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The Penny Black

The Penny Black

Is this an icon?

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The Penny Black

Imagine a postal system where the person receiving the letter is the one who has to pay, where the price is based on the distance it has travelled, and where there is no adhesive stamp! This is what things were like before the arrival of the Penny Black in 1840. Its introduction shifted the cost of postage to the sender and put a stop to the complicated pricing of post by introducing the uniform low rate of one penny. The stamp was the product of industrial technology new to the 19th century, and features the portrait of a young Queen Victoria, designed to strike the right note of classical authority and confidence – but is it iconic?

Did you know that in honour of the introduction of the Penny Black, the United Kingdom is uniquely exempt from the rule that every stamp must carry the name of the issuing country?

Image reproduced by kind permission of The British Postal Museum & Archive. Copyright Royal Mail Group 2005.

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Your comments

It is the most famous postage stamp ever issued, and ushered in the modern British postal system

Stuart Walton

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Whenever you see people on an English programme they're alwys eating fish and chips!.

ERIK VALESTRAND

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