Postage Stamps from Bhutan That Double as Playable Vinyl Records


The tiny, Himalayan king­dom of Bhutan has a unique nation­al aspi­ra­tion that sets it apart from its neigh­bors, Chi­na and India. (And cer­tain­ly the Unit­ed States too.) Rather than increas­ing its gross nation­al prod­uct, Bhutan has instead made it a goal to increase the Gross Nation­al Hap­pi­ness of its cit­i­zens. There’s wealth in health, not just mon­ey, the Bhutanese have argued. And since the 197os, the coun­try has tak­en a holis­tic approach to devel­op­ment, try­ing to increase the spir­i­tu­al, phys­i­cal, and envi­ron­men­tal health of its peo­ple. And guess what? The strat­e­gy is pay­ing off. A 2006 glob­al sur­vey con­duct­ed by Busi­ness Week found that Bhutan is the hap­pi­est coun­try in Asia and the eighth-hap­pi­est coun­try in the world.

It’s per­haps only a nation devot­ed to hap­pi­ness that could throw its sup­port behind this — postage stamps that dou­ble as playable vinyl records. Cre­at­ed by an Amer­i­can entre­pre­neur Burt Todd in the ear­ly 70s, at the request of the Bhutanese roy­al fam­i­ly, the “talk­ing stamps” shown above could be stuck on a let­ter and then lat­er played on a turntable. Accord­ing to Tod­d’s 2006 obit­u­ary in The New York Times, one stamp “played the Bhutanese nation­al anthem,” and anoth­er deliv­ered “a very con­cise his­to­ry of Bhutan.” Thanks to WFMU, our favorite inde­pen­dent free form radio sta­tion, you can hear clips of talk­ing stamps above and below. Don’t you feel hap­pi­er already?

via The Reply All Pod­cast

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

How to Clean Your Vinyl Records with Wood Glue

Sovi­et Hip­sters Boot­legged West­ern Pop Music on Dis­card­ed X‑Rays: Hear Orig­i­nal Audio Sam­ples

How Vinyl Records Are Made: A Primer from 1956

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