THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Launch of the Penny Black Stamp
On this day in history, 6th May 1840, the world’s first ever pre-paid postage stamp was issued – the iconic Penny Black.
The brainchild of Rowland Hill who led the campaign in the 1830s for a universal penny postage stamp, the Penny Black is commonly regarded as one of the pillars of the Victorian Age.
The Penny Black, issued by Great Britain was the world's first adhesive postal stamp used by a public postal system.
The stamp features a profile of a young Queen Victoria.
In 1837 it was normal for the recipient to pay postage on delivery, charged by the sheet and on distance traveled making posting and receiving a simple letter a complex affair.
To simplify things, Rowland Hill proposed an adhesive stamp to indicate pre-payment of postage.
The Penny Black and later other stamps, allowed letters of up to 1⁄2 ounce (14 grams) to be delivered, regardless of distance at a flat rate of one penny.
The total print run was 286,700 sheets, a total of 68,808,000 stamps, each now worth around £500.
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