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Singapore 1998 "Dinosaurs - animals that once ruled the Earth"

Issue Date 22.04.1998
ID Michel:874-876, Scott: 831-833, Stanley Gibbons: 916-918, Yvert: 846-848. Category: pR
Author Designer: Nicodemus Loh, Graphic designer: Elsie Koh
Stamps in set 3 (self-adhesive ATM)
Value No value indicator, for local post only (22c)
Motives x3:
Size (width x height) 24.67mm x 31.2mm
Sheet (self-adhesive) size: 74mm x 156mm, 0.13mm thin
Layout 15 stamps per sheet
Products FDC x 1, MS x1
Paper Unwatermarked
Perforation Die-Cut (imperforated)
Print Technique Rotogravure
Printed by Avery Dennison
Quantity 7,500,000
Issuing Authority Singapore Post
Dinosaurs on stamps of Singapore 1998

On April 22nd, 1998, the Post of Singapore issued three self-adhesive stamps depicting dinosaurs.
These stamps, without face values, were valid for local mail (as inscribed on the top side of every stamp) up to 20gr. or for part payment for postage on heavier items.
These stamps should not be used on overseas mail. It seems, however, after several years, the rule was recalled - see some cover examples with these stamps sent to Germany in 2012.
The receipt of Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation
The receipt of Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation.

At the beginning, the sheet of 15 stamps was sold by Singapore Post's philatelic bureaus as well as via OCBC (Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation) ATMs.
The sheet was designed with exactly the same dimensions as the currency note of SGD 50 (156mm x 74mm x 0.13mms), so that they can be issued through the same aperture. (New notes with a different dimensions were issued in 1999).
These stamps are the thinnest stamps related to Paleontology.
Later on the sale through ATM machine was abandoned, due to frequent jamming of these sheetlets and the stamps were offered to collectors in the philatelic bureau only.
Within that period, two different designs of the reverse side of the sheet were issued (the brown one is less common).

The First Day Cover (FDC) was on sale at selected Singapore Post's philatelic bureaus only, since the date of the stamps issue.

Dinosaurs are probably the best-known prehistoric life. [Note]
Their dynasty started 230 million years ago, in the Mesozoic Era, from the Late Triassic until the end of Cretaceous, a total of 165 million years.

Two groups of dinosaurs existed, the Saurischian (or lizard-hipped dinosaurs) and the Ornithischian (or bird-hipped dinosaurs) and they can be plant or meat-eaters.
Many myths and legends have been told about the dinosaurs. Some are based on facts, others no more than guess work.
The three dinosaurs featured here are from different family groups and lived in different periods.
Fossil findings shows that all existed in North America during the Mesozoic.
Pentaceratops dinosaur on stamp of Singapore 1998 Apatosaurus dinosaur on stamp of Singapore 1998 Albertosuurus dinosaur on stamp of Singapore 1998
The Pentaceratops ("five horned face") belongs to the family of Ceratopsidae.
They looked like the rhinoceros and were plant-eaters with huge heads, bulky bodies and heavy limbs and hooflike claws.
Most had two long brow horns and a short nose horn or vice versa.
It is believed that Ceratopsians roamed in herds browsing on low-growing vegetation.
The four-legged dinosaur existed in the Late Cretaceous period and could grow to 6m long.
The Apatosaurus ("deceptive lizard"), was from the family of Diplodocidae.
The Diplodocids stood highest at the hips, bearing weight upon their elephantine limbs with short broad "hands" and feet.
The Apatosaurus were plant-eaters which existed in the Late Jurassic period and were very large with long whiplash tail and long neck.
It was one of the longest dinosaurs with small heads, sloping with eyes far back and peg-like teeth only at the front of the jaws for cutting soft leaves.
It was huge and could grow up to 21m long, 4.5m high at the shoulder and weighed more than 20,000 kg.
The Albertosuurus ("Alberta lizards") was related to the Tyrannosaurus (or T-rex) featured in the movies.
It came from the family of Tyrannosauridae (tyrant lizards) which had a huge head, with semi-forwarding facing eyes in some long, curved and, saw-edged fangs in jaws big enough to swallow animals as big as humans.
They were fierce predatory animal that ran fast and they would lunge with their heads to take "scoop bites" from their victim's bodies.
Albertosuurus existed in the Late Cretaceous period and could grow up to 8m long and probably weighed over 2,000 kg.

Note: The text above was provided on a leaflet inside official FDC.
According to todays knowledge, some statements above might be obsolete.

For example:
  • Technically, the dynasty hasn’t ended yet. Nowadays, paleontologists assign birds to Avian dinosaurs, the prehistoric dinosaurs called Non-avian dinosaurs in recent scientific books and articles.
  • The Ornithischian dinosaurs are thought to only be herbivores (plant-eaters).
    The Theoropods were mostly carnivores – but there are a few interesting groups from the Cretaceous that may have been omnivores or herbivores.
    The Saurischians were mixed. Some of the early prosauropods were likely omnivores and a few have even been interpreted as carnivores. Their larger relatives – the apatosaurus/brachiosaurus, etc. were definitely herbivores. The Theoropods were mostly carnivores – but there are a few interesting groups from the Cretaceous that may have been omnivores or herbivores.

Products and associated philatelic items

Mini Sheet (the MS is available with two different back sides, the brown one is less common.) FDC (Inside text is here)
Mini Sheet with Dinosaurs of Singapore 1998 Back side of Mini Sheet with Dinosaurs of Singapore 1998 Dinosaurs on FDC of Singapore 1998
Used covers
Dinosaur stamps of Singapore from 1998 on a letter to Germany Dinosaur stamps of Singapore from 1998 on a letter to Germany

References: Leaflet of official FDC, personal communication with some philatelist from Singapore.

  • Many thanks to fellow stamp collectors Ai Lyn Lim and Eddie Yong from Singapore, for their help finding information about these stamps.
  • Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.

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