Queen Wilhelmina Air Mail Stamp (Piet Zwart)

Do you know what this is? It’s the very first postage stamp in the entire world to feature a photograph. Released by the Netherlands on September 24, 1931, this 2-color beauty by Piet Zwart broke new ground and brought stamps into the 20th century. (We don’t know if this is true, but we think that US stamps didn’t feature photographs until the 21st century. [Do not write to correct us. We don’t care if we’re wrong—or if you are right.]) Note, too, the asymmetry and angled type. Know why Zwart did that? Because an addressed envelope is inherently asymmetric. Why would we put something symmetrically perfect in the corner when everything else is all over the place? A stamp does not exist on its own. It’s part of something larger. Piet Zwart thought (and wrote) about these things. A total original.
  • Size: About .8 × 1.2 inches
  • Pages: 1 small piece of paper
  • Binding: n/a
  • Condition: Mint, but with signs of hinging on the back. (You’ll never look at the back, though.)
  • Publisher: Dutch PTT, 1931