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It happened today – 6 May 1840: The first postage stamp in history comes into effect in the United Kingdom

The postal service is an ancient institution but with the advent of the industrial revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it became a regular public service that was made at the cost of the service. In the nineteenth century the United Kingdom was the most active country in terms of industrial and commercial development and infrastructure and the postal service was an important asset of this strong development, also due to the global reach of the British Empire. Initially, the recipient incurred the cost of the service, but this entailed a certain economic loss because in many cases the recipient was unavailable or rejected the letter, and since the seventeenth century, British postal service administrators introduced an obligation to pay in advance to the sender and proof of payment was certified by Put a stamp called “postpaid” on the dispatched parcel.

In 1830, the London printing press Charles Fenton Whiting invented a special stamp called “Go Free” for use in mailing newspapers by subscription. Four years later, publisher Charles Knight proposed to British Post to generalize the Whiting Method to all mailing correspondence to subscribed newspapers.

In 1837, official Roland Hill devised a comprehensive reform of postal services in the United Kingdom called “Post Office Reform”, which was announced through “Post Circular”, which involved paying a penny by the sender, by proving this with a paper application Adhesive printed on correspondence.

But the path of “post office reform” was not easy because it faced the opposition of the Duke of Wellington and the Prime Minister at the time: Robert Peel but on August 17, 1839 the Reform finally succeeded in passage and it was a general competition. a necklace. It’s called the “Treasury Competition”, to choose the best design for what was to become the world’s first stamp. The drawing should have included the initials “VR”, which stands for “Queen Victoria”, the historical epoch that gave the name to the famous “Victorian Era”.

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The prize was £ 600. The competition was attended by 2,700 works, many of them by Charles Fenton Whiting, which were exhibited at Buckingham Palace. But the examination committee was unable to reach agreement on the best job and the award was split between four equal benefits. In the end it was agreed to use the image taken from a commemorative medallion depicting Queen Victoria, to which the word “POSTAGE” had to be added. Painter Edward Henry Corbold was assigned the task of authoring the picture, writing and engravers Frederick and Charles Heath with the task of making the steel stamp for print. On December 16, 1839, the printing of the stamp was contracted with the Perkins Bacon & Co. in London. In fact, production was twofold: a “black penny” for regular mail and a “blue penny” for heavier mail.

By May 1, 1840, the supply was complete to all post offices in the kingdom; The following May 6 began selling to the public.

Earl Warner

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