Postage stamps haven't always been around. This article serves as a guide to Great Britain stamps.
There have been established postal services since 300BC - but instead of being inside envelopes, these letters were written on clay tablets and encased in more clay.
Servants of the court carried these letters and this correspondence was only available to those of high rank and royalty. Postmarks The postage stamp, as it is known today didn't exist until 1840.
Previously, letters were postmarked with ink and recipient paid upon delivery of their letter. Postmarks were established in 1661, by Henry Bishop.
He first used the concept of postmarks at the London General Post Office. The "Bishop mark" included the day and month the letter was mailed.
This term eventually came to be called postmark.
In 1837, British schoolmaster Rowland Hill instead invented the first adhesive postal stamp. Hill went on to receive a knighthood for his invention.
Hill is also credited with developing universal postal rates, which gave rise to the more convenient prepayment for mailing letters through the postal service.
The first stamp
The first adhesive postal stamp to be released was Great Britain's Penny Black on which the profile of Queen Victoria was engraved.
It was released on May 6, 1840.
This was the first issue of a sheet of stamps; there were 240 stamps to a sheet and each stamp had to be cut out. Queen Victoria's profile remained on all the British stamps for the next 60 years.
In a parliamentary session of 1851, one Mr. Archer issued perforated stamps in the House of Commons. The British government, recognising a good thing when it saw one, paid Mr. Archer 4,000 pounds for the patent.
The first officially perforated stamps were issued in January 1854.
Other countries After the establishment of the stamp in the British realm, Brazil issued its own stamp in 1843. Other countries followed suit, and stamps were used globally, but not internationally. Stamps were used for internal postal exchange, so the names of their respective countries were not imprinted on the stamps. The Universal Postal Union, established in 1874, set out requirements for the production and distribution of stamps, and one of those requirements was that the name of the country of origin be included on the stamp. This regulation, however, did not apply to Britain's stamps. The portrait of the reigning monarch was considered sufficient identification.
You can now use the internet to buy your postage stamps on line. You can also buy a stamp catalogue to keep all your rare UK postage stamps.
Why not check out Ebay for stamps for your very own stamp album?