This language was mentioned in an article about a divorce court hearing in 1931. The husband submitted as evidence a stamp his wife had placed on a piece of paper at a rakish angle. This was meant to mean something. There was, the judge was told, a language of stamps.
So I looked up “language of stamps” in a digital repository of Australian newspapers (Trove) and found articles on it going back to the 1880s. It seems to be one of those topics that gets regularly trotted out to fill space and distract from the heat death of the Universe. Like the constant advice on how much water to drink, and the opinion pieces on whether women are really funny every single Melbourne Comedy Festival.
From these historic articles I divined that the language of stamps is expressed through the location of a stamp on the envelope. Different locations and angles signal meanings.
I noticed that the language of stamps seemed to vary across the articles, and so it would seem that there are number of stamp dialects (or newspaper columnists simply make stuff up).
Some people disapproved of the whole thing. This fun columnist replied to a reader’s enquiry by saying: “The use of the language of stamps is a breach of the regulations of the Post Office, and letters so stamped may not be delivered.”
Quite right. But to expand your knowledge with information that you must NEVER put to use, I have prepared a quiz on the language of stamps based on an article published in 1922.
LANGUAGE OF STAMPS
a) I expect an immediate reply.
b) Where is the toilet?
a) Do you sell cheese?
b) I am provoked at your long silence.
b) Expect me tonight.
c) I want to catch a train to the city.
b) Four croissants please.
c) Be careful how you reply to this.
a) I am from Australia.
c) Beware! Father has caught on.
- a) 2. b) 3. b) 4. c) 5. c). But quite honestly you can pretend it means whatever you want, we’re due for another article on the language of stamps now.