Rare and Innovative Stamps

Rare and Innovative Stamps

With the introduction of modern postal services in the country, Bhutan issued its first regular postage stamps of seven denominations in four designs on 10th October 1962 which were valid for both domestic and international use.

Since then, Bhutan has issued more than 400 issues of stamps.  The stamps not only featured the Kingdom’s rich cultural heritage, beautiful flora and fauna but also a wide range of international themes on sports, historical events and endangered animals and birds. Indeed the stamps of Bhutan have also served small ambassadors of the Kingdom and emblems of good will.

Bhutan’s stamps have become very popular in the international philately market since 1970s with the issue of 3-Dimensional stamps,exquisite silk stamps (Thangka), and a unique circular grooved stamp (Talking Stamps) that played the Kingdom’s national anthem and folk songs on a record player. Consequently, the demand for Bhutan’s postage stamps has increased rapidly over the past years and the revenue generation from sale of stamps has also made a considerable contribution to the nation’s economic development. Bhutan has tried to make its pristine environment and exotic cultural heritage known to the world through its postage stamps. Today we can see all these rare stamps, only in the postal museum.

First Definitive


Bhutans issued its first set of stamps to use for international postage on 10 October 1962 in seven different denominations. The isue featured life and tradition including the first King of Bhutan next to a map of the country, a yak, a Bhutanese archer representing Bhutan’s national sports , and a postal runner braving long trails and high passes to deliver the mail.

5399537The Bhutanese are fimiliar with iron industry from early times. They are good artificers in iron-work and the swords and daggers they produce show remarkable qualities of workmanship. The sword-blades are of excellent manufacture and finish and almost look as though they had been silvered. With the heritage of high-quality worksmanship and good resources of iron ore, limestone and dolomite, Bhutan an emerging nation is naturally interested in steel.

On 2nd June 1969, Bhutan bissued 12 value stamps printed on hair-thin 0.001 inch steel foil to commemorate and emphasize the importance of steel industry.It is the first of its kind in the 129 years of world’s postage stamp and depicts scenes highlighting steel making over a 5,000 year history

5399537“The flight of Appollo-11 brought to us a renewed realization of what we, as members of the human race, can accomplish on this planet with our resources and technology, if we are prepared to combine our efforts and work together for the benefit of mankind”.
                                                               –  U. Thant, Secretary General of United Nations

 Astronaut Space Capsule:  Bhutan issued the world’s first 3D stamps on 30th October 1967 with 12 value and 4 value miniature sheets in acknowledgement of man’s conquest of space.  

Historic Moon LandingsOn 20th July 1969, Bhutan issued 3-D stamps which celebrates the epic adventure of Apollo-11 and its crew.  The unattainable was attained and two men Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin as they became the first human beings to walk the sands of another celestial body.

Man’s Conquest of Space:  On 20th March 1970, Bhutan issued a set of 4 value stamps and one 4 value miniature sheet celebrating Man’s Conquest of Space.

Apollo XVI: On 1st September 1972, Bhutan issued a set of 8 Value stamps and 2 miniature sheets on Apollo – 11 type of 1969, Apollo XVI.

These were followed by 3-D stamps on various themes such as butterflies, insects, mask dances etc…..


Bhutan issued the world’s first 100% plastic stamps in on 27 February 1971 known as Bas-Relief stamps depicting ‘History of Sculpture’. The process originated in Italy and took 5 years to develop. The stamps have a sculptural effect, giving the subject matter depth and dimension. They are single trimmed and 1 printed by a four colour lithography method. The individual stamps are placed in pressure heat mold and pressed into small reproductions of sculptures.This was followed by Bas-Relief stamps depicting ‘Famous Men’ in 1971.


The stamps on “HISTORY OF SCULPTURE” include following:

Bass Relief

  • 10 CH, Funerary mask Tutankhamun
  • 75 CH, the Winged Bull, Mesopotamian Period
  • Nu. 1.25, Head of Zeus, Grecian Period
  • Nu. 2, Lupa Papitolina, Early Roman Period
  • Nu. 3, Heaad of Cicero, Roman Period
  • Nu. 4 , Head of David, Renaissancesculpture
  • Nu 5, Age of Bronze,  Rodin 20thCentury
  • Nu. 6 , Head of a Woman by Modigliani, Modern Period



Stamps on “FAMOUS MEN” include following:

Bass Relief

  • Nu. 2, Charles de Gaulle, former President of France
  • 35 CH, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill , Former British Prime Minister
  • Nu. 6, Pope John XVIII , Pope and ruler of the Papal states
  • Nu. 8, Dwight D. Eisenhower , 34thU.S. President “Plans are
  • 15 CH, Mahatma Ghandhi , Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule.
  • 10 CH, John F Kennedy, 35thU.S. President


Record Stamps of Bhutan

On 15 April 1973, Bhutan issued the world’s first talking-stamps. The stamps are in a set of seven miniatures, one-sided, 33 1⁄3 rpm vinyl records playable on a standard turntable. The postal values of the stamps ranged from 10 chetrum to 9 ngultrum. The set consisted of a yellow on red design containing capsule history of Bhutan in Dzongkha, a gold on green with the national anthem, a silver on blue with the history of Bhutan narrated by Todd in English, a silver on purple featuring a folk song, a silver on black with second folk song, a red on white with a third, and a black on yellow containing the English-language history and two of the folk songs.

You could peel off the backing paper and stick them on an envelope or postcard. Content includes Bhutanese folk songs and histories of the country in English and Dzongkha, the local language.

What is on the Bhutanese phonograph record stamps

·         10 CH : yellow text on red record (69 mm) and plays Bhutan history

·         25 CH: gold on green (69 mm) and plays the National anthem

·         Nu. 1.25 : silver on blue (69 mm) and plays the Bhutan history (in English)

·         Nu. 3  : silver on purple (100 mm) Airmail stamp and plays the Bhutan history (in Bhutanese) and folk song #1

·         Nu.7 :silver on black (69 mm) and plays  Folk song #1

·         Nu. 8 : red on white (69 mm) and plays  Folk song #2

·         Nu. 9 : black on yellow (100 mm) Airmail stamp and plays Bhutan history (in English), folk song #1, and folk song #2