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Blog > The Penny Black turns 175!

Happy birthday, Penny Black! The world’s first adhesive postage stamp was introduced 175 years ago today, on May 1st 1840, as part of Sir Rowland Hill's postal reforms which paved the way to the modern postal system.

Penny Black

Featuring the profile of Queen Victoria, the Penny Black was sold for just one year, as it was discovered the red ink being used to cancel it was too easily removed… In 1841, it was replaced by the Penny Red, which was easier to cancel using black ink.

It’s not a very rare stamp, as over 68 million specimens were printed, but very few complete sheets have survived. The ones that have now belong to the British Postal Museum and you can see them up close on their upcoming exhibition about this famous stamp. It will run from May 6th until August 7th, in London.


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18 comments so far

ned44440, Ireland
175 years! Long may the Postal Service continue.

Russian_Ivan, Russia
he Russians have made this brand Как-то так

Augenstern, Austria
Austrian Post issues a souvenir sheet to commemorate the Penny Black:

Geminiscp, Portugal
happy birthday! :D

fatemah_ms, Kuwait
So interesting !

Robert-in-Australia, Australia
Happy Birthday Ms Black.. and many happy returns .. May the skills of expressing ourselves in written form, using a pen and not a keyboard remain forever.

Bowyum, Australia
I have an example, still on cover, dated 23 Nov 1840. Not terribly rare or valuable, but it is my most treasured piece of postal history.

Kat_44, United States of America
Very interesting story. Thanks for the lesson.

mahantesh1987, India
Happy Birthday Penny Black....

kamikm, United States of America
I have one in my collection; nice stamp. I love all stamps!! I can't wait to see all the stamps that will be issued to commemorate this!! :-D
Keep writing people!! Keep our postal systems going!!

Raz, Malaysia
Malaysia has issued a Miniature Sheet to commemorate the Penny Black.

parudnick, Germany
A Landmark in stamp history. Many happy returns ;-), Mrs. Black.

fisherman, Ireland
Along with other Postcrossers we took the London Postal History tour on Saturday and it is a great way to learn about the Penny Black and the contribution of Sir Rowland Hill to early Postal Systems. On May 6th Royal Mail is issuing new stamps to commemorate the 175th anniversary.

kenpotato, China
It is such a great invention and the charm of this tiny little square piece of paper is everlasting to me. I have one sample and quite a number of penny reds. I just cannot get enough.
Happy birthday, Ms Black!

bodrumlu, Turkey
that's great to know how history of stamps has begun. Royal Mail is the best.

kandan, India
It is great pleasure to note that 'Post crossing ' is remembering the "Penny Black".Thanks a lot

Esman, Zimbabwe
It is very interesting to learn about the Penny Black.I didn't know about the first stamp until this moment.I guess this new knowledge is my birthday present.

Mosshumla, Sweden
Today I received a russian postcard with their commemorative 175-years-Black-Penny-stamp-stamp. Very beautiful stamp! Hope to receive more of the commemorative stamps from all over the world.