Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today In History; World's First Adhesive Postage Stamp Issued

1840: The world's first adhesive postage stamp was issued in England. The stamp, which was black in color, boasted the profile of Queen Victoria. Since the stamp cost one penny and was black, it was called the "Penny Black." The stamp's issuance was part of reforms to the domestic postal system proposed by the U.K.'s Postmaster General, Sir Roland Hill. Parliament accepted Hill's reform package in 1839, passing the Penny Postage Act, which stipulated a uniform postage rate (a penny) for a letter to be paid by the sender. Up until this time, the cost had been determined by the weight of the letter and the distance it had to travel - and was paid by the recipient.

Today, a stamp collector (or philatelist) can pay as much as $3,000 for a Penny Black.

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