World's First Postage Stamp

Today, stamps are a natural part of our everyday life, but even they had to be invented. The credit for this is given to an English schoolmaster, Rowland Hill, who was responsible for getting the introduction of the uniform penny post and prepaid stamps through Parliament. The stamp was born on May 6, 1840.

It did not take long for the interest in stamp collecting to spread, particularly after several other countries had followed Britain’s lead. But the first to register her interest was a lady who advertised in 'The Time' for used stamps to decorate her room. She already had 16,000. Today, her boudoir would have been worth a fortune.

Strangely enough, the central postal authorities were not impressed by Rowland Hill’s proposal. His scheme was described in these quarters as the most unreasonable and senseless suggestion yet received. But their objections were put to shame. With the introduction of the stamp, the volume of letters grew rapidly. The stamp came to have enormous significance for the exchange of mail and thus also for trade, Culture and social Conditions.

Rowland Hill deserved to be knighted and given a place of honor in Westminster Abbey among the great heroes of the British Isles.

The first stamp was given an elegant, highly artistic design showing Queen Victoria in classic profile. Although perhaps not the way we are accustomed to envisaging her, the stamp was inspired by a medal that was coined for the Queen’s ceremonial procession into London in 1837, when she was 18 years old.

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