The U. S. Post Office First Issues The Postage Stamp

On July 1, 1847, the United States Post Office issued its first general issue postage stamp, a five-cent stamp honoring Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress, and a ten-cent stamp honoring George Washington.

The first U.S. postal cards were issued in 1873, the first commemorative stamps in 1893, and the first airmail stamps in 1918.

Stamp collecting became a popular hobby. View an 1889 album designed for collecting postage stamps, The Duke's Postage Stamp Album, available through The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920.

Although James Chalmers and Lovrenc Košir lay claim to the concept of the postage stamp, postage stamps were first introduced in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on May 1, 1840 as part of postal reforms promoted by Rowland Hill. With its introduction the postage fee was to be paid by the sender and not the recipient, though sending mail prepaid was not a requirement. The first stamp, the Penny Black, put on sale on 1 May, was valid from 6 May, 1840; two days later came the Two pence blue. Both show an engraving of the young Queen Victoria and were a success though refinements like perforations were instituted later. At the time, there was no reason to include the United Kingdom's name on the stamp, and the UK remains the only country not to identify itself by name on the stamps (the monarch's head is used as identification).

Stamps were not officially perforated until January 1854, except in the parliamentary session of 1851, when stamps perforated by Mr. Archer were issued at the House of Commons. In 1853, the Government paid Mr. Archer £4,000 for the patent.