Akin to the sheetlet, the mini-sheet is aimed specifically at collectors! While not strictly defined, this is small (about 90 mm x 120 mm although the size varies greatly), colorful, and normally contains six stamps or less. This not a booklet page, although it may have been an idea for an uncompleted booklet. Rather the goal is to highlight stamps, usually with additional artwork. The Master’s Tournament (figure 1) mini-sheet printed shows what was happening – a nice souvenir.
Is this just a marketing ploy? Most certainly. An Post is a company that is supposed to show a profit. However, how much interest would be generated if they reverted to the style of the 1930’s with a long running definitive set and fewer than six commemoratives a year? The collector is a significant profit center and management is well aware of the need to encourage collectors. At the same time, it can be counter-productive if they do too much or if they select topics not related to their country. This has happened in some countries and is known to collectors as “wallpaper”. One well-known Irish folk story is that of St Brendan, the Navigator, who may have discovered America centuries ago. Is it true? Unprovable, but a good story. (Figure 2)
Mini-sheets are important in another aspect. A stamp is an ambassador of the country. It reaches people in far-away places. By showing the people, places, history, and history-in-the-making on stamps, it also encourages tourism – an other major business in Ireland. Figure 3 shows the beauty of the countryside.