Sign, Seal, Deliver, Scratch, Sniff

two penny blue stamps AP

Greetings America. Ours is a proud nation, one that has put its stamp on history. Literally. Britain is not only the country that invented television, soccer and the English language. We also invented the postage stamp.

Back in 1840, we Brits came up with the idea of paying to have our letters delivered by means of sticking a little square of paper with perforated edges in the top right hand corner of the envelope. The way we did it then is the way the world does it still. And the good news is that, when it comes to stamps, Britain is still at the cutting edge. Our Royal Mail has just announced that it is about to launch the world’s first full set of SCRATCH AND SNIFF postage stamps. The stamps, to make their debut in October, will contain ink impregnated with thousands of tiny gelatin micro-capsules filled with scented liquid. Scratching breaks the micro-capsules and releases the aroma. There was much debate in philately circles as to what smell the new stamps should feature. When the Swiss experimented with a smelling stamp last year, they opted for chocolate. They said chocolate was the natural odor of Switzerland. Apparently the Swiss were planning a one-off follow-up stamp this year smelling of cheese, but in Britain we’ve beaten them to it with our comprehensive range of stamps at all prices with a quality fragrance that is said to induce calm and foster well-being: the scent of eucalyptus.

The new British stamps will mark the centenary of the Nobel Prize, and salute an assortment of British winners. One celebrates the Anglo-American poet T.S. Eliot who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948 -- it is the world’s first postage stamp to feature the entire text of a sixty-line poem in a typeface one 300th of an inch high. The poem is one of T. S. Eliot’s famous verses about CATS, but, after much debate, the Royal Mail have decided they are NOT going to have it smelling of cat as well.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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