History Of Postage Stamps

Written by Amy Hall
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The history of postage stamps is vast, as each country around the world began using postal stamps at different times. However, if you want to get a brief background to the world of stamps and philately, please continue to read on and we will delve further into this topic. The very first postage stamp was issued in Great Britain on May 6, 1840, bearing the head of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria's profile remained on stamps for the next 60 years, with 100 different versions to follow during this time period.

Brazil was the second nation in the world to come out with postage stamps. Finally, the United States enters the scene in 1847, with the first two stamps featuring George Washington and Ben Franklin. In 1852, the first pre-stamped envelopes are sold, which are followed 19 years later by pre-stamped postcards. The pre-stamped postcards were sold for only one penny.

In 1855, it became required in the United States for all mail to be prepaid using postage stamps. Some mail up until this point was still being mailed without the use of stamps, with the recipient being charged for the cost of delivery. In 1857, the first perforated stamps made their debut in the United States, which was a blessing because people used to have to cut apart stamps for use from sheets of paper. By 1860, practically all countries around the world had postage stamps for mail delivery.

The Interesting History of Postage Stamps

In 1869, pictorial stamps were introduced in the United States that actually showcased something other than a deceased person. In 1893, commemorative stamps were issued depicting scenes of Columbus' voyage to the New World, and in 1900, the first booklet of stamps was issued for sale. In 1940, Booker T. Washington became the first African-American man issued on any stamp. Moving forward to 1974, the first self-adhesive stamp was issued in America. Of course, prices on stamps have changed through the years, as have the various pictorial scenes and the manner in which stamps are produced and presented to the public for sale.


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