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10 Facts about Stamps

By William Hartston

  1. odd stampsIn terms of the Retail Price Index, one penny in 1840 would be worth 32p at today’s prices. In terms of average income, however, it would be worth £5.61.
  2. The word ‘stamp-collector’ predates postage stamps by more than a century. In 1710, it was used for a collector or receiver of stamp duties.
  3. The word ‘philately’ was first recorded in 1865.
  4. A British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp was sold at auction in New York in 2014 for a record £5.6 million.
  5. The previous owner of the stamp had died in jail in 2010 after being convicted of murdering an Olympic wrestling champion.
  6. The Royal Mail was created by Henry VIII in 1516. From then until 1840, postage was generally paid by the recipient rather than the sender.
  7. In 1973, Bhutan issued a stamp that could play their national anthem if put on a record player.
  8. The UK is the only country that does not display its name on its postage stamps.
  9. The first non-royal to appear on UK postage stamps was William Shakespeare in 1964.
  10. In 2013, Belgium issued stamps that smelt and tasted of chocolate.(
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