic Society. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- Supinger, Rachel. "Self-adhesive stamp revolution sweeps world". Refresher Course. Linn's Stamp News. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- "Avery Dennison Corporation". Avery Dennison. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
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