Hello, I am the designer Megumi Saito. This is part 3 of my posts about my hobby, and you can read the previous posts here (part 1) and here (part 2). Today I’d like to talk about country names.

When you look closely at the stamps we have in Japan today, their face values and “NIPPON” are always be printed on them.

The reason for this was the adoption in 1966 of the rule of the Universal Postal Union, a group that presides over postal rules worldwide, of showing the country or region name in Roman alphabet letters. Thus, all countries and regions have their names on their stamps.

▼From left to right: stamps from France, Cuba, New Zealand


However, there is only one country which does not have its name on its stamps. This is it.


I think many of you know which country this stamp is from.

The lady on the upper right is Queen Elizabeth. That’s right, this is a stamp from Britain.

The reason why Britain does not have its name on its stamps is that it was the first country in the world to issue stamps. The first modern postal system began in Britain in 1840. Other countries did not have stamps, so there was no need for Britain to have its name on its stamps. As a sign of respect for being the country where the postal system began, it is acceptable for having just the Queen’s face on their stamps, and not the country name. From this, you can tell what the policies of the Union are toward the British postal system.



In this way, you feel a sense of stateliness and tradition in British stamps. Having just a picture may make it difficult to tell what country a stamp is from, but I think that the paper used in British stamps is thick, and many of its designs feel extravagant.

Just one element of having or not having the country name on a stamp greatly changes one’s impression of that country compared to others.

There are many stamps that look “proper” but there are also novel ones.


This is a lenticular Thunderbird stamp.

It’s a small stamp, but it’s amazing how far stamps have come. I come across stamps like this from time to time, so this is why it’s so hard for me to stop collecting stamps.

▼Back issues about Megrim Saito.
My Hobby (Part 2)
My Hobby

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