How many rpms dude?
They are one-sided, 33 1/3 rpm vinyl records playable on a standard turntable (except if the turntable stops the arm from moving inward beyond a certain point). Recorded content includes Bhutanese folk songs and histories of the country in English and Dzongkha, the local language. Below I posted a copy of the announcement of Bhutan's Talking Stamps
. My comments continue below that image.
Issued in 1972, it was not until 1993 that Scott Catalog listed them at a total catalog of about $30. Before and after the listing they we at best considered a weird joke on philately. BUT the joke is on the philatelists who did not buy a set or even individual records at that time and price. My sets purchased predated the catalog listing and much of the digital revolution.
As you either lived or heard about from parents or grandparents there were records (we will ignore taped music) which were replaced by CDs which gave way to "streaming" where you did not have a copy of the recording on something you could hold in your hand. Next there came back an interest in old vinyl (as records are called) and then especially rare old vinyl. These smallest of vinyl records known to philately were discovered by the vinyl geeks which helped the stamp geeks' interest grow not to mention the overall demand for the stamps. Sets of just the records can be found in the $500-$1000 range with a recent set on eBay
at over $600 with shipping. The FDCs run in the $250-$350 and up range per cover.
So why did I include these in a thread asking about 3D stamps of the US? Well, because of the USA connection. Bert Todd, an American born in 1924 into steel wealth tended to travel the world and live an interesting life. After serving in the US Army Air Corps during WWII, he entered Oxford, after securing a special entrance permission, and exited with a law degree in 1949. During his studies he met and befriended a student by the name of Ashi Kesang Choden-Dorfi. She invited him to her 1951 wedding to Jigme Dorji-Wangchuck to be held in Bhutan since groom's father was the King of Bhutan. Following their marriage, he ascended to the thrown with his queen in 1952 and reigned until 1972. As king he opened up Bhutan to the outside world.
In 1960 the King asked Bert to assist with a $10,000,000.00 loan request from the World Bank. The World Bank refused as at the time there was a minor border dispute between Bhutan and India with the World Bank not wanting to upset the large client India. It was suggested to Bert that Bhutan could sell stamps to raise money in the manner of some other small countries such as Monaco.
In 1960 Bhutan issued warrants to issue stamps and Bert was placed in charge of the program. Stamps began to be issued that year. At first he issued pleasant artful stamps but realized he needed a bigger bang to gain the attention of collectors worldwide if he was to realize the goal of raising serious money. 1966 began the issuance of the innovative stamps. The Lenticular (3D) Space Issue appeared in 1967 and sold over 200,000 sets. And so the innovations continued eventually including the real vinyl record set.
Bert died in 2006, but lived long enough to see his daughter, Frances, follow in his footsteps and notch up another first with a series of CD-ROM stamps carrying documentary videos about Bhutan.
Edited for top quote.