As of this week, the red paper stamp no longer exists and is controversial. But did you know that a beautiful love story is at the origin of the creation of the stamp We are in 1837, Sir Rowland Hill is sitting in an inn in the north of England where he has lunch. He then witnesses a scene that shocks him: the postman brings a letter to one of the maids, who he takes it, examines it carefully and immediately returns it to him.
At that time, it was not the sender who paid the postal transport tax, but the recipient. And it is calculated not by weight but by distance traveled. Here, the letter comes from London like this the fee is too expensive. As the maid does not have the means to pay her, she tearfully rejects this letter sent by her lover. Rowland Hill then steps in and pays the fee.
A gallant, generous but also curious gesture because Sir Rowland Hill is none other than the director of the English post office. He hands the envelope to the girl, a little embarrassed. And for good reason because Hill then discovers the subterfuge: the envelope was empty. And the maid’s tears were crocodile tears. The maid explains that with her lover, has come up with a code which means that, depending on how the address is written, some signs noted on the envelope, this indicates whether with her lover, they are in good health, when they think they will meet again. In fact, they’re eating into the postal system. Hill thinks so other Brits have to do the same for the same reasons : the prices are too high!
So he decides to reverse things. From now on, it is the sender who will have to frank the mail. Thanks to a sticker pasted on the envelope. But at a fixed price, whatever the distance, now it’s the weight that matters. Thus, on May 6, 1840, the first postage stamp in history was issued – the Black Penny with the image of Queen Victoria. That’s not the most expensive stamp in the world today!
This is the “One Cent Magenta”, a stamp issued in 1856 in British Guiana. There is only one copy, it’s a bit like the Mona Lisa of the philatelists. AND its current price is 7 million euros. To put this amount on a stamp, you have to be stamped!