Franklin, Inverted Jenny, Penny Black stamps


The first postage stamp was the Penny Black issued in Great Britain in 1840. In the more than 170 years since, a fascinating history has taken shape.


Not only is the history of stamps and their evolution into the artful collectible they are today an interesting lesson to learn, but the stories that stamps and covers tell as snapshots of a given time and place can also be a true joy.

The Very First Stamps


Legends of the Hobby

Every country that has ever issued stamps—from Great Britain, to the Brazil, to the United States—can point to a single stamp or set as its first. What are the stories behind them? The world's first postage stamp from Great Britain. A truly unique stamp from a tiny South American country. A classic error stamp from the U.S. Meet a few the hobby's most famous rarities.

Postmark & Cancel History


Keep Up With Terms

Collectors often use the terms "postmark" and "cancellation" interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same thing. Learn the history behind the two different types of philatelic collectibles. As stamps have changed over the years, so have has the terminology used to describ and classify them. It's important to keep up and know your lingo.

Read more posts about stamp history:

Getting lost in a Romanian souvenir sheet is a history lesson


Nameless stamps of the Americas and Africa


• Technology has always revolutionized moving the mail


• Landmarks of airmail history: who's on first?


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