Norway (Norge - Noreg)

Polar Bear issue

Coinciding with the rise in the postal rates, on April 1st 2006, Norway Post replaced the paper used in the NewVision vending machines with a new design.

The new paper shows again a very nice design of Enzo Finger of an image of a polar bear.

The self-adhesive labels are manufactured by the local company Norsk Etikett System AS and they are printed by offset.

The polar bear or white bear (Ursus maritimus) is the largest carnivore in the world.
Adult males measure around 2.50 m. and weigh from 400 to 600 kg. Females can measure about 2 m. and weigh from 200 to 300 kg.
The polar bear is a circumpolar species living around the North Pole, mainly in the islands and coasts of the Arctic Ocean.
As a curiosity, its dense coat is not really white, but translucent. Stiff hollow hairs grow on the soles of its paws as an insulation. Also the black skin retains the body heat. When the light of the sun reflects off the coat, it appears a white color, although sometimes it can appear yellow, brown clear... or green ! as it happens to some polar bears in zoos located in warm climates, because of the algae growing on their coat.
In the 1970s the species almost became extinct, but the prohibition of its hunting recovered the world-wide population.

Like the previous issue, the Norwegian Philatelic Service produced a first day cover with the 3 basic franking values after the change of postal rates (6,50 - 8,50 - 10,50 NOK), and this composed the set.

(From April 1st, 2006 Norway Post reduced to 3 the number of postal rates zones: Norway, Europe and Overseas).

Size: 180 x 125 mm.

Again like the previous issue, and similar to the recent years with ATM issues in Spain, there exists 2 types of postage stamps or franking labels with the same paper:

- The stamps are supplied by the Philatelic Service. These stamps were manufactured in nonluminescent self-adhesive paper and the face value is preprinted in offset. Sets are made up only of 3 values. (yes, its right, but the idea to explain is that they only manufactured stamps with 3 different values ... and this ones compose the sets, of course !). These stamps have been also used on the official first day cover. They have not been obtained from vending machines, but originally manufactured with the face value, copying the NewVision vending machines printing.

- The ATMs issued by the vending machines are from rolls of blank labels of fluorescent self-adhesive paper. The printing of the face value is mechanical on blue/violet ink and the user can obtain ATMs with the different pre-programmed franking values from the machine, according to the weight, destination and shipment type.

At first sight it is not easy to recognize both types of postage stamps, because the printing of the face value in offset (upper image) has the identical font, size and colour that can be obtained by dot matrix printing in the NewVision vending machines (lower image), but there are some differences because of the 2 different paper manufacture processes.

The position of the face value appears slightly displaced towards the left in the preprinted stamps in relation to the ATMs, but this simple test can lead to errors.

If we compare mint stamps on the original backing paper, the stamps with the preprinted face value have a rear white paper, whereas in the ATMs the paper is a yellow or light brown colour in 2 varieties, as shown in the images:

Stamp with the preprinted face value
Rear white paper
Rear paper on yellow or light brown colour

Another option to identify both types of postage stamps, or if we have an used stamp on paper, is to study them under a UV-lamp: The ATMs have been manufactured on fluorescent paper and they are much shinier.

Stamp with the preprinted face value ATM

The adjust labels of the NewVision vending machines in Norway are especially rare.
This is an internal printing of the machines made by the maintenance technician to check the correct operation and printing.

With the collaboration of Mr. E. Friedricksen

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This page was created in June 14th, 2002
and last updated:  30.05.06 . English edition rewrited by S. Goodman (30.05.06)