The world’s first adhesive postage stamp was the Penny Black, printed for the British postal service by an American named Jacob Perkins on May 6, 1840. Two days later, a blue two-penny or “Tuppeny blue” stamp came off the Perkins, Bacon & Co. press. Both stamps featured an engraved portrait of Queen Victoria, as would the Penny Red, which replaced the Penny Black in 1841. 

Now you might think the Penny Black would be worth a small fortune, but more than 68 million imperforate versions of the stamp were printed, and it’s estimated some 21 billion Penny Reds were produced, none of which were perforated before 1854. If you want rare, go for the Tuppeny blue—only six-and-a-half million of those beauties were printed.

Thanks to their ubiquity, Penny Blacks and Reds are relatively affordable. Less attainable are stamps such as the 1918 Inverted Jenny, a 24-cent U.S. stamp depicting a Curtiss JN-4H biplane flying upside down, of which only 100 are known to exist. Rarer still is the 1847 Mauritius “Post Office” stamp, a British colonial issue whose scarcity and multi-million-dollar prices at auction inspired a Broadway play.

For many philatelists, these stamps are impossible Holy Grails. More attainable are the countless pieces of postage from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, and China. Each piece of postage produced by these nations tells a story about their unique histories.

Collectors of U.S. stamps might try for commemorative and special issue stamps, such as a set of all four horizontal Zeppelin stamps, printed between 1930 and 1933, or the set of 10 National Park stamps issued in 1934. Definitives, or regular issue stamps, are also popular—many bear portraits of presidents from Washington to Kennedy, while others depict the likenesses of scientists (Albert Einstein), architects (Frank Lloyd Wright), and playwrights (Eugene O’Neill).

Formal portraits of royalty grace most British stamps, but the imagery gets more picturesque as one moves away from the country’s main islands to current territories such as Gibraltar and former ones like Malta. The rise and fall of the Third Reich can be followed on German stamps, which are littered with swastikas before and during World War II. French stamps frequently honor intellectuals and art expositions, such as the one in 1925 that gave rise to the term Art Deco, while Australian stamps naturally feature numerous depictions of indigenous animals such as the kangaroo and platypus.

Chinese stamps are also steeped in their country’s history. Pre-Mao-era stamps reveal the hyperinflation of the early 1930s, as seen in the 500-yuan stamps of that period. During the Mao era itself, the chairman’s smiling face, as well as compositions celebrating the country’s military might, were common, but there were also stamps meant to encourage exercise, such as the series of 40 stamps printed in 1952, when millions listened to, and exercised along with, a daily radio program promoting fitness.


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China Prc 1980 Monkey T46 1586 Mnh PerfectPr China 1960 S38 Goldfish Imp Mnh Sc#506-517China Prc 1967 Poems Of Mao W7 Complet Set 14 Stamps Mnh PerfectChina Old Registered Mail Cover Peking !!Great Britain 1840 Penny Black, 4 Margins Fine-used, Red Maltese Cross (a888)China Prc 1979 Souvenir Sheet Study Science 1518 Mnh PerfectChina 1967 1968 Mao Tse - Toung Collection Revolutionary Theater Mnh1867-83 10/- Grey-green Sg128 Superb Gracechurch Street CdsChina Prc 1977-81 Rare Presentation Book With Mnh Stamps & The Red MonkeyCkstamps : Us Stamps Scott#c15 $2.6 Airmail Graf Zeppelin 1930 Mint Lh Og Cv$575Nystamps Us Stamp # 31 Used $1390Great Britain 1840 Penny Black (sg 2) 4 Margins, Fine-used (a1109)Large Box Full Of Stamps, Cllctns, Covers, Auction Lots, Packs Etc,Gb 1847-54 1s Green Embossed (sg 55) Cut Square, Fine-used (a897)Great Britain 1878 £1 Brown-lilac Sg 129 Cat Value £4,500 Fine-used (a1222)Pr China 1963 S57 Hwang Shan Complete Set Blk4 Cto Sc#716-731China Prc 1978 Souvenir Sheet T28 Horses Mnh PerfectAustralian Pre-decimal Collection 1913 - 1965 On Seven Seas Pages Cv - $10,000[a15507] Germany 1931 Zeppelin Good Rare Airmail Set Very Fine Used Value $15001840 (sept) Penny Black Cover London To Doncaster Entire With Letter (a937)Nystamps Japan Stamp # 154 Mint With Gum $800Sg 212 £1 Green Fine Used With A Crisp Upright Middlesbrough Cds & BoxU.s. #28 Scarce Used - 5c Red Brown ($1,240)Rare India 1948 Mahatma Gandhi Fdc . Extremely Rare .Great Britain, Cv $4800, 33 Unused Group Of Bk4 & Larger & Pairs Comprises Pl #7Japan 1914 Registered Cover Front, 1 Yen X5, 8s X2, Official SealsNystamps German States Bavaria Stamps # 1 Used $2000Great Britain Queen Victoria 10s Value Sg 128 Glasgow C.d.s. (a1157)3x Antique Gilt Pocket Watch Fobs Novelty Postal Messages Intaglio Seals C19th China Old Postcard Prisoners Post Bando Japan To Canton 1919 !!France 1863 Entire Letter From Bordeaux To Peru Superb Three Colour Franking++ Great Britain Machin Collection 1970-2009 In Sg Album ++Gb 1847-54 10d Brown Embossed (sg 57) Cut Square, Fine-used (a898)France 1851 Cover From Boulogne To Corfu Greece Franked With Rare Ceres 1fChina Stamp Prc T46 Geng Shen Year Monkey Stamp 1980 Scott #1586 Tl375China 1968 Mao Tse - Toung 1759/61 Revolutionary Theater MnhNystamps France Stamp # C15 Mint Og Nh $1700China Prc 1965’ S73 Jinggangshan Mountain Complete Set Mnh OgChina 1885-88 Small Dragon Perf 12 Set Of 3 Hinged MintChina Prc 1978 Souvenir Sheet Art And Craft 1433 Mnh PerfectGerman States, Bavaria Sc. #8 2 Pairs With Gutter Between On CoverGreat Britain 1867-83 £1 Brown Lilac Sg 136 Wmk Anchor Fine-used (a1366)1928 Melbourne Sheet Australia 2 Sheets++ Unique Piece Vf Mnh B7.36 Start $0.99Us Washington Franklins 1917-19 Thru $2, $5 #523, #479 Nh Cat $7,800China Prc 1980 Souvenir Sheet Lotus 1617 Mnh PerfectNystamps Us Stamp # 1 Used $900 Blue Town Cancel Magenta Pen Cancel1911-13 10s Blue Sg 319 'guernsey' C.d.s. (somerset House Printing) (a893)Very Nice Penny Black Stamp On Cover - 18401941 Guernsey Occupation Registered Cover With 5 X Bisects To Jersey (a942)Russia. Airmail. Sc. C68b. Sk 420ka, Cv $6000+. San-fransico Over. On CoverChina Stamp W7 X2 ƖRare 1871 France Cover, Sc# 39, 2 Cents Bordeaux Alone, Cv $3450.001918 10s Dull Grey Blue Seahorse (sg 417) Fine L.h.m. (a1017)U.s. #46 Scarce Unused - 30c Orange, Reprint ($3,000)1914-15 United States Panama-pacific. 10c Scott 404. Hinged. Cat $7251902-03 United States Regular. $1 Scott 311. Never Hinged. Cat $1900China Prc 1979 Souvenir Sheet Great Wall Overprint Exhibition 1492 Mnh PerfectNystamps France Stamp # 226 Mint Og H $1100 Sheet Of 41932 5/- Harbour Bridge Rare 72800 Printed "gem" Centred Superb "mint" "gem"!China Old Postcard Tsinanfu Chinese Gouverneur Choufu Tsingtau To Germany 1904!!

Recent News: Stamps

Source: Google News

Patient stamp collectors can earn big returns
CNBC.com, April 18th

The Moshers are not alone in profiting from stamps as an investment. Bill Bergstrom of the Tustin, Calif., auction house H.R. Harmer, GPN, has witnessed a growing interest in stamp collecting. "In general, stamps are in that tangible asset class...Read more

Terrorist Complains Israeli Prison Harmed His Stamp Collection
Arutz Sheva, April 18th

"I have resumed my hobby of stamp collecting with enthusiasm, to make up for what I lost during my time in prison," he told the paper. "I'm proud of the stamps I collected in prison, but it was difficult for me to pursue [my] hobby in prison, because...Read more

Annual stamp collector show set for Westland
Hometownlife.com, April 11th

Thirty-eight dealers from nine states and Canada will sell stamps, covers, cachet covers and supplies for stamp collectors, at the 45th annual Plymouth Show, sponsored by the West Suburban Stamp Club (WSSC). Show hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, ...Read more

Drug Collecting Is The Millennial's Stamp Collecting
Fusion, April 7th

Sigmund Freud (naturally) ascribed collecting tendencies to traumatic toilet times (thanks Freud) and stated that people collect as a way to “regain control” by reclaiming physical possessions that represent bowel movements in childhood. In "To Have...Read more

Stamp collecting transcends time for Lakewood Ranch family
Bradenton Herald, April 5th

Sy Bricker uses a pair of stamp tongs to gingerly holds a 19th-century Ben Franklin 1 cent definitive stamp. According to Bricker, these stamps were used to pay for postage which was calculated on distance, as opposed to the flat rate first-class...Read more

Stamps, collectors tell stories
The Spokesman Review, March 27th

They measure on average just 3/4 of an inch, but what stories they tell – and so do the people who collect them. Since 1934, members of the Inland Empire Philatelic Society have been meeting to swap stamp stories and share their collections. At a...Read more

Stamp collecting: Truly, frankly, deeply
The Independent, March 25th

It's easy to caricature stamp collectors as qualifying among the world's nerdiest freaks: paper-stroking weirdos, really. But the world of stamps is also about passion, beauty and delight. This week, Sotheby's announced plans to bring to auction the...Read more

Hill collector puts his stamp on 'hobby of kings'
Chestnut Hill Local (blog), March 21st

Harvey Fleegler, a Lafayette Hill resident and former president of the Chestnut Hill-Germantown Stamp Club, has cultivated a love of stamp collecting since his early years. (Photo by Raymond W. Holman, Jr., raymondwholmanjrphoto.wordpress.com)...Read more