Much of the world’s history remains entirely unknown to the general population. A pity – especially in the case of the little known country of Bhutan. Bhutan is located right in between the more widely known nations of Tibet and India. So why haven’t we heard too much about the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan?? Maybe it has to do in part with the fact that Bhutan was a “closed” nation until the 1960’s, meaning officials did all they could to discourage outside influence on the Bhutanese traditions.
In 1962 the Bhutanese government issued a stamp production program that helped to herald Bhutan’s opening to the outside world. How would anyone know what was going on inside Bhutan if people were (and still are) discouraged to visit? Through some of the most unusual postage stamps ever issued. Because Bhutan’s stamps were so interesting, the Revenue “earned from the sale of stamps helped fund a programme of development including new roads, schools and hospitals”.
The King of Bhutan wasn’t satisfied with a dinky paper stamp. Instead, he lead Bhutan to pioneer 3-D stamps, steel foil stamps, silk stamps, scented stamps, and, even, talking stamps. Talking stamps were issued by the government in 1973 and became the sort of brand ambassadors for the country. The self-adhesive stamps could play a snippet of Bhutanese culture at 33RPM on any common record player. In 2006, Bhutan took it a step further with the world’s first CD-ROM postage stamps.
After knowing this, will paper stamps still tickle your fancy?