A postage stamp is an adhesive label pasted on envelopes and other postal articles as an evidence of the pre-payment of fee for postal services. Postage stamps are issued by the government and sold through various outlets such as post offices.
Postage stamps are issued in different shapes and sizes, with figures and images such as personalities, flowers, animals, and birds printed on them. There are commemorative postage stamps dedicated to various important events. Postage stamps are also issued to honor national luminaries or other very important personalities. There are also various other types of postage stamps celebrating diverse cultures and geographical features. Birds and animals are the theme of many a postage stamp. Great Britain’s postage stamps do not bear a name, but always feature a photograph of its current reigning monarch.
Postage stamps vary according to their usage. Airmail stamps, postage due stamps, special delivery stamps, and express mail stamps are the main types of postage stamps in use. The values of postage stamps generally vary by the weight of the postal article and the nature of the mail. There are self-adhesive stamps and water-activated stamps. Postage stamps generally carry information such as the name of the country, year, and the value of the stamp.
United Kingdom was the first country to issue postage stamps. It was James Chalmers of Great Britain who first put forwarded the idea of adhesive postage stamps in the early 19th century. The credit of inventing the first adhesive postage stamp goes to Rowland Hill, an employee of the British Post Office. The world’s first prepaid postage stamp was issued on May 6, 1840. Known by the name Penny Black, it carried the profile of Queen Victoria. Adhesive postage stamps were officially issued in the United States in 1847. To the credit of William Barry is the invention of the postmarking and canceling machine.