postage stamps

The History of Postage Stamps

The History Of Postage Stamps

The history of postage stamps is a long and yet beautiful story. This story begins back in the day when adhesive paper stamps were not yet invented. Back then letters were postmarked with ink and hand-stamp made from wood or cork. Postmarking was an invention of Henry Bishop, and at first, it was known as ‘Bishop mark.’ It was first used in London by the General Post Office back in 1661.

The hand-stamps was used to verify payment of postage and also marked the day and month the letter was mailed. This means that letters were being sent without the need to use stamps. Envelopes did not exist or used. This is because envelopes were deemed as an extra sheet of paper that made the overall cost of sending letter more expensive.

To send a letter, you only had to fold it shut, and then the person receiving the letter was required to pay for the delivery fees. However, because back then the delivery cost was too high, many people declined accepting letters. Others came up with a way to send information without paying. These people would write a secret code that explained the message and after the recipient reading the message; they would decline to accept the letter to avoid paying for it.

This is when the postal services come up with the system where postage had to be paid first. This is the time when senders had to pay all fees related to posting a letter.

The Penny Black

The first postage stamp was called Penny Black, and it was validated or released on 6th May 1840. Queen Victoria’s head was the engraving of the stamp and remained in use for the next 60 years.

How Did Penny Black Come To Be, and Why Penny Black?

Well, penny black came to be, because of Rowland Hill and the postal Reforms. Back in 1835, Rowland Hill; who was an English teacher, headmaster, inventor, and social reformer campaigned for postal reforms. He advocated for uniformed penny post, because back then postage rates were based on weight rather than the size.

In 1837, he created the original adhesive postage stamp, and this marked the beginning of adhesive postage stamps. Because of this, he was knighted. The stamp he invented was issued in 1840 in England. This made postal pre-payment services cheap, affordable, and practical.

The name penny black came about because of two factors; the cost and print. When Sir Rowland Hill designed the postage stamp, it only cost one penny. On the other hand, the stamp was published in black. For this reason, the postage stamp became to be known as Penny Black, which is the world’s very prime postage stamp.

After Penny Black was validated on 6th May 1840, the Two Penny Blue stamp was released to the public on 8th May 1840 (which was two days after the release of Penny Black). It also had Queen Victoria’s head engraving. Remember, both stamps were not perforated, because at the time they were separated by a cutting device. For more information on where to buy stamps please visit our website.