World Stamps

Place your face next to the Penny Black

May 2, 2021, 5 PM

A personalized, or Smilers, pane from Great Britain will allow you to place your own photograph next to Queen Victoria on a "refreshed" design of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black.

Great Britain's Royal Mail is offering postal customers an opportunity to appear alongside an image of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black issued May 6, 1840.

Royal Mail will issue a souvenir sheet May 6 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black and its higher-valued companion stamp, the Two-Penny Blue. Both show images of a young Queen Victoria. The souvenir sheet contains four nondenominated first-class stamps recreating the designs of the two 1840 stamps. Royal Mail calls them "refreshed designs."

At the same time, Royal Mail will issue stamp panes with 10 or 20 of the refreshed Penny Black first-class stamps and se-tenant labels that can be personalized as part of its Smilers' service.

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Royal Mail suggests, "You can have your image or that of a loved one printed on the labels perhaps even in period dress. Alternatively philatelic societies can submit their logos to use the label and stamp to promote upcoming events or celebrate anniversaries."

The selvage area of these Smilers panes show a representation of a sheet of Penny Black stamps, including the corner lettering system designed by Rowland Hill, the British postal reformer considered the "father of the postage stamp."

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