B2 Reading Multiple Matching Exam 13
(A) The Penny Black
The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp, it was issued in the UK on the 1st of May 1840. The government announced a competition to design the new stamps, however, none of the first entries we good enough. Eventually the stamp was printed using a drawing of Queen Victoria at the age of 15, it showed her head drawn from the side with fine engravings of machine parts in the background. This design was chosen because it was thought the detail would make it difficult to forge. The sketch was drawn by the artist Henry Corbould and printed onto the stamps by Perkins Bacon. As the name suggests, the stamp was printed in black with the words “ Postage” across the top and “one penny” across the bottom. Stamps from the United Kingdom are still the only ones in the world that do not have their country printed on them. Sadly the Penny Black was only used for about a year because even though the picture was hard to forge it was quite easy for the stamps to be removed from envelopes and re-used.
(B) The Inverted Jenny
During the 1910's the US post office experimented with carrying mail by air, and decided to start a regular service on May 15, 1918, flying between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. The Post Office set a price of 24 cents for the service, much higher than the normal 3 cents for first-class mail and decided to issue a new stamp printed in red and blue with a picture of a Curtiss Jenny, the plane used to carry the mail. The first printing of this stamp was done in such a hurry that the image of the Curtiss Jenny plane in the center of the design was accidentally printed upside-down. This is probably the most famous error in American stamp making. Only one sheet (of 100) of the inverted stamps was not found before leaving the printers, making this stamp one of the most wanted in the world of stamp collecting. An inverted Jenny was sold in November 2007 for US $977,500.
(C) The Basel Dove
There were no fixed postal rates for the whole of Switzerland until after the national postal service was created on January 1st 1849 so this allowed the separate regions of the country, called Cantons, to create their own stamps. The Basel Dove is an interesting stamp issued by the Canton of Basel. It was first issued on July 1st 1845 with a value of 2 1/2-rappen and was in service for three and a half years, during which time 41 480 were printed. The Basel Dove was the only stamp ever printed by the canton of Basel. The only other cantons to issue their own stamps were Zürich and Geneva, but these stamps were quite plain and printed in only one colour. In contrast the Basel Dove was printed in black, crimson, and blue, making it the world's first three coloured stamp. It designed by the architect Melchior Berry, and featured a white dove flying across a red background with a letter in its beak, and on it was written "STADT POST BASEL" and the price in numbers in the bottom left corner.
(D) The Uganda Cowries
The Uganda Cowries, also known as the Uganda Missionaries, were the first adhesive postage stamps of Uganda. They were made in March 1895, at the request of the Imperial British East Africa Company. The stamps were used for mail being sent to places as close as the next town or as far away as Europe, although this service took much longer and was more expensive. The Uganda Cowries are special because there was no printing press in Uganda at the time each stamp was made individually on a typewriter by Rev. E. Millar of the Church Missionary Society. The design was very simple, it showed just the initials of the town it was being sent to and a number for the price. These numbers changed depending on how far the letter was going to travel. The first stamps to be made were printed in black ink but after Millar was given a much-needed new ribbon for his typewriter, the color of the characters on the stamps changed to violet. The paper used for these stamps was extremely thin so unfortunately only a small number of these stamps have survived.