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Blog > Mulready stationery


To many, the name “Mulready” might not ring a bell… but more avid postcard-connoisseurs will know that these were the grandfathers of postcards! Introduced in May 6, 1840, Mulready stationery were pre-paid postal envelopes designed by artist William Mulready as an alternative to the Penny Black stamp. Despite the intricate design symbolizing the British postal system’s reach, they were mercilessly mocked at the time and overshadowed by the popularity of adhesive postage stamps.

Sometime ago, Graham Beck from popular Youtube channel Exploring Stamps produced this great video about Mulready stationery, in which he interviewed Robin Cassell at Stampex. Robin is an expert and dealer of this type of items, and tells its fascinating and troubled story. If you like philately and postcard history, don’t miss it!

Are there other videos or resources out there about postcards that we should check out? Let us know in the comments — we’re always eager to learn more!

23 comments so far

beesknees, United States of America

These envelopes are gorgeous. Thanks for continuing to introduce new topics - very interesting

Hemang, India

Watched this video few days ago, it was the most informative and cool video, so mucu history in these envelopes!! Really awesome Mulready!
Thank you so much for sharing

CindyMc, United States of America

This is a fascinating story! I had never heard of a Mulready. Thanks for the information!

sunandabhowmick, India

How interesting. Thank you for sharing this 😊

PamF, United States of America

Thank you for this. I am a Brit living in the US and have never heard of these. Very informative.

mysweetlife63, United States of America

Really interesting. I had never heard of this artist.

DarciNZ, New Zealand

In New Zealand in "the postcard mania of the early 20th century," tourists sent local leaves as postcards from Stewart Island because they were sturdy and easy to write on and even took a stamp easily. They were leathery, didn't turn brittle or discolour over time. Here's a good article with a photo:
When I was in Stewart Island 7 years ago, I was given one of these leaves and was told its history as a postcard. It's still in great condition, so I can see how sturdy they were for unique postcards.

wendyquilter, Canada

I had not heard of these envelopes before and found the video quite fascinating! Thank you for introducing us to the Mulready envelopes!

MishaMellow70, United States of America

I love this story, so enjoyed looking at the wonderful artwork and learning about the Mulready envelopes!

madeinfrench, France

Very interesting ! Thank you

mapa, Belgium

Very interesting! So much to learn about postcards all around the world and in the time! Thanks a lot for sharing

Demmi, Romania

#fascinatingstory I had never heard of a Mulready.
Thanks for the information & sharing!
#Kudos #Postcrossing #Kudos @meiadeleite

Flippie, Canada

Thank you for the story and yes I love to learn more.....

postcardsFromBella, United States of America

These are new to me. Thanks for introducing us to these envelopes. I've also seen Victorian caricatures on antique trade cards.

Bowyum, Australia

It is a common misconception that these were the first ever examples of prepaid stationery. In fact, prepaid envelopes were first introduced in what was then the colony of New South Wales (ie. Australia) in 1838.

Anjelikka, United States of America

Kind of reminds me of envelope art, which I enjoy doing as well as postcrossing. Thank you for sharing this information.

Gaanzee, Canada

That is so interesting !Thank you !

babytreese, United States of America

Love these envelopes! Never heard of this history...thanks so much for this information!

FRANCK63, France

super intéressant
voici un lien en Français , bonne lecture a tous

Mezzosoprano, Germany

this style reminds me of Wilhelm Busch - illustrations, and of the artwork of the last Queen album "Innuendo" (also the video)

Luziaceleste, Brazil

All new for me. So, enjoyed a lot. Thanks.
And right on time to exemplify the roots of x-mas cards.

Loli-ts, Spain

So many lovely details on the drawings!! Thanks for illustrating us!

Owlagdad, United States of America

Fascinating! History and philately add so much to postcrossing.

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