Friday, February 20, 2009

Penny Black; Mother of all stamps!

The Penny Black is the world’s first postage stamp and was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1st May 1840. Due to its significance these stamps are highly sought after by stamp collectors around the world. To me, I would say that the Penny Black is the Mother of all stamps!
Generally speaking, the Penny Black is not a rare stamp as about 68 million were issued. It is believed that there are about 1.5 million of the original 68 million Penny Black stamps issued still in existence today. This is largely because during that time, envelopes were not commonly used yet. Whenever a letter was mailed, it was generally folded much like it is now. The letter is then sealed with sealing wax and the penny black stamp adhered to the letter. Therefore, whenever someone saved a letter, the stamp was saved as well. On today’s market, a fine used Penny Black stamp will set you back around US100 bucks.

The Penny Black Stamp was only used for one year because the red cancellation mark was hard to see on the black background. As a result of this, the Treasury reprinted the stamp as a red stamp so that the black cancellation marks that are later used are easier to see and harder to remove.
To recognize Great Britain as the originator of postage stamps, it is the only country in the world that can issue a stamp without a country name. Instead a tiny silhouette of the Queen is used on every British stamp.

For today, I am going to share with you this little piece of postal history from my collection of first issues. Enjoy!

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