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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Alphabetilately

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Recent News: Stamps

Source: Google News

Rancher Warren Sears
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He enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, gardening, stamp collection, collecting Lions pins, keys, going on the honor flight and sending articles to the paper and his underground people called him “The Legend.” In 1975 he was one of the founders and...Read more

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The rising number of households dragged into a higher tax band means the Government is collecting near-record levels of stamp duty from home owners despite far fewer homes changing hands. Stamp duty starts at 1 per cent on sales between £125,000 ...Read more

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We can store up to 2,500 gallons in everything from a 1,100-gallon poly tank to 32-gallon trash barrels, and cheap storage is the key as, when it rains, you wouldn't believe how much rainwater you can collect. (For information on rainwater harvesting...Read more

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Go Banking Rates, July 31st

If a child deposits $25, Arsenal CU gives him/her a free piggy bank and coloring book or activity book. From that point forward, for every $10 that a young member deposits, Arsenal gives one stamp. Collect enough stamps and the member can redeem them ...Read more

Postal Service unveils new Civil War stamps
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Foster Miller, who came from Maryland, has been collecting stamps since he was 10 years old and is a member of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American First Day Cover Society. It's an organization that collects stamps when they are released the...Read more

The stamp of passion
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It's called the king of hobbies and it still has many takers in the age of email and WhatsApp. Kochi is home to thousands of philatelists, or stamp collectors, who eagerly wait for new stamps and collect old and rare stamps as well. “The Philatelic...Read more

Collection has Jose's individual stamp
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Some football fans spend thousands travelling to international matches; some stay home and spend their money in sweepstakes, but few celebrate football the way Jose Vattoth does. The Indian immigrant and Newtown resident has almost 2000 football ...Read more