Milestones of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology related Philatelic items.

Paleophilatelie (Paleophilately) is branch of Philately dedicated to collection of Philatelic items related to Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

"Paleontology, also spelled Palaeontology, scientific study of life of the geologic past that involves the analysis of plant and animal fossils, including those of microscopic size, preserved in rocks. It is concerned with all aspects of the biology of ancient life forms: their shape and structure, evolutionary patterns, taxonomic relationships with each other and with modern living species, geographic distribution, and interrelationships with the environment. Paleontology is mutually interdependent with stratigraphy and historical geology because fossils constitute a major means by which sedimentary strata are identified and correlated with one another. Its methods of investigation include that of biometry (statistical analysis applied to biology), which is designed to provide a description of the forms of organisms statistically and the expression of taxonomic relationships quantitatively."


Paleoanthropology, also spelled Palaeoanthropology, also called Human Paleontology, interdisciplinary branch of anthropology concerned with the origins and development of early humans. Fossils are assessed by the techniques of physical anthropology, comparative anatomy, and the theory of evolution."


Do you know when and which country issued the first dinosaur stamp ?
Do you know who was the first paleontologist honored on a stamp ?
These, and other interesting facts can be found throughout this article.

The first stamps issued in the mid-19th century have boring designs. They were rectangular or square in shape, depicting the leader of the country: king, queen, president, or had just a face value. Even though people around the world began collecting stamps almost immediately. The first philatelists tried to find production differences between stamps of the same design—color or paper variations, difference in perforation, some errors on images, etc.
It took over 30 years until the first commemorative stamp was issued. In 1871, Peru issued a stamp showing a locomotive. Shortly after, many other postal authorities began issuing stamps dedicated to important events, local and worldwide famous places, landscapes, famous persons of the county, etc. Nowadays postage stamps are not only evidence of postal payment, but also ambassadors of the country. They tell us a story of the issuing country, shows us famous persons, landscapes and scenic sights, cultural and sporting events, and local flora and fauna.
The fossilized remains of prehistoric animals, especially large ones, such as dinosaurs or giant mammals, have always stirred the imagination of people, creating all sorts of myths and legends about Dragons, Cyclops, and ancient Giants. The well-preserved remains of the ancient inhabitants of the earth have very great scientific and material value. Some of them even have the status of national treasure.

Here is the list of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology related Philatelic milestones:

1922 USA, First postal stationery with prehistoric animals
This is, very likely, the very first philatelic item related to Paleontology.
prehistoric animals on postal stationery of Torrance Lime & Fertiliser Company
The postl stationery from collection of Dr. Jon Noad from Calgary Canada

2c prepaid envelope from the USA, produced by the Torrance Lime & Fertiliser Company, from Lomita city in California, which shows some prehistoric animals and Neanderthals. [The next Paleontology related post stationery issued in Poland almost 50 years after, with fossil of ammonite on imprinted stamp.] The image on the cover based on several earlier illustrations and reconstructions:
Neanderthal of Chicago's Field Museum diorama prehistoric animals on illustration of History of Land Mammals in the Western Hemisphere book of Robert BERRYMAN Scoot
Neanderthal man as imagined in Chicago's Field Museum diorama circa 1920.

Drawing by Robert Bruce HORSFALL for “A History of Land Mammals in the Western Hemisphere“, by Robert BERRYMAN Scoot, 1913, shows a saber-toothed cat (Smilodon californicus) and a dire wolf (Canis dirus) fighting over a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) carcass in the La Brea Tar Pits.

The La Brea tar pits is very famous because of the huge range of fossils, especially of predators like Smilodon.
By the way, Sabre tooth cat (Smilodon) is the heraldic animal of California and it designated as the official state fossil in 1973.

dinosaur on postal stationery of Torrance Lime & Fertiliser Company shell on logo of Torrance Lime & Fertiliser Company There is also a tetrapod dinosaur in the background, who lived much earlier as Smilodon and Neanderthal, and some marine shells on the foreground and as also part of the logo of the companyy.
The company used fossils of prehistoric animals to make their fertilizer. [A fertilizer is any material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is applied to soils or to plant tissues to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.]
Very strange use of fossils in today's point of view.

Ads of Torrance Lime & Fertiliser Company

P.S. Many thanks to fellow collectors Peter Brandhuber from Germany and John Noad from Canada for their help finding information about the post stationery and some scans from their collections.

Dinosaur on postcard of Germany 1912The only earlier item that can be consider is a post card from Germany (Postcards without imprinted stamps are not subject of philately, but Deltiology).
Dinosaur, perhaps Plateosaurus, shown on its illustration and some Ad text underneath. The issue date of the postcard from Germany is unknown, sent in 1912 from Solingen.
Plateosaurus lived during the Late Triassic period, around 214 to 204 million years ago, in what is now Central and Northern Europe.
Discovered in 1834 by Johann Friedrich Engelhardt and described three years later by Hermann von Meyer, Plateosaurus was the fifth named dinosaur genus that is still considered valid. Although it had been described before Richard Owen formally named Dinosauria in 1842, it was not one of the three genera used by Owen to define the group, because at the time, it was poorly known and difficult to identify as a dinosaur. It is now among the dinosaurs best known to science: over 100 skeletons have been found, some of them nearly complete. The abundance of its fossils in Swabia, Germany, has led to the nickname Schwäbischer Lindwurm (Swabian lindworm). More info is on Wikipedia.

193x USA, First meter franking with dinosaur

first meter farnking with dinosaursFrom the nineteen thirties until the fifties, the Sinclair Oil Company used this meter franking, as well as regular advertisements to advertise their motor oil.
Dinosaur became so popular in USA that Sinclair registered him as a trademark in 1932. The corporation's logo features the silhouette of a large green Sauropod dinosaur - Brontosaurus, based on the then-common idea that oil deposits beneath the earth came from the dead bodies of dinosaurs.

The corporation even sponsored dinosaurs excavation by famous American paleontologist Barnum Brown, who dug for dinosaur bones in summer 1934 at the Morrison formation at the place called now Howe Quarry.
This Brown's expedition was big success. More than 20 skeletons and 4.000 bones excavate there. One of the unearthed dinosaurs was Diplodocus - another long neck dinosaur, who had similar shape as Brontosaurus, but smaller in size.

This Brontosaurus of Sinclair Oil is commonly known as DINO.
A life-size DINO appeared in the “Century of Progress” Chicago World’s Fair in 1933-1934, along with several other dinosaurs built by P.G. Alen, who was known for creating lifelike papier-mâché animals for motion pictures.

Following the Chicago World’s Fair, in 1935 the company began published dinosaur stamps like labels – and a stamp album that could be filled only with colored dinosaur "stamps" issued one at a time weekly at Sinclair service stations.
This kind of "stamps" known as Cinderella in philatelic community and are the first Cinderella set of stamps depicting prehistoric animals ever.

These were intended for children. In each program when you went to a Sinclair station on week one you would be given a stamp album. Then on each 8 following week you would be given a new sheetlet of stamps. The books had some advertising material but mostly contained scientific and historical information to explain the dinosaurs and petroleum to children.

1946 USA, First FDCs (First Day Cover) with a dinosaur and prehistoric animal illustration

On 10.08.1946, the U.S. Post Office Department issued a stamp to celebrate the centenary (100 anniversary) of the Smithsonian Institution.
The stamp itself shows the Smithsonian's buildings in Washington (Actually this stamp itself can be consider as a stamp of paleontologic thematic as the Institute has very large Paleobiology Department). Several FDC with the Smithsonian stamp shows some Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on its illustrations. first FDC (First Day Cover) with dinosaurs on it
As illustration on the left side of the first FDC shows a sauropod, most likely a Diplodocus. Stegosaurs and Morophus (prehistoric mammal) shown on others.
Note: all these FDCs are personalized (made by some dealers or individuals). US Post doesn't produce any FDC and don't make any commemorative postmarks associated with their stamps.
On February 7, 1996 the U.S. Post Office Department issued a stamp to celebrate the 150 anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution. Similar to 1946, some dinosaurs can be seen on illustration of FDC covers. Here is one of them, shows Tyrannosaurus on it.

1947, 1951 USSR, First Paleontologist on stamps

Sometimes it is difficult to identify paleontologists on stamps, because they are shown on neutral background, or just a portrait. On other side, not every personality shown on stamps with fossil or prehistoric animal on the background is paleontologist.

first paleontologist on stamps paleontologist W.O. Kovalevskij on stamp of USSR 1951

The first stamp (known to me) shows a paleontologist has been issued in USSR on January 17, 1947. Actually it is a set of two stamps 30 kopejka(100 kopejka = 1 rubel), green and 50 kopejka sepia. These stamps are show a portrait of A.P. Karpinskij (1847-1936), who is most known as First elected president of Russian Science Academic. However, he was also great geologist and paleontologist, who made some important discovers at Ural mountains area of Russia.
Note: there are nothing on the stamp that indicate on Paleontology

On 3 March 1952, Soviet Union issues a stamp titled "Greatest Russian scientist biologist-paleontologist: W.O. Kovalevskij" with a face value of 40 kopejka and this is actually the first stamp dedicated to paleontologist.

Vladimir Onufreivich Kowalewskij (1784-1856) Russian paleontologist and supporter of Darwinism. He was the one who assumed horses are appeared first in Europe continent then migrate to North America, then come back to Europe. Evidence of this theorie found more then 100 years after his suicide due to some trouble in private and commercial life in Grube Messel by Darmstadt, Germany. Very little prehistoric horse in size of a big dog was found there and depicting on stamp of BRD in 1978.

Grigores Antipa with fossil of Dinotherium on stamp of Romania 1967The first stamp of scientists with a prehistoric animal fossil on a background has been issued in Romania on 29 July 1967, as part of set of famous Romanian people. The green stamp with a value of 40 bani shows Romanian biologist and director of Museum of Natural History Grigores Antipa (1867-1944). Some websites and even philatelic books and catalogs mentioned this stamp as the first stamp depicting paleontologist on. Actually, he was not a paleontologist at all - he was the zoologist, ichthyologist, economist, ecologist, oceanology, museologist. He founded the Romanian school of Hydrobiology, Ichthyology and Oceanology, was pioneer in the field of museology, the author of modern concepts in ecology, biosociologiei, biosphere.
As director of the Museum of Natural History in Bucharest, he had an important contribution to the organization on a phylogenetic and ecological collections. As a token of gratitude for his work in the museum since 1933, the museum now bears his name. The confusion is caused by fossil of Dinotherium giganteum depicting on a background of the stamp. It is there just because it is the most impressive exhibit of the museum.

Another category of persons to mention is "Contributors to Paleontological science"

People have found fossils since ancient times, but Paleontology as a science was established in the middle of the 19th century. The establishment was impossible without the help of scientists from many other sciences such as biology, botany, and geology. Many politicians and wealthy persons supported the young science.

Carl Linnaeus on stamp of Sweden 1939Charles Darwin on stamp of Ecuador 1936 Modern biology, botany, and of course paleontology classifies all animals and plants according a taxonomic system proposed by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707 - 1778) in the mid-18th century. The first stamp honoring Linnaeus was issued by Sweden on 2 June 1939.

The foundation of Paleontology is the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin (1809 -1882 ), who published his famous work, "On the Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", in 1859.

The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and much of the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s, and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, providing logical explanation for the diversity of life. In recognition of Darwin's pre-eminence, he was one of only five 19th-century UK non-royal personages to be honoured by a state funeral, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Darwin's work had far-reaching impacts on the development of Paleontology, Antropology and many other Biology and Psyology related scients.
There are many stamps of Darwin issued across the world to date. The very first stamp issued in Ecuador in 1936 (printed in 1935) to commemorate anniversary of his visit on Galapagos islands.

Thomas Jefferson on stamp of USA 1851 One of most notable contributors to establishment of Paleontology science in United States was the third US President Thomas Jefferson, who is shown on many American and international stamps. The first stamp of Thomas Jefferson issued in US in 1851.
Prince Albert I of Monaco on stamp 1891Jefferson is rightfully renowned as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Third President of the United States, and a champion of liberty. But he was also a central player in the beginnings of American paleontology. In addition, his participation occurred at a time when people were struggling with the ideas of fossils as evidence of past life, of extinction, and of an Earth far older than the Biblical account.
Some of the objects of Jefferson’s paleontology became part of the collections at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Beginning in 1849, these holdings were transferred to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, where they are currently housed. This is the Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection.

Prince Albert I of Monaco, who had a keen interest in the origins of man and who founded the Institute for Human Paleontology in Paris that was responsible for a number of archeological digs, depicting on many stamps of Monaco and some international posts, start on 1891 when his portrait appears on definitive stamps.

1949 Monaco, First stamp with cave painting, first stamp with paleontologic museum, first stamp with anthropologic museum

On 5 March 1949, the Monaco Post issued a set of 14 definitive stamps showing various areas of interest of Prince Albert I, who had a keen interest not only in fishing and sea/ocean explorer, but also in the origins of man and who founded the Institute for Human Paleontology in Paris that was responsible for a number of archeological digs.
Four stamps of the set can be consider as related Paleoanthropology topic:
  • Portrait of Prince Albert I
  • Aurochs drawing from the famous Lascaux cave
  • The buildings of the Institute for Human Paleontology in Paris (face value 25f)
  • The Musée d'Anthropologie Préhistorique in Monaco (face value 40f).
All stamps except the portrait of Prince Albert I, are the first stamps in their category.
Prince Albert I of Monaco on stamp 1949 prehistoric cave painting on stamp of Monaco 1949 Antropology museum on stamp of Monaco 1949
Human Paleontology museum on stamp of Monaco 1949

1951 India, First reconstruction of a prehistoric animal on stamp

first reconstruction of a prehistoric animal on stamp of India 1951 To commemorate the Indian Geological Survey centenary on 13 January 1951, India Post released a stamp showing two prehistoric “elephants” (Stegodon ganesa), the first ever reconstruction of a prehistoric animal on a stamp.

Stegodons were primarily an Asiatic group of Mammutidae. This family is believed to have evolved sometime by the middle Miocene, nearly 15 million years ago, and became extinct by the late Pleistocene about 30,000–40,000 years ago. Stegodons appear to be transitional between true mastodons on the one hand and true elephants on the other.

Dr. Darashaw Nosherwan Wadia on stamp of India 1984 Why are Stegodons depicting on stamps for the anniversary of the Indian Geological Survey?
In 1928, a three-meter long fossil tusk of an elephantine mammal (Stegodon ganesa) was discovered by Dr. Darashaw Nosherwan Wadia (1883–1969) who pursued his personal research on stratigraphy, structure, and paleontology of the Kashmir Himalayan region with single-minded devotion. Being a very keen observer, he worked towards identification of broad structural elements of the northwest Himalayas. The discovery of this skull, which was found in association with fossil ganoid fish and pteridospermous plants, led to the fixing of the age of an important geological rock formation in the Kashmir Himalayas to the Permo-Carboniferous period (355–250 million years ago). The fossil tusk is now kept at the museum of the Geology Department of the Jammu University.

Note: On March 4, 2001 another stamp was issued by the Department of Post, Government of India , to commemorate 150 anniversary of Indian Geological Survey, but this time geological motive has been choose, the four color stamp shows some minerals.

1952 Algeria, First fossil on a stamp

First fossil on a stamp of Algeria 1952XIX International Geological Congress on stamp and cover of Algeria 1952 In 1952, Algeria issued the first stamp showing a fossil.
In that year, the XIX International Geological Congress was held in Algeria. The host country issued two special stamps on August 11th to promote this event.

The ammonite fossil depicting on the 15-franc stamp is Berbericeras sikikensis. Ammonites are excellent index fossils, and it is often possible to link the rock layer in which they are found to specific geological time periods. Therefore, they appear on several philatelic items related to some geological events.

The second stamp, denominated 30fr, shows one of the most famous geological sites in the country—the Hoggar Mountains.


1955 USA First stamp with a bones, skeleton of prehistoric animal

First stamp with a bones and skeleton of prehistoric animal

mastodon bone on The Artist in His Museum picture mastodon bone on stamp of USA 1955 The Artist in His Museum The skeleton (bones) of a prehistoric animal appears for the first time on a stamp from the United States on 15 January 1955.
The stamp was issued in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The stamp pictures Charles Wilson Peale’s self-portrait, “The Artist in His Museum” (see on the right, the image is from Wikipedia) Many of the museum’s exhibits were collected by Peale, and he includes some of them in his painting. The stamp features several, like a wild turkey ready to be preserved as well as a great mastodon bone, in honor of one of Peale's greatest reconstruction of a mastodon’s skeleton.

1958 China, First stamp of Dinosaur

Lufengosaurus first stamp of Dinosaur
trilobite on stamp of China 1958
Megaloceros on stamp of China 1958

On 15 April 1958, the People’s Republic of China issued a set of three stamps titled, “Chinese Paleontology.”
The 8-fen stamp depicts fossil and reconstruction of Lufengosaurus.

Another two stamps, see on the right side, shows trilobite (Kaolishania pustulosa) of Haoli Mountain from Paleozoic and the Chinese giant deer (Megaloceros [=Sinomegaceros] pachyosteus) from Cenozoic.

Lufengosaurus, meaning Lufeng lizard, is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the early and middle Jurassic period of what is now southwestern China. It was named by Chinese Paleontologist by C. C. Young in 1941.
This is one of the few prosauropod dinosaurs to survive from the early Jurassic era.
Prosauropods, meaning “before the sauropods,” were small, herbivorous dinosaurs closely related to the giant sauropods of the late Jurassic period. This dinosaur became the first complete dinosaur skeleton to be mounted in China and displayed in Beijing.

Note: The FDC of this set is very rare, as it was issued in very small quantity.

1961 Switzerland, First fish and plant fossil on stamp

First fish and plant fossiel on stamps of Switzerland 1961 Fossil and Mineral stamps of Switzerland 1958-1961

Between 1958 and 1961 Swiss Post, in cooperation with Pro Patria organization, issued four semi-postal stamp sets showing some fossils and minerals from the collections of local museums.

Pro Patria is a Swiss patriotic and charitable organization. Its purpose is to give meaning to the Swiss national holiday, 1 August, by collecting donations to benefit social and cultural works of national public interest.
One of the methods the organization uses to collect donations is the issue of semi-postal stamps. The first stamp set was issued in 1938.

All sets contain five stamps: one stamp with a logo of the Pro Patria campaign and four stamps showing minerals and fossils. The additional amount paid for each sold stamp transferred to the organization. Actually, these are the first semi-postal stamps with a paleontological context ever issued.

The set from 1961, distinguished from others, contains two fossil stamps: a fish and a plant. Both are the first stamps in their category. The fish is very likely Scorpaena porcus and the fern plant is probably Asterotheca meriani. Asterotheca is a genus dating from the Permian period 299–252 MYA. It grew in humid and swampy locales and was one of the first plants on the earth.

Plant fossils are the subject of Paleobotany study. Paleobotany is the branch of paleontology dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments. It includes the evolutionary history of plants, with a bearing upon the evolution of life in general. Paleobotany is important in the reconstruction of ancient ecological systems and climate, known as paleoecology and paleoclimatology, respectively. It is also fundamental to the study of green plant development and evolution.

1965 Poland, First pictorial stamp sets depicting prehistoric animals

First pictorial stamps depicting prehistoric animals
Dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on stamps of San Marino 1965 Prehistoric animals on stamps of Romania 1966 Prehistoric animals on stamps of Bulgaria 1971
The first colorful, pictorial stamps depicting prehistoric animals were issued on 5 March 1965 by Polish Post who liked to popularize discoveries of the national paleontologists. The set of ten stamps show representations of prehistoric animals, mostly dinosaurs.

The designs are based on pictures by Zdenek Burian, a Czech painter and book illustrator,
whose work during a remarkable career spanning five decades, played a central role in the development of paleontological reconstructions.
Originally recognized only native Czechoslovakia, Burian’s fame later spread to an international audience, and a number of attempted emulate his style.
Burian is regarded by many as the most influential paleo-artist of the modern era. Many stamps issued around the world are based on his illustrations.

Only three months later the second pictorial set depicting prehistoric animals, also mostly dinosaurs issued in San Marino, similar to Polish stamps design of these stamps also based on pictures of Zdenek Burian.

In the following year Poland issues another stamps set with prehistoric animals from fish till mammoth that supposed to show animal evolution. The first stamps set dedicated to prehistoric mammals issued in the same year in Romania that shows reconstruction of the animals and their skeletons. The next stamps set of prehistoric mammals issued 5 years later only in Bulgaria.

1965 Tanzania , Fist stamp of human fossil

First stamp with prehistoric human fossil

Also in 1965, the first stamp with an early human fossil came from Tanzania, the “cradle of humankind.” On 9 December, Tanzania issued a set of 14 definitive stamps with some typical animals, landscapes, and some historical episodes to show development of the country.
The 1.30sh stamp shows a skull of Zinjanthropus and its excavation site at Olduvai Gorge valley. Zinjanthropus, later categorized as Paranthropus boisei, is an extinct hominid postulated from a skull discovered in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, by British paleoanthropologist, Mary Leakey on 17 July 1959. Perhaps she is even depicting on the stamp.
Mary Leakey on stamp of UK 2013

For much of her career, Mary Leakey (1913–1996) worked together with her husband, Louis Leakey (1903–1972), in Olduvai Gorge, uncovering the tools and fossils of ancient hominids. She developed a system for classifying the stone tools found at Olduvai. She also discovered the Laetoli footprints. It was there, at the Laetoli site, that she discovered hominid fossils that were more than 3.75 million-years-old. In addition, she discovered 15 new species of other animals, and one new genus.

In 1960, she became director of excavation at Olduvai and subsequently took it over, building her own staff. After the death of her husband, she became a leading paleoanthropologist, helping to establish the Leakey tradition in the field. Mary Leakey died on 9 December 1996, at the age of 83, a renowned paleoanthropologist, who had not only conducted significant research of her own, but had been invaluable to the research careers of her husband and their sons, Richard, Philip, and Jonathan

1967 Cuba, First pictorial stamps set of prehistoric human

First pictorial stamps depicting prehistoric human

On 31 March 1967, Post Authority of Cuba issued a set of seven stamps that were the first to show human evolution. Each stamp shows a skull stage of the human relevant and depicts major stage of human development known from worldwide fossil record.

The first two stamps show very early species: Homo habilis, who lived between roughly 2.8 to 1.5 MYA, and Australopithecus. From paleontological and archaeological evidence, the Australopithecus genus apparently evolved in eastern Africa around 4 MYA before spreading throughout the continent and eventually becoming extinct sometime after 2 MYA.

Pithecanthropus erectus and Sinanthropus pekinensis both belong to the Homo erectus group that lived between 1.9 MYA and 700,000 years ago. Pithecanthropus erectus is known from fossils found at the bank of the Solo River at Trinil, in East Java. Fossils of Sinanthropus pekinensis, also known as Peking Man, are found in China.

The Neanderthals, or Neandertals, are closely related to modern humans, differing in DNA by just 0.12 percent. Remains left by Neanderthals include bone and stone tools, which are found in Eurasia, from Western Europe to Central and Northern Asia as well as in North Africa. Neanderthals are generally classified by biologists as the species Homo neanderthalensis, but some considers them to be a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis).

The final Homo species shown on these stamps is the modern Homo sapiens. The 13c and 20c stamps show Cro-Magnon men. These are the first early modern humans that lived in Europe in the Upper Paleolithic period from 500,000 to 10,000 years ago. Current scientific literature prefers the term European early modern humans (EEMH). Fossils of this species are found in Italy, Britain, and even in Arctic regions.

All stamps of this set use illustrations by the famous Czech painter and book illustrator, Zdenek Burian, from a book titled Prehistoric Man, published in 1960.

1970 Lesotho First stamps with footprint of prehistoric animals

First stamps with dinosaur's footprint

On 5 January 1970, Lesotho issued a set of five stamps showing some footprints of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. "Dinosaurs and footprints at Moyeni" (1st serie, the 2nd serie issued in 1984 and shows footprint of another three dinosaurs).

Fossilized footprints of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles, dated of about 200 MYA (upper Triassic period), found at Moyeni in the Quthig district of Lesotho. Four of five stamps shows not only the footprint but also reconstruction of the animals moved at sand and sea shore.

Paleoichnology is the study of fossilized footprints. Scientists can learn many things from such tracks. They can give an idea about size of the animal and if it walked on two or four legs.
The distance between the footprints can indicate the speed and behavioral of the animal. Many sites have been found with numerous tracks giving information on the social behavior of the animals, whether they traveled in herds, pairs, or alone. In addition to all of this, scientists can learn the animal’s foot anatomy and foot padding.
Note: Even to date, almost 50 years after, there are very few stamps showing some footprints of prehistoric animals.

1970 Poland, First post stationary with imprinted fossil stamp

First postal stationery with fossiel illustration 50th anniversary of the Polish Geological institute on postal stationery of Poland with trilobite on commemorative postmark

On June 19th, 1970 Polish Postal Service issued a post card to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Polish Geological institute (face value 40gr., quantity 100.000). The building of the institute depicting on the left side of the card. The imprinted stamp shows an ammonite of genus Perisphinctes, from collection of the institute. The ammonite is about 30cm in size and can be founded in various location in Poland.

A trilobite of genus Marrolithus ornatus featured on a special post mark issued in Kielce. This blind trilobite is only 2 cm in size, probably borrowed in the mud of Ordovician sea floor(485-443 MYA).

1970 Angola, First Paleontology related stamps at diamond shape

First stamps at diamond shape with some fossils on it

Most stamps issued around the world have been rectangular or square shape. However, from time to time some post authorities produce stamps with other shapes.

On October 31 1970, Angola issued a set of definitive stamps with title "Geology, Mineralogy, Paleontology" shows some minerals and fossils found in the country. All 12 stamps of the set have diamond shape.

The six stamps that belong to Paleontology are:

0$50, Angolasaurus, skull and reconstruction, 2$00, Gondwanidium validum, 3$00, Stromatolites, 3$50, Procarcharodon megalodon tooth, 4$00, Microceratodus angolensis fossil, 6$00, Nostoceras helicinum, 10$00, Rotula orbiculus angolensis.

Angolasaurus is an extinct genus of plioplatecarpine mosasaur. Definite remains from this genus have been recovered from the Turonian of Angola and some other places around the world. First named in 1964 by Miguel Telles Antunes on the basis of a partial skull and skeleton, exactly as depicting on the stamp.
Another stamp to mention is 2$00, Gondwanidium validum - the first stamp of petrified plant.

1971 Manama, First Souvenir/Miniature sheet of prehistoric animal

Firt Souvenir Sheet of prehistoric animal in set of Manama 19971

The first miniature sheets (or souvenir sheets) were issued before World War II, usually with a surtax for raising funds for a charity rather than for sale to collector's. They became more of a collectors item with pictorial issues around 1970.
In 1971 Manama issued the first stamp set with miniature sheet with a prehistoric animal.

The set contains eight stamps showing various prehistoric animals, mostly dinosaurs, and a miniature sheet with a mammoth on a 10-riyal stamp along with some other prehistoric animals on the margin. The animal depicting on the stamp is a wooly mammoth (Elephas primigenius), a species that lived during the Pleistocene epoch from 2.588 million years ago (MYA) to 11,700 years ago, and was one of the last in the line of mammoth species.

From the 1960s until the end of the 1980s, some small Middle Eastern countries (called “Sand Dunes” by philatelists) produced stamps in huge quantities for every popular topic: space, sports, famous people, etc. These stamps were aimed at stamp collectors rather than postal use and usually were never available in the country of origin to actually use on letters as postage. One such set is from Fujeira (1968).
Prehistoric animals on stamps of Fujeira 1968

1980 State of Oman and, Dhufar, First unofficial/ illegal issue of stamps with prehistoric animals

First unofficial stamps of prehistoric animals issued in Oman 1980 First unofficial stamps of prehistoric animals issued in Dhufar 1980

In the nineteen seventies and -eighties, rebel groups attempting to overthrow the Oman government took control over parts of the country on the Arabian peninsula. In order to raise funds and to establish themselves as rightful rulers, stamps were issued under the names 'State of Oman' and ' Dhufar'.
In 1980, a set of prehistoric animals was issued under both names. Both issues consist of eight values in a sheet (perforate and inperforate ) and an inperforate miniature sheet. 'Used' covers exist, but all are addressed to a stamp dealer.
Since then many companies and individuals have printed stamps depicting various prehistoric animals, mostly dinosaurs, using the names of non-existent countries to make money from inexperienced collectors.

1991 Guyana First stamps Sheet with prehistoric animals

Firts stamp Sheet with prehistoric animals

Traditionally stamps were printed in sheets of several similar stamps, later on postal authorities started to produce stamp sets on sheets. Such sheets were usually designed as a big picture composed of many different stamps. On one hand, it is nice to have a whole picture, but on the other hand, these occupy a large space in an album and are not useful for non-philatelist customers.

The first sheet like this with a prehistoric theme was issued on 6 November 1990 by the South American country of Guyana. It contained twenty different stamp depicting South American prehistoric animals.
By the way, most stamps of prehistoric animals thematic is issued by Guyana and have just one target - to be collected. There are no real story behind these stamps - just a nice colorful images of various prehistoric animals.

The world of dinosaurs on stamps of USA 1997One of the most beautiful souvenir sheets depicting prehistoric animals, issued by the United States on 1 May 1997, shows a painting by the famous American paleoartist, James Gurney, author of Dinotopia.
The upper part of the sheet shows some scenes of Colorado 150 MYA. The lower part shows life in Montana 75 MYA
Distinguished from many artists who create very rough images of prehistoric creatures he worked very closely with leading paleontologists in order to create accurate reconstructions.
One of the scientific advisers with whom Gurney consulted was prominent American paleontologist Jack Horner. Horner’s discoveries have significantly advanced our knowledge of dinosaurs. The scientist also served as a consultant for the Steven Spielberg films Jurassic Park and The Lost World.
The First Day of Issue ceremony for the stamps was held at the Dinosaur Valley Museum in Grand Junction, Colorado, located in the heart of the world-famous “Dinosaur Triangle.” This area, which extends from western Colorado to northeastern Utah, has produced a wealth of dinosaur excavation sites.

1992 Thailand, First stamps booklet with prehistoric animals

Fossil of dinosaur on stamp booklet of Thailand 1992 Another way to sell many stamps at once is in stamp booklets, widely accepted in many countries of the world. The first booklet with fossils was issued in Thailand on 1 January 1992. The booklet contains five mint stamps showing a dinosaur excavation and dinosaur skeletons. These stamps are part of set of four stamps dedicated to centenary of the Thai Department of Mineral Resources.

The same year, on 9 September, the Swedish postal service issued a booklet with stamps of prehistoric animals consisting of two blocks of four stamps each. The booklet also contained some information about the animals.
Dinosaur and other prehistoric animals on stamp booklet of Sweden 1992
Fossil of dinosaur on stamp booklet of Thailand 1992
Dinosaur and other prehistoric animals on stamp booklet of Sweden 1992

1993 Australia, First self-adhesive stamps of prehistoric animals

The first booklet of self adhesive stamps with prehistoric animals on it On 1 October 1993, three British Commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) simultaneously issued some sets of stamps showing dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. All three sets were sold with a thematic stamp book, The Stamp of the Dinosaur, which also told the story of dinosaurs.
Australian stamps issued in several formats: 6 mint stamps issued in separate sheets of 15, mini sheet of all 6 stamps. Two stamps from the Australian set were issued as self-adhesive and sold as a booklet of ten and in rolls. These first self-adhesive stamps of prehistoric animals shows the following prehistoric animals.
Dinosaur and other prehistoric animals on self adhesive stamps of Australia 1993 Leaellynasaura, about the size of a chicken with a skull only 6 centimetres long, Leaellynasaura was a bipedal herbivorous dinosaur. Its eyes were exceptionally large, as was the part of the brain dedicated to processing visual signals (the optic lobes). It would appear to have been adapted for life in semi-darkness. During much of the Cretaceous, when Leaellynasaura lived, Australia was far closer to the South Pole than it is now, and would have been almost continuously dark for two or three months of each year. It has been suggested that this little dinosaur, too small to migrate,remained active throughout the long winter.

Ornithocheirus, flying reptiles or pterosaurs were not dinosaurs. However, they lived at the same time and were warm-bloodedthe energy demands of flight could never be met with a cold-blooded metabolism. Ornithocheirus lived in the Late Cretaceous and is also found in Europe, South America and Africa. During the 19th century, in England many fragmentary pterosaur fossils were found in the Cambridge Greensand. First found in Australia in 1979, near Boulia in south-western Queensland. It was a coastal species, and had a wing span of about 2.5 metres.
Variations of the fisrt self adhesive stamps from a roll with prehistoric animals on it

1998 Singapore, First ATM stamps with prehistoric animals

First ATM stamps depicting dinosaurs issued in Singapore 1998 First ATM stamps depicting dinosaurs issued in Singapore 1998

On 22 April 1998, the Singapore Post introduced the first automatic teller machine (ATM) stamps depicting dinosaurs.
The sheet of 15 stamps, with "For the local address only" face value, was sold exclusively via OCBC (Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation) bank terminals for a limited period of time. The sheets were designed with exactly the same dimensions (156×74 mm) as the SGD 50 currency note and very thin (less than 0.13 mm) so that they could be issued through the same aperture. These stamps are also the thinnest stamps related to Paleontology.
Within that period, two different designs of the backside were issued, as shown on the right..

The stamps shows the following dinosaurs (from left to right):

The Pentucerutops ("five horned face") belongs to the family of Cerutopsidae. They looked like the rhinoceros and were plant-eaters with huge heads, bulky bodies and heavy limbs and hooike claws.

The Apatosaurus ("deceptive lizard") was from the family of Diplodocidae. The Diplodocids stood highest at the hips, earing weight upon their elephantine limbs with short broad "hands" and feet. The Apatosaurus were plant-eaters which existed in the Late Iurassic period, and were very large with long whiplash tail and long neck.

The Albertosuurus ("Alberta lizards") was related to the Tyrannosaurus (or T-rex) featured in the movies. They were fierce predatory animal that ran fast and they would lunge with their heads to take "scoop bites" from their victims bodies.

1999 Portugal, First FRAMA stamps of prehistoric animals

Firt FRAMA stamps with Dinosaurs, Portugal 1999
Amiel FRAMA stamps with Dinosaurs, Portugal 1999
SMD FRAMA stamps with Dinosaurs, Portugal 1999
Next year, in November 1999, the Postal Services of Portugal introduced a new set of Frama machine labels titled “Dinosaurs of Portugal”, shows some dinosaur species and some of their footprints found near Lourinha city. The area of Lourinha is known by the Late Jurassic findings of dinosaurs and other fossils, and give the name for Lourinh Formation.

  • FRAMA labels are variable value stamps issued by a machine similar to an ATM. The user chooses the value at the time the stamp is dispensed. They are very similar to meter stamps.
  • Another ATM-FRAMA of dinosaurs issued by the Postal Services of Portugal in 2015.
  • So far (2017) only Portugal issued ATM-FRAMA stamps with prehistoric animals.
These stamps had seven predefined values from PTE 50 to PTE 350 and printed in two different ATM machines: Amiel and SMD.
Amiel machine used big and bold font, SMD printed the text in small, regular font. Some machines used black ink rather than blue one , such stamps are very difficult to get.
Moreover ATM machines at philatelic desk of Portuguese Post programmed differently as ATM machines at post offices. Stamps sold to philatelist used a dot (".") as currency separator, when stamps sold at post offices used a comma (",") as currency separator, therefore mint stamps with comma separator are more difficult to get.
With introduction of common European currency the ATM machines were reprogrammed to print face value in Escudo and Euro currency in 2000 and Euro only in 2002.

2009 South Africa, First set with 3D stamp of prehistoric animals

First set with 3D stamp depicting prehistoric animals

The first 3D stamp set has been issued by South Africa in 2009.
The South African Post Office is combining pre-history with modern technology by using the anaglyph method to create a three-dimensional effect.
This set of stamps is the first ever with a 3D effect to be issued by the South African Post Office. It will also be the first time that a pair of viewing glasses will be supplied with each stamp sheet and commemorative cover.
An anaglyph is a stereo image that requires special glasses with red and green (or blue) lenses for 3D viewing. To achieve the effect, two views of a picture are printed in two colours, usually red for the left eye and blue or green for the right eye.

Two color glasses supplied with Dinosaur stamps of South Africa 2009 to allow to see them with 3D effect

There are two mini-sheets 4 and 6 stamps each as well as two FDC cards. Five of the stamps depict skeletons of different types of dinosaurs, while the other five stamps show images of what scientists believe these creatures most probably looked like. All the dinosaurs depicting on the stamps have an African connection.

2010 South Korea, First stamps of prehistoric animals with odd perforation

First stamps with perforation in form of dinosaur Ammonite on stamp of Switzerland 2015

Traditionally perforation of stamps made of small holes evenly distributed around the stamp. Since 2000 , for security reasons, some Post Authorities start use some odd forms at stamps perforation.

On 05th o f August 2010, Korean Post issued the stamp set "The Age of Dinosaurs Series (1st Issue)" with perforations in the shape of dinosaur. In the following years Post of South Korea issued two more sets of dinosaurs with similar perforations (2011, 2012).

On 5 March 2015, Switzerland issued a 2-swiss franc souvenir sheet containing one irregularly shaped stamp depicting an ammonite fossil along with an image showing a reconstruction of how the creature may have appeared when it was living.

2012 Turkey, First hologram-motion stamps depicting dinosaur

First hologram-motion stamps depicting dinosaur First hologram-motion stamps depicting dinosaur

On 05th of June 2012, Post Authority of Turkey issued a stamp set "World environment day (Dinosaurs)".The set is a mini-sheet of 4 stamps.

Additionally, souvenir book with one more plastic Lenticular (3d hologram-motion) stamp and several post cards are printed out. The Lenticular stamp, depict running T-Rex is the first Lenticular depicting dinosaur on it. Even though it sold with the booklet only is a valid post stamp, and can be used for postage, see on the right.

2014 Hong Kong, First luminous stamps depicting prehistoric animals

On 20 February 2014, Post of Hong Kong issued stamps set “Chinese Dinosaurs”. At present, China has over 170 recorded dinosaur species. Hong Kong Post issues a set of six special stamps on "Chinese Dinosaurs" which introduces six unique Chinese dinosaur species, with a view to enhancing the public's understanding of Chinese dinosaurs.
First luminous stamps depicting prehistoric animals
On 19 May, 2017, Post of China issued stamps set “Chinese Dinosaurs”.
This set is printed with a luminous effect that makes the unique features of the Chinese dinosaurs glow in the dark. Moreover, the postage prepaid picture card, with 3D printing effect, makes the six dinosaurs more vivid. Set against the environment where dinosaurs lived in prehistoric times, the souvenir sheet in a block stamp design showcases dinosaurs from different periods. Glow-in-the-dark effect shown on the souvenir sheet after absorbing UV light.
Chinese dinosaurs glow in the darkChinese dinosaurs glow in the dark

Note: This site used a source of several articles published by owner of this website Mr. Michael Kogan, also known, as PaleoPhilatelist, in international philatelic magazines
Cover of Russian philatelic magazione Mir Marok from 2013 Cover of USA philatelic magazione Biophilately from 2015 Cover of UK philatelic magazione Stamp Magazine from 2016
"Мир Марок" (Mir Marok = Stamps world) , Russian philatelic magazine

Biophilately- Club's Magazine of Biophilately Study Unit of American Topical Association. "Stamp Magazine", UK philatelic magazine