World Stamps

Special pane marks Penny Black’s 180th anniversary

May 14, 2020, 3 PM
Great Britain commemorates the 180th anniversary of the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black of 1840, on this pane of 25 stamps issued May 6. The stamps in the pane reuse the design of a 2015 stamp marking the Penny Black’s 175th anniversary.

By Denise McCarty

Great Britain’s Royal Mail celebrated the 180th anniversary of the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, by issuing a special pane of stamps on May 6.

The pane includes 25 nondenominated first-class stamps with a stamp-on-stamp design of the 1840 1-penny black stamp showing Queen Victoria (Great Britain Scott 1).

According to Royal Mail, the stamps in the new pane are the same as the gummed first-class stamps issued May 6, 2015, for the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black (Scott 3993a).

The new pane includes inscriptions on the selvage attached to the stamps. The inscription at the top of the pane reads, “180th Anniversary of the Penny Black 6 May 1840– 6 May 2020.”

Inscriptions on the left side and at the bottom paraphrase those found on sheets of 240 of the 1840 Penny Black. At the time, postage stamps were called “labels.”

Inscribed in the left margin of the anniversary pane is “Place the labels above the address and towards the right-hand side of the letter.”

At the bottom is “Price 76p per label. £3.80 per row of 5. £19.00 per sheet.”

The date on which the new pane was printed “25/02/20” is among the inscriptions in the selvage on the right.

The pane measures 121 millimeters by 140mm.

For ordering information, visit the Royal Mail website. Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland. Royal Mail’s agency in the United States is Interpost, Box 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.

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