Webmaster's Note: A preliminary version of this article was originally published in the July 1999 edition of SOS SIGNAL, the bulletin of the Stamps on Stamps Centenary Unit (SOSCU). Judy Hornaday has been a mainstay of SOSCU. She has admirably served the group as Secretary-Treasurer. She currently provides valuable service to the group through the new issues information published in SOS SIGNAL.


In 1994, Robert Graves, then silver-tongued editor of the SOS Signal, invited me to write an article for our newsletter. "Stamps on Stamps Under Magnifying Glasses" was published in the October 1994 issue. Recently, our current and equally persuasive editor engaged me to revisit and update that popular theme, which I fondly call SUG's (Stamps Under Glass).

In the original article, there were 71 stamps identified in the Under Magnifying Glasses subcategory of SOS's. The earliest one, Austria B268, was issued in 1949 for Stamp Day. Five years have passed since that first list was compiled. Lou Guadagno has skillfully assisted me in identifying some issues that were overlooked in the first round, and we've since added 21 items, including a postal card. But there has been a surge in new-issue SUG's -- 22 since the first article. Thus, not counting varieties, such as souvenir sheets with the same stamp, the grand total is now 114. Table 1 gives a listing of these SUG items currently identified.


Table 1. Current list of known SUG items.






Algeria 841 1987 25th Anniv. Algerian Postage

Antigua & Barbuda 1243 1989 Promoting Philately

Argentina B15 1958 Centennial Philatelic Exhibition

Australia (postal envelope) 1998 50th Anniv. Australasian Phil. Traders Assn.

Austria B268 1949 Stamp Day

Austria B303 1960 Stamp Day

Barbados 683 1986 Ameripex

Belgium 912* 1975 Themabelga Int'l Thematic Exhibition

Belgium 1036 1979 Youth Philately

Benin 411 1978 Riccione Philatelic Exhibition

Benin 521 1982 Philexfrance

Benin 570 1984 UPU Congress

Benin 604* 1984 Italia '85

Benin 606 1985 Philexafrica

Bolivia 1998 Espamer '98

Bulgaria 1570 1968 Bulgarian Philatelic Union

Bulgaria 1663 1968 Youth Festival

Chile 721 1986 Ameripex

Rep. of China 1785 1972 Promoting Philately

Colombia 1074 1993 Exfilbo

Costa Rica C502 1970 5th National Philatelic Exhibition

Cyprus 633 1984 25th Anniv. Cyprus Philatelic Society

Cyprus 924, 924a 1998 World Stamp Day

Czechoslovakia 1726* 1970 Stamp Day

Czechoslovakia 2442 1982 Stamp Day

Djibouti C160 1982 Philexfrance

Dominica 933 1985 40th Anniv. United Nations

Dominica 955 1986 Ameripex

Egypt 1109 1979 50th Ann. Society of Egyptian Philately

Ethiopia 1380 1994 Postal Centenary

France 2546 1996 50th Anniv. of Autumn Stamp Exhibition

Gabon 781 1993 Paris 1994 Stamp Exhibition

Germany (E.) B21(a) 1950 Debria German Stamp Exhibition

Germany 1939 1996 50th Anniv. Assn. Germa Philatelists

Greece 1062 1972 Stamp Day

Greece 1252,1252a** 1978 150th Anniv. Greek Postal Service

Greece 1322 1979 Balkanfila

Hong Kong 654 1992 Stamp Collecting

Hungary 3508 S/S 1995 Stamp Day

Hungary C185, C186a 1958 National Stamp Exhibition

Iceland 789(b) S/S 1994 Stamp Day

Ifni 154 1968 Stamp Day

India 531 1970 Inpex

India 825 1979 Centenary of Postal Cards

Indonesia 1702 1997 75th Anniv. of Indonesian Phil. Association

Italy 1701 1986 Stamp Day

Italy 1728 1987 Stamp Day

Italy 2187 1997 Stamp Day

Ivory Coast 862 1988 World Post Day

Japan postal card 1984 Philakorea

Korea (N.) 2919 (N.K. cat.) 1989 150th Anniversary of Penny Black

Korea (S.) 1389-90 1984 Philakorea

Lebanon C730 1974 Stamp Day

Liberia 1045 1986 Ameripex

Libya 1276b 1985 Stamp Day

Libya 1441-2 1992 Mahgreb Arab Union Phil. Exhibition

Malaysia 645 S/S 1997 50 Years of Organized Philately

Malaysia 645e S/S 1998 50 Years (above) overprinted 97 Indepex

Maldive Islands 1598 1991 17th World Scout Jamboree

Malta 768 1991 25th Anniv. Maltese Philatelic Society

Mexico 1642 1990 Centenary of Mexican Phil. Assoc.

Micronesia 198a 1994 10th Anniv. Postal Service

Monaco 1882 1993 Centenary of Monaco Phil. Union

Morocco 321 1974 Stamp Day

Mozambique 1278 1996 120th Anniv. of Mozambique Stamps

Netherlands 587 1979 Europa

Netherlands Ant. B264-6 1989 50th Anniv. Curaao Stamp Assoc.

New Caledonia 455 1980 Philately at School

New Caledonia 527 1985 Le Cagou Philatelic Society

Niger C127* 1970 10th Europa Philatelic Exhibition

Nigeria 603,603a 1992 Olymphilex

Nigeria 635 1994 120th Anniv. Nigerian Stamps

Norfolk Island 438 1988 Sydpex

Palau 197(e) S/S 1988 Praga

Papua & New Guinea 628* 1985 Post Office Centenary

Philippines 1618-9 1982 Philatelic Week

Philippines 1667 1984 Philatelic Week (above) surcharged 60s

Philippines 2012 1989 Philately in Classroom

Portugal 1285 1976 Interphil Int'l Phil. Exhibition

Romania 4114 1996 Stamp Day

Russia 2325 1960 Stamp Day

Russia 4245 S/S** 1974 3rd Congress of Phil. Soc. of USSR

Salvador 1197 1989 Promoting Philately

Salvador 1230 S/S 1990 50th Anniv. Philatelic Society

Slovenia 346 1999 Slovenian Philatelic Assoc. 50th Anniversary

Spain 2592 1989 Stamp Collecting

Spain 2860 1996 50th Anniv. Philatelic Service

Sweden 1587 (1588a) 1986 Stockholmia

Tonga 629-30 1986 Ameripex/20th Anniv. Peace Corps/Tonga

Tonga-Niuafo'ou 74-5 1986 Ameripex/20th Anniv. Peace Corps/Tonga

Tunisia 949 1988 Tunisian Postage Stamp Centenary

Tunisia 1095 1996 Capex

Tunisia B132 1961 Stamp Day

Tunisia B136 1963 U.N. Day (O/P of B132)

Turks & Caicos 431-2 1980 London Int'l Stamp Exhibition

Turks & Caicos 526 S/S 1982 FDR & Washington BirthAnniv.(100/250th)

Ukraine 265 1997 4th Nat'l Phil. Exhibition

U.A.E. (2 new) 1997 Emirates Philatelic Assn.

United Nations 278 (NY) 1976 25th Anniv. U. N. Postal Admin.

United Nations 473 (NY) 1986 U.N. Stamp Collecting

United Nations 714 (NY)** 1997 Tribute to Philately

United Nations 146 (Gen) 1986 U.N. Stamp Collecting

United Nations 312 (Gen)** 1997 Tribute to Philately

United States 1474 1972 125th Anniversary U.S. Stamps

United States 2200,2201a 1986 Ameripex

Upper Volta 525 1980 Stamp Day

Yemen 397 1981 Roland Hill Death Centenary



City, Country Year Event



New Hampshire, USA 1997 Great Bay Stamp Club Station

Pennsylvania, USA 1998 Stamp Camp Station

Wisconsin, USA 1997 WaUSApex - 25 Years of Stamp Shows



Country Year Design



United States PhilaTelecard 1995 Stamp Collecting

United States PhilaTelecard 1995 Stamp Collecting


*magnifying lens without handle

**reproduces earlier SUG


While the original list included only stamps or souvenir sheets, this list has been expanded to include virtually anything that could fit the SUG category. First, already mentioned, there is quite a nice Japanese postal card issued for Philakorea in 1984, Figure 1.

Figure 1


Second, thanks to Bill Critzer, I have been able to add a SUG postal envelope - a gorgeous 1998 issue from Australia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Australasian Philatelic Traders' Association, featuring one of their first stamps, the 2 shilling kangaroo and map of 1913, Figure 2.

Figure 2


Other related material includes SUG cancellations on covers, of which I've managed to obtain three from the United States in the past couple years. I think you'll agree that they are unique, choice cancellations, Figure3, Figure 4, and Figure 5.

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5


I have also obtained two Phone Cards (PhilaTelecards) with United States SUG's. These were both issued 1/1/1995, and are numbered, limited editions of 2000 each. One of these cards is illustrated in Figure 6.

Figure 6


Three of the SUG's reproduce earlier SUG's, and are therefore SOSOS's (stamp on stamp on stamp). I am particularly fond of SOSOS's, because they are relatively uncommon and because they invariably have been issued to emphasize the value of stamp collecting. The first SUG SOSOS was issued in 1974 by Russia , #4245, to commemorate the development of the Russian Postal Service. It is quite an eye-catching S/S, with several other Russian stamps clearly replicated in the margin. It depicts Russia #2325, which was issued for Stamp Day in 1960, showing Russia #1981 issued in 1957 for World Peace, Figure 7.

Figure 7


In 1978 Greece honored the 150th Anniversary of the Greek Postal Service, #1252 shown, Figure 8; this stamp depicts Greece #1062, which was issued for Stamp Day in 1972.


Figure 8


More recently, in 1997, the United Nations' Tribute to Philately series, #312 for Geneva, Figure 9, and #714 for New York, Figure 10, duplicated the 1986 UN Stamp Collecting stamps, #146 for Geneva and #473 for New York. The high production quality in both the Greek and UN issues makes these particularly excellent SOSOS specimens.



Figure 9

Figure 10


In 1990 Salvador, #1230, Figure 11, issued a S/S for the 50th Anniversary of the Philatelic Society. It shows a modified Salvador #1197, with the value changed from 25c to a 2.00 colon airmail, issued in 1989 to promote philately, as well as four other earlier Salvadorian stamps. This seems to me to be a variation on a SOSOS.

Figure 11


Other newly-added SUG's which I personally find noteworthy include Hungary #3508, Figure 12, a truly lovely, numbered S/S issued in 1995 for Stamp Day. It shows a man with two boys happily looking at a stamp album in what appears to be a philatelic library.

Figure 12


Also among my favorites is Iceland #789, Figure 13, issued in 1994 for Stamp Day. This is a S/S in a strip format with a se-tenant type design. The left stamp shows a boy and girl examining a stamp album; the center SUG stamp shows Iceland #672, 713, under magnification, and others;and the right stamp shows a girl and elderly man looking at a globe. This S/S was sold for 200k, face value totals 165k, for the benefit of the Stamp and Postal History Fund.

Figure 13


In 1994, Ethiopia, #1380, Figure 14, produced an issue to commemorate their postal centenary.

Figure 14


Mozambique, #1278, Figure 15, issued a commemorative for 120 years of their postage stamp in 1996.

Figure 15


In 1997, the Republic of Indonesia, #1702, produced a SOSUG issue to observe the 75th anniversary of the Indonesian Philatelic Association, Figure 16.

Figure 16


An unusual SOSUG is the 50 sen value in the souvenir sheet of four diamond-shaped stamps originally issued by Malaysia in 1996 to observe 50 years of organized Malaysian philately and issued in a slightly revised form, #645e, in 1997, with the addition of an inscription to commemorate MALPEX'97, Figure 17.

Figure 17


Lastly, I call your attention to the 1996 issue from Germany, #1939, to honor the 50th anniversary of the Association of German Philatelists, Figure 18.

Figure 18


While the SOS shown on the stamp in Figure 18 is actually a Type SY (pseudo stamp) SUG, the issue has the unique feature of SUG's in the margins of the pane as well.

I welcome receipt of information regarding any additions which visitors to this site may identify for the checklist. Please send me the information via the following e-mail launch:

E-mail to Ms. Judy Hornaday.


Even though SOSUG is a relatively small subtopic, the challenge of acquiring all stamps on the list still eludes me - part of what keeps all collectors motivated! Thank you for the interest you've shown by viewing this site.