Postage stamps and postal history of the United States
About Old Stamps Collecting - Many casual old stamps collectors
accumulate stamps for sheer enjoyment and relaxation without worrying
about the tiny details. The creation of a large or comprehensive old Stamps
collection, however, may require some philatelic knowledge. Postage stamps
are often collected for their historical value and geographical aspects and they
are also collected for the many different subjects that have been depicted on
them, ranging from ships, horses, birds, Kings, Queens and Presidents. Old
stamp collectors are an important source of income for some countries who
create limited runs of elaborate stamps designed mainly to be bought by old
stamp collectors. The stamps produced by these countries may exceed the
postal needs of the countries, but may also feature attractive topical designs
that many collectors would like to have in their stamp album.
Most popular stamps eBay auctions:
ICELAND 1997 stamps Paintings Art on FDC
This is a general historical outline of postage stamps and postal history of the United States of America. The page rarely covers the subjects or topical aspects of individual Postage stamps issues at any length, and only when it is relevant to the issuance of the postage, as some events are solely responsible for the stamp being issued, as is the case with the first Lincoln stamp of 1866, issued on the anniversary of Lincoln's death one year later. This was not a regular issue. The issue was prompted by an event (subject) and only to that extent will the stamp's subject be addressed here.
The question of stamp subjects is, however, discussed in general terms: in particular, the evolving notions over the years of what images are appropriate on a stamp—and under what circumstances. Some attention is thus given to the historical evolution of commemorative stamps, introduced in 1893: at first appearing only infrequently and only in multi-stamp series honoring international expositions, but eventually produced in a continual stream of individual issues. Occasional notice is also taken of the manner in which commemorative and definitive stamps reflected aesthetic, cultural and ideological currents in the United States, particularly during the Roosevelt presidencies and the Cold War.
Chronicled here as well is the periodic introduction of new categories of postage stamps: issued either to allow stamps to be used in a new way (the encased postage stamps of 1862) or, more often, to cover new classes of mail or new methods of delivery. Finally, when necessary, the article touches upon in the evolution of stamp production as a physical process, and the history of Government involvement in it.
Early postal historyMost often postal services began in the first half of the 17th century serving the first American colonies; today, the United States Postal Service is a large government organization providing a wide range of services across the U.S. and its territories abroad.
In the American colonies, informal independently-run postal routes began in Boston as early as 1639, with Boston to New York City service starting in 1672.
Officially-sanctioned mail service began in 1692 when King William III granted to an English nobleman a delivery "patent" that included the exclusive right to establish and collect a formal postal tax on official documents of all kinds. (Years later, taxation implemented through the mandatory purchase of stamps was an issue that helped to spark the American Revolution.) The tax was repealed a year later, and very few were ever actually used in the thirteen colonies, but they saw service in Canada and the British Caribbean islands.
In the years leading up to the American Revolution mail routes among the colonies existed along the few roads between Boston, New York and Philadelphia. In the middle 18th century individuals like Benjamin Franklin and William Goddard were the colonial postmasters who managed the mails then and were the general architects of a postal system that started out as an alternative to the Crown Post (the colonial mail system then) which was now becoming more distrusted as the American Revolution drew near. The postal system that Franklin and Goddard forged out of the American Revolution became the standard for the new U.S. Post Office and is a system whose basic designs are still used in the United States Post Office today.
History of old
Postage old stamp collecting began at the same time that old stamps were
first issued by their country, and by 1860 thousands of collectors and stamp
dealers were appearing around the world as this new study and hobby spread
across Europe, European colonies, the United States and other parts of the
The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued by Britain in 1840 and
pictured a young Queen Victoria. It was
produced without perforations (imperforate) and consequently had to be cut from
the sheet with scissors in order to be used. While unused examples of the "Penny
Black" are quite scarce, used examples are quite common, and may be purchased
for $20 to $200, depending upon condition.
People started to collect stamps almost straight away, one of the earliest
and most notable was John Edward Gray. In 1862 Gray stated that he "began to
collect postage stamps shortly after the system was established and before it
had become a rage".
As the hobby and study of old stamps began to grow stamp albums and old
stamps related literature began to surface and by the early 1880s publishers
like Stanley Gibbons made a business out of this advent. Old Stamps Auction
Children and teenagers were early collectors of old stamps in the 1860s and
1870s. Many adults dismissed it as a childish pursuit but later many of those
same collectors, as adults, began to systematically study the available old
postage stamps and publish books about them. Some stamps, such as the triangular
issues of the Cape of Good Hope, have become legendary.
Old stamp collecting is a less popular hobby today than it was in the early
20th century, but today it is estimated that about 25 million people enjoy the
hobby in the United States, while worldwide the estimated numbers of old stamp
collectors is around 200 million. Tens of thousands of old stamp dealers supply
them with stamps along with stamp albums, catalogues and other publications.
There are also thousands of old stamp (philatelic) clubs and organizations that
provide them with the history and other aspects of old stamps. Today, though the
number of collectors is somewhat less, old stamp collecting is still one of the
world's most popular indoor hobbies.