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The Stamp Without A Name

penny-black-stamp

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • reign: to occupy the royal throne
  • monarch: a person who inherited the throne and acts as the head of state
  • adhesive: sticky
  • recipient: the person who receives the item
  • dramatically: in a very noticeable amount or way
  • cancellation: the act of making something void (no longer usable)
  • commemorative: in honour or memory of a special person or event
  • silhouette: a dark filled-in outline of a shape set against a lighter background

The Stamp Without A Name

Great Britain is the only country in the world that does not feature name on its postage stamp. Unlike all other stamps, this stamp is identified by an image of its reigning monarch. Great Britain was the first country to issue an adhesive postage stamp. When the first stamps were issued on May 1st, 1840, Britain’s stamp featured a young Queen Victoria. The first stamp was referred to as the “Penny Black”. this postage stamp, it was the recipient who had to pay for the delivery of mail rather than the . The UK’s postal service had no way to collect the money if the recipient couldn’t pay. Mail service in the UK increased dramatically after the postage stamp was introduced. In 1841, Britain issued a new stamp called the “Penny Red”. A new and improved black cancellation mark was to see on the red stamp, and made it harder for people to reuse stamps. Before long many other countries began using pre-paid postage stamps for mail delivery. Today, commemorative and pictorial stamps are common in many countries, including Britain. On British stamps, the monarch’s head is always present, though often only in silhouette in the corner of the stamp.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who paid for mail service in the UK before the invention of the postage stamp?
  2. What is NOT featured on a British stamp?
  3. Why did the UK postal service change from the “Penny Black” to the “Penny Red”?

Discussion Question: How often do you purchase stamps and send “snail mail” to friends or family members? Do you think the tradition of writing and sending letters via the postal service will ever make a comeback?

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