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Saturday, November 21, 2009


The Penny Black, introduced by the U.K. in 1840, is the world's first adhesive postage stamp, and is perhaps the most famous stamp ever issued. This stamp depicts a likeness of a young Queen Victoria and, because of the stamp's black colour and a denomination of one penny, it has come to be known as the "Penny Black".
The background
In the early days of postal service, stamps and envelops did not exit. When you want to send a letter you would fold it up and seal it shut, and then the person who received the letter had to pay the delivery costs. Since Postal rate at that time were very high, many people refused to accept letters. In 1812 the rate of single letter was 4d, for a distance of not more than fifteen miles. A letter from London to Brighton cost 8d, to Nottingham 10d and over the Scott border to Edinburgh is 1 1/2d which was a days salary then. Many people developed secret codes by which could cheat the postal services. they would place secret marks on the outside of the letter that conveyed their message and all the addressee had to do the read secrete message , refuse to accept the letter and thus not have to pay it.
The man behind the first stamp
The man behind the first stamps was an Englishman names Rowland Hill . born in 1795 in Kidderminster on 3 December 1795, a small town in west England. His father was a teacher.
In 1837 Rowland Hill , the British postmaster General, introduced the ' Post Office Reforms : its Importance and Practicability in 1837, when he was 42,Hill condemned the unwieldy methods of transmitting letters, which he claimed were mainly responsible for the problem. He proposed that the assessment of postage cost depending on the number of sheets including the wrapper as an extra sheet, and the distance travelled should be scrapped.
Mail could be sent to any destination in the U.K. at a uniform rate of a penny per half-ounce of weight, no matter how long the distance involved.
Postage would be prepaid by the sender of the message prior to mailing and not by the addressee
Proof of prepayment of the postage was to evidenced by affixing a small piece of coloured paper ( stamp) on the outside if the letter prior to mailing.
Rowland Hill's proposed reforms were passed by Parliament in 1839 in the form of penny postage act.
Hill appointed to the Treasury on 16th September 1939 to begin work on postal changes.
The treasury invited the public to submit suggestions for the design of the gummed labels which Hill proposed that the Post office should issue at one penny each.
Moe than 2000 suggestions were submitted but only 49 related adhesive stamps. It was Rowland own suggestions which was developed into the finished design. It was the profile of Queen Victoria, based on a portrait made when she was an eighteen old princess. It was also used on a medal designed by William Wyon, which was struck for the occasion of Queen's first official entrance into the city of London in 1837.