Those little squares called “stamps”: we take them for granted (until we need one to mail a birthday card or bill). Stamps (and postage in general) are such a fixture in our daily lives that we kind of ignore them. But they have an interesting history, so here are some “fun facts.”
-Great Britain was the first country to issue stamps. For this reason, it’s the only one that doesn’t need to put their name on it.
-Speaking of the UK, their “penny black” stamp was the first one ever printed. It cost (you guessed it) a penny and featured a profile of Queen Victoria.
-1847 was the first year you could buy stamps from the US government.
-In the 17th century, before stamps, a technique called “candling” was used to suss out how much the postage would be. You held your letter in front of a candle; if it was transparent, the postage was cheaper. The less transparent, the pricier.
-When they landed on the moon in 1969, the Apollo 11 crew made an impression of the moon with a stamp die which was later used to print special stamps.
-In the late 19th century, Belgium attempted to train about 37 cats to deliver mail to more rural areas. They had to ditch the plan because (you guessed it), the cats wouldn’t comply.
-The Elvis Presley stamp, issued in 1993, is the most popular US stamp (over 120 million sold).
-One of the most valuable stamps dates from 1918. Featuring a picture of a biplane, some were accidentally printed upside down. Only 100 copies of the “inverted Jenny” have been located so far.
-The earliest stamps didn’t have any kind of sticky back. People either used their own glue – or found some other way to attach them – including sewing them on to the envelope.
-In 1973, the Asian country of Bhutan created stamps that would play folk songs when placed on a record player. Not to be outdone, in 2013, Belgium printed stamps that smelled (and tasted) like chocolate.
-The most valuable stamp ever sold is the “British Guiana 1c Magenta,” dating to 1856. The little boy who stumbled upon it in 1873 sold it for about 10 cents; it later sold for $9.48 million.
Remember that when postage costs increase, you can always get a better deal for your mail budget through a pre-sort mail company like Corporate Mailing and Data Services. We use the exact same machines as the USPS but we get a discount and pass those savings on to you! Get in touch to learn more.