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Hidden Messages


If you think this is just a normal picture of a red fox you are mistaken. There is more to the image than that seen at first glance. Over the years the United States Postal Service has issued more than 40 stamps containing hidden words/images that require a specially-produced ‘Stamp Decoder’ to see what is not clearly visible on the stamps.

When the stamp at the top of the article is viewed using the decoder “RED FOX” can be seen on the branch at the bottom of the design and “USPS” on the broken end of the tree on the right side.  There is also a hidden image on the fox’s hindquarter.

The stamp decoder is an optical lens manufactured for viewing hidden images and symbols on particular American stamps. Each decoder lens comprises thousands of tiny elongated lenses (lenticules).

U.S.A. 1997

Here we have a set of stamps featuring classic old horror films and the actors who played the leading roles. From the left: Lon Chaney, as The Phantom of the Opera (1925), the hidden image – 2 opera masks; Bella Lugosi as Dracula (1931), hidden image – 3 bats; Boris Karloff, Frankenstein (1931), hidden image – 3 lightning bolts; Boris Karloff as the Mummy (1932), hidden image – 2 Egyptian deities. Lon Chaney Junior as The Wolfman (1941), hidden image – 2 howling wolves.

U.S.A. 2003

It’s possible that some collectors of lighthouse stamps are not aware that these stamps issued by the United States of America in 2003 have a hidden image. In the clouds on each stamp can be found the year in which the lighthouses were constructed (or originally built on the same site before being reconstructed). From the left we have the Tybee Island lighthouse, Georgia (1867), Hillsboro Inlet, Florida (1907), Old Cape Henry, Virginia (1792), Cape Lookout, North Carolina (1859) and Morris Island, South Carolina (1876).

The Netherlands 2006

In 2006 The Netherlands issued a miniature sheet with a set of stamps featuring animals from Blijdorp Zoo, Rotterdam.  Each stamp has a hidden image which can be viewed using the special decoder lens which was issued with a Zoo Animals stamp booklet.


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