The “Smilers” sheet was first introduced in Great Britain in May 2000 at the International Stamp Show 2000. The design of a set of Royal Mail Greetings stamps, first issued in 1990, was made available in sheet format (A4 paper size) with a label attached to each stamp.
Customers could go into a photograph booth at the stamp show and have their picture taken, which was then printed on the labels alongside each stamp. The name “Smilers” was adopted to reflect that the sheets were designed to be used as celebrations of happy events.
Royal Mail recognised that collectors would also want these stamps, but not necessarily with their own photographs, thus generic versions of the same stamp sheet came into being. Royal Mail created designs which were printed alongside the stamps (in place of the ‘personalised’ photos) and added an illustrated border. These stamp sheets are still marketed by Royal Mail under the general name of Smilers. Since that first sheet in the year 2000 many issues have followed.
Royal Mail further developed the concept by providing a sheet which could be used by businesses or organisations to promote their companies or celebrate anniversaries and events. In December 2002 the first Customised Stamp Sheet was printed. Some are produced in remarkably low numbers.
However, Australia was the first country to issue stamps with personalised tabs – at the Australia ’99 Stamp Show in Melbourne. Below are two recent examples of personalized stamps from Australia.
There are many philatelists collecting Smilers and Personalised Stamps and as early examples were produced in relatively small amounts, some command quite high prices.
To whom do the smiles belong?
The first 10 PostBeeld account holders to answer the above question, regarding the Stamp Show 2000 Smiler sheet, will receive 10% discount on their next PostBeeld order. Just email your answers to email@example.com