The very first postage stamp appeared 175 years ago - on May 6, 1840 in England. Moreover, we are talking about the stamp that was glued to the envelope. Earlier, in various countries of the world, they used revenue stamps, which were used as confirmation of the payment of taxes and duties.
Rowland Hill, an English astronomy teacher, suggested using stamps as postage. On his advice, the post offices began to use "a piece of paper large enough to serve as a mark and covered with adhesive on the back."
This idea came to Hill in Scotland, where he witnessed an interesting incident. One day a postman came into the inn where Hill was at that time with a letter for the maid. The girl was clearly delighted, but refused to receive correspondence. At that time, according to the rules of the post office, the recipient had to pay for the letter.
Hill paid the postman three and a half shillings, which was how much the delivery cost at the time, but the girl said that she did not need the letter, since there was nothing in the envelope. As it turned out, he and his brother, who lives in London, have long had such a strange correspondence. Her brother sent her an empty envelope, which meant that he was all right. The sister refused to accept the letter, and it went back to the sender. Having received his letter back, the brother understood that everything was fine with his sister.
Later, Hill found out that this was far from an isolated case. This "silent" correspondence was used by many people in Great Britain. The post office suffered considerable losses.
That's when Rowland Hill came up with the idea of using postage stamps. Interestingly, the English Post Office generously thanked Hill: a few years later he was appointed postmaster general, and later received a knighthood. A monument to him is erected in London, and the postmaster is buried in Westminster Abbey.
The first postage stamps, dubbed "black penny, " featured the profile of Queen Victoria, and were also labeled "postage" and "one penny." Englishman J.E. Gray is considered the world's first collector of postage stamps. Immediately after the release of the "black penny", he acquired stamps not for use in mailing, but for the collection.
Gradually, Hill's invention spread throughout the world. In 1843, postage stamps began to be used in Zurich, Geneva and Brazil. In December 1857, the first postage stamps were issued in Russia. They began to be used on January 1, 1858.