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Hidden Messages on Postage Stamps

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Stamps are intended as payment for sending a letter containing a message, in any language to anyone.  But the way of affixing the stamp to the cover can also have a specific meaning in itself that might express a "Hidden Message" intended only for the recipient, regardless of the letter's content.  In the early days of postage stamps, Danish citizens invented such a hidden language, which has been beautifully "summarized" on the below postcard, and which may serve as some sort of dictionary for understanding.  

The Danish term "Frimærkesprog" means " Stamp Language". The postcard shows the Danish coat of arms on a grey background, decorated with 11 early (printed) Danish stamps affixed in such a way that they each show their own message to the recipient.  The stamps have nothing to do with current postage rates for that time; they serve only to show how to communicate the hidden message.  

First row:  
Green 5-ore stamp:  
Forget-me-not.
Red 10-ore stamp:  
Please respond soonest.
Violet 15-ore stamp:  
Where do we meet? 

 

Second row:
Dark-blue 4-ore stamp:  
Arriving soon! 
Red 2-ore stamp:  
Meet me as usual! 
Sepia 25-ore stamp: 
 Kissing you! 
Dark-blue 20-ore stamp:  
Write to me soon!  
Third row:
Grey 3-ore stamp:  
I love you! 
Orange 1-ore stamp: 
Do you still love me!? 
Yellow-brown 100-ore stamp:  
With Love. 
Brown-violet 50-ore-stamp:  
Have you forgotten me!?

The stamps used for this hidden language indicate that it must have been in use right before WWI, and then forgotten. For collectors' interest the displayed stamps are shown below in order of appearance from my own collection.  For the convenience of Danish collectors I have mentioned the Danish catalogue numbers.  

  • Denmark 1905.  Scott # 70.  AFA 54.

  • Denmark 1905.  Scott # 65.  AFA 55.

  • Denmark 1905.  Scott # 63.  AFA 46.

  • Denmark 1905.  Scott # 60. AFA 45.

  • Denmark 1905.  Scott # 58. AFA 43.

  • Denmark 1907.  Scott # 75. AFA 57.

  • Denmark 1907.  Scott # 74. AFA 56.

  • Denmark 1905. Scott # 59. AFA 44.

  • Denmark 1905. Scott # 57. AFA 42. 

  • Denmark 1905. Scott # 69. AFA 51.

  • Denmark 1905. Scott # 68. AFA 50.

I wonder whether other countries have developed a similar "language" related to postage stamps and would welcome any information about this subject.  

Sources and links: 


Revised 02 nov 2006 
Copyright © by Ann Mette Heindorff
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