Stamp tilting

"Stamp tilting" was a secret language during the decades before and after 1900 when postcards were really at its height in Sweden and other countries. By tilting the stamp you could send secret messages to your hearts desire or lover without being caught by the scrutinizing eyes of parents, yours intended or husbands.

Stamp tilting (Swedish: “Frimärksspråket”) for stamps on a postcard is of course explained best on a postcard (from 1902?):

This postcard claims to be about “the new language of stamp tilting”. The (I assume) “old language” is described in an article from October 29th, 1891 in “Helsingborgstidningen”, a local newspaper in Sweden.


“Stamp Tilting” is something new and fitting for our practical times. Although the instructions from the Postal Office declares that a stamp shall be placed in the upper right corner, crimes against this regulation seems not to be penalized, and the letters are delivered anyhow. Between parties, that are under scrutiny, the language of “stamp tilting” may then be useful. It seems to be of no little use, and the placement of the stamp should, as described by a German magazine, be given the following interpretation:

Upper. Right.
Straight up: Give me your friendship.
Crosswise: Do You love me?
Upside down: Write no more.
Tilted: Write immediately!

Lower. Right
Straight up: Your love makes me happy.
Crosswise: Be carefull. We are watched.
Upside down: Your adoration cannot be received.
Tilted: How are we to meet?

Upper. Left.
Straight up: I love you!
Crosswise: My hearts belongs to someone else.
Upside down: Goodbye, my love!
Tilted: Burn all my letters!

Lower. Left
Straight up: Your fidelity shall be rewarded.
Crosswise: Leave me alone with my pain.
Upside down: You have stood up to all challenges.
Tilted: Say the time and date.

So, next time your receive a postcards from a postcrossing member, look out for a secret message !


This is so interesting!!!

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It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Mentioned in this thread over the summer:

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Personally, I inadvertently tilt the stamp every time I stick one on, and I usually put 3-4 on per postcard. I must be sending some very strange messages.


Maybe your messages contradict each other? How are your receiver to know your true intentions? :wink:


This made me giggle. What would be the strangest combination?
“Write immediately, but write no more! Your love makes me happy, now leave me alone with my pain!”


Very interesting information! Thank you very much for sharing it ! Lovely idea with secret messages ! :grin: It’s a pity that no option for "thank you very much for swap " :love_letter::grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: . May be we need updated secret messages :blush:


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I knew her! Ultimately, it didn’t work out between us.


very interesting :exclamation:

In the early days of the U.S. postal system, the placement of stamps on envelopes also was sometimes used to send secret messages, as well as a means of not paying full postage. It was common, back then, for a sender to pay partial postage on a letter, with the remainder to be collected from the intended recipient upon delivery. Sometimes the intended recipient would look at the front of the letter and refuse delivery, (and payment of the postage due) because, without opening the letter, he or she had already received the sender’s message, based upon the placement of the stamp.


Sounds like quite a rollercoaster. What stamp placement would one use to convey “For crying out loud, just pick a side and stick to it”?

@HookedonPostcards hey! We know about this don’t we? :hugs::laughing:

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:wink: @PostAddy

Thank you for sharing this information. Super interesting! :blush:

One has to wonder what kind of message would require this stamp combination :sweat_smile:

Why, of course this is natural, If a gentleman is approaching you, you have to challenge his intentions, so that he is honest, loyal, sincere and trustworthy. Only then can you reply to his unfaltering courtship with a postcard with a tilted stamp! :wink:

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Purchased at Leafcutter; design by Lea Redmond. I’m partial to the Frida Kahlo resemblance! :wink:


A friend of mine suggested that there should be a placement and tilting interpreted as “the mailman is seeing your wife” but I can assure all Postal Workers that no such code has ever been found or used. :wink:

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It’s only the milkman that you have to be suspicious of.