Many of you might not remember we used to have polls on the site, a looooong time ago. The last time we ran a poll on Postcrossing was back in 2011… and we seem to have forgotten all about them. Paulo stumbled on the code for polls recently and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it still works! So we decided to run a poll about something that has been intriguing us for a while: people’s preferences on the stamp types and how they adhere to postcards. Are self-adhesive stamps (that you peel off a sheet) better than stamps on gummed paper (that you lick)? Does it even matter?
But first, a bit of postal history: can you name the first stamp ever made? And who was its creator?
If your answer was Penny Black and Sir Rowland Hill, you’d be correct on all counts! In its 1837 pamphlet, Sir Rowland Hill called for “low and uniform rates” according to weight (rather than distance) and proposed the concept of stamps: a piece of paper “covered at the back with a glutinous wash”. The first gums were called cement and consisted of a mixture of potato starch, wheat starch and acacia gum. The idea “stuck”, and quickly spread from the UK to the rest of the world.
In 1964, 124 years after the release of the Penny Black, the first self-adhesive stamp was created by an unlikely country… Sierra Leone! That’s right — this African nation was the first one to give it a try, followed by a Christmas stamp from the USA ten years later… and many other countries after that.
If you’re curious to learn more about these themes, check out the Wikipedia page for Postage Stamp gum.
So back to our poll — 8495 postcrossers responded to it over the past week, and these were the results:
Looks like things are more or less evenly divided! Though a large number of postcrossers doesn’t seem to have a preference, from those that do prefer a type of stamps, the choice of the majority seems to be self-adhesive stamps. That surprised me, as I expected postal lovers to prefer the traditional ones… but I can definitely understand that licking might not be for everyone and adhesive stamps can be more practical.
What about you? Which camp are you on, and why?
And last but not least, running a poll was fun! If you have ideas of other interesting polls that we could make, please share them in the comments. We’ll try not to let another 6 years go by until we run the next poll! 😅