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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Penny Black finally at the UPU

16.02.2012 - The first postage stamp in the history of the Post has finally been added to the UPU’s collection, the world’s largest stamp collection.
 The Penny Black featured roman letters in its bottom corners to discourage counterfeit and was without perforations (Photo: UPU)
As it was issued before the birth of the UPU, the Penny Black was missing from the organization’s collection, which contains the official stamps issued by its member countries since its foundation in 1874. The UPU's stamp collection contains more than 800,000 stamps.
"The Penny Black is unique, and its creation is one of the great moments in world postal history," said UPU Director General Edouard Dayan during the unveiling ceremony, held Wednesday 15 February at UPU headquarters.
"It was time for the UPU to acquire the world’s first stamp, representing the start of Britain's postal reform, which served as a basis for UPU principles,” said Patrick Maselis, president of the prestigious Club de Monte-Carlo, who attended the ceremony. The Club de Monte-Carlo draws together the world’s greatest stamp collectors
Quite a symbol
The Penny Black is a symbol in its own right. The stamp features Queen Victoria on a black background and was worth a penny, as its name suggests. The stamp, the brainchild of Sir Rowland Hill, was issued on 6 May 1840 in the United Kingdom during the British postal system reform, which established that the sender of a letter pay for postage, rather than the recipient, as before. Some 70 million Penny Black stamps were printed. 
Following in the United Kingdom’s footsteps, Switzerland and Brazil issued their first postage stamps in 1843, the United States in 1847, and France and Belgium in 1849. Today, all countries issue their own stamps. 
Postage stamps currently generate annual revenue of 27.7 billion dollars for postal operators, and around 50 billion dollars if stamp dealers and auctions are included.
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