History in Miniature: The 150th Anniversary of Stamp Issuance in Hong Kong
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Design and Printing of Stamps

During the colonial period, Hong Kong had to obtain the approval of the British government for the design and printing of its stamps. What’s more, Hong Kong’s stamps were always commissioned from the same security printer, which resulted in the uniform design featuring the portrait of the British sovereign. It was not until 1941, when the Hong Kong government issued stamps to commemorate the centenary of British sovereignty that local elements first featured in stamp designs.

Hong Kong stamps were printed outside Britain for the first time in the latter part of the twentieth century. Although the design work continued occasionally to be undertaken by the printer, it was now more common for this commission to be awarded to artists and professional designers. With more and more Hong Kong people participating in the design of the territory’s stamps, colonial features were gradually faded out. Today, the Hongkong Post invites local designers to submit proposals and organises stamp design competitions, thus pursuing the initiative to come up with even more innovative designs.

Because a monetary value is attached to stamps, they have to be printed with security features. In earlier times, only a stamp’s watermark, perforation holes and adhesive on the back could be used to identify counterfeits. Thanks to the advances in technology, Hong Kong stamps are today printed with fluorescent ink on paper with security fibres and also with phosphor tagging techniques to protect against counterfeiting. The printing technology used for stamps has also advanced over time, as modern gold foil stamping, embossing and stochastic techniques bear witness.


  • Souvenir cover (1)

  • Souvenir cover (2)