The world’s first self-adhesives stamps

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The world’s first ever self-adhesive stamps were issued by Sierra Leone on February 10, 1964, and they came in the shape of a map of the African country.

The stamps were printed in the UK by Walsall, and a special aqueous-based acrylic adhesive was developed as it was felt that a solvent-based adhesive might have a tendency to migrate through and bleed around the edges of the face paper .

The stamps were printed in litho and by relief stamping – the latter process giving the effect of recess printing. They were precision die-cut but this cutting didn’t extend into the backing paper or its silicone coating.

Three months after the stamps were first launched a second, very similar, issue was released to commemorate the assassinated US President John F. Kennedy. In conjunction with this a small presentation folder was issued to publicise the issues.

It wasn’t until 1969 that another country issued self-adhesives when the Pacific island of Tonga followed suit with unconventionally shaped self-adhesives in the shape of bananas.