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Postage Stamps and Stamp Collection

Updated on September 30, 2007
First postage stamp of the world.
First postage stamp of the world.
One of the first US stamps dipicting Benjamin Franklin
One of the first US stamps dipicting Benjamin Franklin
The other first US stamp dipicting George Washington
The other first US stamp dipicting George Washington

Postage Stamps

A Postage Stamp, a small paper with pictures and other information printed on it, is primarily used as an evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. This also has become a collectors item and the stamp collecting has attracted several millions world over including kings and queens. The stamp collecting is some times called as the 'king of hobbies and the hobby of kings'.

  • First postage stamp was issued by Great Britain in 1840, as a part of reforms in postal system based on a proposal by Rowland Hill.
  • The first stamp was bearing the profile of the head of queen Victoria. As the face value of the stamp was 1 penny and black in colour, its was popularly called as Penny Black.
  • In US the first stamps were issued on 1st of July 1947 in New York City. Two stamps with face values of 5-cents and 10-cents respectively were issued in that occasion. 5- cent stamp, in red brown colour depicted Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general of the US, and the other stamp was printed with a picture of George Washington.

Various Aspects of Stamps

As the interest in stamp collecting grew and the field expanded to cover various aspects of postage stamps, the collectors started studying stamps in details. Value of a stamp depends of its rarity. Therefore, collectors try to find something that differentiates their collection from others. A stamp can vary in many ways from another. These variations can make a stamp different from another similar looking stamp. Collectors' study normally includes the following aspects of a stamp to find differences:

  • Colour
  • Paper
  • Water Marks
  • Perforations
  • Printing Process

When a particular stamp is used for long period of time it has to be reprinted several times. This can lead to variations in stamps. Generally the variations occur in the above-mentioned aspects of the Stamp.

British Guiana 1¢ magenta
British Guiana 1¢ magenta
Treskilling Yellow
Treskilling Yellow
Benjami Franklin Z-grill
Benjami Franklin Z-grill

Some Notable and Rare Stamps

A Stamp issued by British Guiana in 1856, known as British Guiana 1¢ magenta is one of the most rare stamps in the world. Only one specimen of this stamp is said to exist now. In 1980 it was sold at $935,000.

Treskilling Yellow is a stamp with a rare error. This was issued by Sweden in 1855. This stamp with a face value of 3 skilling had been erroneously printed in yellowish orange colour, instead of blue-green colour. In 1990 this stamp was sold for over 1 million US dollars, and in 1996 it went for 2.5 million Swiss Francs. At that time it was the most valuable stamp in the world.

US Postal Service issued a stamp now known by the name Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill in 1868. This consisted of a feature called Z-grill, a pattern embossed on the backside of the stamp, to improve the ability of the stamp to absorb the canceling ink. It is believed that there are only two specimens existing now. Currently the value of the stamp is estimated at US $ 3 million.

Inverted Jenny.
Inverted Jenny.
Invert CIA
Invert CIA
Correct specimen of Inverted CIA
Correct specimen of Inverted CIA

Errors

At times errors can occur in stamps due to faults either in design or printing. Sometimes these errors are detected after they were released for sale, and few of these stamps get into the hands of collectors. Stamps with errors are generally scarcer, and become more valuable than the perfect specimens.

Some notable stamps with errors

Inverted Jenny: Inverted Jenny is a stamp issued by US in 1918. The stamp consists of an image of an airplane named Curtiss JN-4. Due to a prinitng error, the image had been printed upside down. In 2005 this stamp was sold in an auction for US$ 525,000.

CIA Invert: Another US stamp with error known as CIA invert was issued in 1979, and one of the sheets had the handle holder, printed in black, inverted in relation to the yellow, red and white colour portions representing the flame and background for the flame. The stamp is valued at US $ 15,000.

A stamp catalogues are basically a list of descriptions and prices. However, this is an important item for stamp collectors. As the number of stamps to be listed are large, currently, the catalogues are broken into several volumes.

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    • profile image

      mark cris 

      6 years ago

      I have a reproduction of the famous one cent black on magenta stamp , made in 2/23/1967 . does anyone know what it's worth ?

    • profile image

      marcab 

      6 years ago

      hi, i have this enlarged reproduction of the original stamp the 24 cents inverted jenny, together with the 22 kmailt. gold replica in a white envelop with the words /the first day of issue of the original stamp: may 13,1918 , anyone interested contact me with your offer at marcab@mailcity.com

    • profile image

      bobby Gorge 

      8 years ago

      Hi,

      I am a teacher.I am having 50 country stamps...I want help to under the price. Having many very rare stamps like Penny Black stamp.

      contact me on princes.bobby@gmail.com

    • profile image

      McGee 

      8 years ago

      I found an old Postage stamp among my grandmothers things and am curious to find out weither or not it is worth anything. On the Stamp it reads "Louis Sullivan 1856-1924 Bank Owatonna Minn Architecture USA 18c". If anyone has any info let me know.

    • profile image

      clifford sookhan 

      8 years ago

      i have some postal stamps from 1933/1970

      interested call 669-1482 clifford sookhan

    • profile image

      Debasis Karan 

      8 years ago

      I am collecting Stamps since 1975 and so far I have collected 4 albums (complete. I would like to show these stamps an like to know the present value of these stamps.

      It is one of my hobbies and it is enlighted me.

    • profile image

      Brian 

      8 years ago

      AN OLD GREAT UNCLE OF MINE PASSED AWAY ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO AND HE WAS A GREAT FAN OF ROBERT BURNS, I WAS GOING THROUGH SOME OF THE ITEMS THAT HE LEFT ME AND IN A BOOK WAS THREE STAMPS OF ROBERT BURNS THEY ARE QUITE LARGE 50 X 35cm BLUE AND WHITE IN COLOUR WITH A SOLTIRE AND A PICTURE OF ROBERT BURNS AND A POEM THE BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AN MEN ROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE STAMPS,THERE IS NO POSTAGE VALUE ON THE STAMPS, I HAVE SEARCHED THE INTERNET BUT CANT FIND ANYTHING ABOUT THEM CAN ANYONE HELP PLEASE

    • profile image

      Stamp lover 7 

      9 years ago

      I've been collecting stamps since i was 7 yr ,but i've lost my collection in a bag in 1991 while traviling ,but i never stop .Now i'm in my mid 30 i have great collection .I'm crazy about the one cent magenta.Do you have one for me ? HA HA HA JOKING.

    • Rmnathan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rmnathan 

      9 years ago from Sharjah

      Good, it is a very interesting hobby.

    • Guardian1 profile image

      Guardian1 

      9 years ago

      Great hub. I'm slowly becoming addicted to stamp collecting.

    • futuremaxima profile image

      futuremaxima 

      9 years ago from NY

      I got my first stamp album as a kid at a garage sale and it ballooned from there!

    • profile image

      invisable 

      9 years ago

      i have a 1868 z-grill i just found in one of my dead step dads collection and been lookin for some one with 3 million to buy it if you have 3 million e mail me at invisablerecord@yahoo.com and i'll send you a picture and will see what you want to do

    • subamenu profile image

      subamenu 

      10 years ago from Dubai

      i MADE SOME HUBS ON STAMP COLLECTING OF ROYAL WEDDINGS AND POST INDEPENDENCE INDIA.INVITE EVERYBODY TO VISIT.https://hubpages.com/education/royal-weddings...

    • subamenu profile image

      subamenu 

      10 years ago from Dubai

      Dear Ramanathan I appreciate this Hub,very useful for philatelists.I am expecting more Hubs like this.

    • profile image

      monografiaac 

      10 years ago from Brazil

      Stamps are many times the entry door to several other kinds of collections to many people. Despite its fascinating and really state of art of some stamp collections, unfortunately many people do not consider the real importance of this hobby, or better saying, this passion!!

    • profile image

      ms. jane 

      10 years ago

      hello, i have 337 pcs of global postage stamp from 1940's. Is it for sale? pls email me at arevtea@yahoo.com.

      Or call Ms. Jane #4141323. Sta. Mesa Heigths Quezon City Philippines.

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 

      11 years ago from Cave Creek

      Stamps are like miniature art works. Thanks for doing such a nice page!

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 

      11 years ago from Singapore / India

      I had a good collection till a few years ago. I gave it to my nephew after he got so involved with philately and numismatics. When I was young and collecting, I used to dream of owning a Penny Black someday! Great hub my friend.

    • Rmnathan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rmnathan 

      11 years ago from Sharjah

      I had a lot of old stamps which was collected during 60s and 70s, but all my stamps have been lost due to unsettled conditions in our area. I also had quite a number of coins including some, belong to 17th and 18th centuries, issued during dutch rule in Sri Lanka. These were lost with my stamps.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      11 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      I don't actively collect any more, but I still have my collection of UK George V stamps and a lot of First Day Covers from my schooldays in 50s & 60s.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      11 years ago from North Carolina

      I used to collect stamps when I was going to school, now I just passed it to my niece. It is a great hobby.

    • Rmnathan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rmnathan 

      11 years ago from Sharjah

      I too have been doing it since my childhood, but not continuosly. Now I am collecting UAE stamps.

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 

      11 years ago from NSW, Australia

      collecting stamps must be one of the most popular hobbies in the world. i have been collecting stamps since i was in high school. i just love the intricate designs in stamps.

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