The humble postage stamp is undergoing a phenomenal digital transformation. Faced with the growing threat of stamp fraud and forgeries, and the pressure on postal authorities to offer more reliable, transparent delivery services, a new era in postage stamps has emerged.

By printing a unique, two-dimensional data matrix code on every stamp, forward thinking postal service authorities can now easily detect reused or forged stamps to prevent fraud, track a letter throughout its network, and provide customers with new digital and philatelist services with the barcoded stamp.

This presentation explores the print production and camera inspection challenges faced by the Dutch security printer, Royal Joh. Enschedé, in printing and verifying the variable data matrix codes printed first on the new €0.80 stamp for the German market in February 2021. By the end of 2022, the vast majority of German stamps will carry their unique matrix code.