Rowland Hill's reform, introduced in 1839-40 changed communications for ever, the most significant was that a uniform postage rate should apply to all parts of the kingdom, increments of cost being dependent on the weight of the item and not the distance travelled with payment being made by the sender. This led to the introduction of a brilliantly simple devise, the world’s first postage stamp the so-called Penny Black, issued on 6 May 1840.
The growth in the volume of mail, which had reached 50 million items in 1838, was a result of the Industrial Revolution and the growth of literacy. It was now a period of social as well as commercial correspondence and cost was an important factor.
To this day Britain does not put the name of the country on her stamps, a portrait of the monarch being seen as enough. As the issuers of the first postage stamp this is accepted internationally.
Philatelists will often collect the entire period from 1840 onwards, the most popular stamp albums being those produced by Stanley Gibbons, the “Windsor” series being the most comprehensive of the specially- printed albums. Other stamp collectors might choose to collect their philatelically favourite reigns whether it is of Queen Victoria 1840 - 1901; King Edward VII 1901 - 1910; King George V 1910 – 1936; King Edward VIII 1936; King George VI 1936 – 1952 or Queen Elizabeth II from 1952 to the present day.
Collectors of GB stamps will often subscribe to the Post Offices new issues service whilst obtaining older stamps. There are areas of great specialization with many outstanding books and catalogues to aid the philatelist, often published by Stanley Gibbons and containing the sum of years of diligent research by generations of philatelists. If there is a specific area you would like to specialise in please let us know.