Stamp Trivia

Oldest postal services in the world
First believed established in China around 4000 BC and in Egypt by 3000 BC. These early postal services was used mainly by court officials.

Correspondences between the King of the Mitanni (in upper Syria) and Amenophis IV, King of Egypt, containing condolences on the death of the Pharaoh’s father suggests that a early services between them are quite well-regulated.

The largest postal network in classical times
In the thirteenth century, the imperial court of China operated over 25,000 relay stations all over the country for the use by officials.  It was only opened for general use in 1879.

The countries with the most post offices
India 144,396
USSR 93,076
China (People’s Rep) 50,969
USA 39,270
Turkey 28,086
Japan 23,698
UK 21,211

The first postage stamp of the world
Issued in England in 1840 from a proposal by Rowland Hill in his essay Post Office Reform written in 1837.  It was later  adopted for use by the semiofficial City Despatch Post of New York City in 1842.

In 1843,  the Brazilian empire and the Swiss cantons of Zürich and Geneva also issued stamps.

First advertisement for stamps
In 1841, an advertisement was placed in The Times of London by “a young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing-room with cancelled postage stamps.”

First price list or catalogue
The first lists of stamps, entitled Catalogue des Timbres-Post Créés dans les divers Etats du Globe was published on 21 December 1861 by Oscar Berger-Levrault in Strasbourg and Alfred Potiquet in Paris.  And in 1862, Frederick Booty, J.E. Gray, and Mount Brown all issued catalogues in England.

First stamp album
Stamp albums were first issued by Justin Lallier in Paris in 1862 and the typical printed stamp album have pages with the names of countries and spaces for its stamps in order of their date of issue, with illustrations of representative issues.

First stamp magazine
The first stamp magazine, the short-lived British Monthly Intelligence was published in 1862, followed by the British Monthly Advertiser (1862-64). Among the earliest journals still in existence today are American Philatelist (founded 1887), published by the American Philatelic Society, and the London Philatelist (published by the Royal Philatelic Society) and The Stamp Lover (1908) in Britain.

First stamp booklet
The first stamp booklets were issued by Luxembourg in 1895 and later introduced in Great Britain in 1904.  In modern times, booklets are usually made up from specially printed sheets, with a selvedge on either side to ease binding.

First stamp dealer
M.Jeanne Baptiste Constant Moens (1833-1908) started trading in stamps and became the world’s first stamp dealer in 1852. Known as J. B. Moens, he started collecting stamps in 1848, at the age of 15. By 1862, he published the Manuel du Collectionneur de timbre-poste, and followed this up with the philatelic journal, Le Timbre-Poste, which ran without missing an issue for 38 years.

First Stamp Auction in London
Organised by John Walter Scott, the noted American dealer, on 18th March 1872. He had two years previously organised the first stamp auction in New York which is the first in the western hemisphere.

The sale in London, of 275 lots, took place in the rooms of Sotheby, Wilinson and Hodge at 113 Wellington Street. The total realisation was £253.

The next auction was held on 11 August 1873 at Sotheby’s which was followed by a lapse of some fifteen years before regular auctions began.

Mauritius 2d ‘Post Office’
The sale in 1904 by Puttick & Simpson’s of the unused ‘Post Office’ reached £1,450 and was to remain a record for any single stamp at any English auction for 29 years. This stamp is now in the Royal Philatelic Collection.

Oldest Society
The Royal Philatelic Society of London was founded on 10 April 1869. Although two other societies existed before them, the Royal, as it is affectionately called today, is the oldest in existence. Its first elected president was Sir Daniel Cooper.

First philatelic handbook
A work on forgeries, entitled De la Falsification des Timbres-poste, is the first ever philatelic handbook produced.  Incidentally, the author/publisher is the world’s first stamp dealer.

First perforation gauge
It was invented by a Dr. Magnus and was known as the odontometre. Details of this device was described in J.B. Moens’ Le Timbre-Poste October 1866 issue.

First official air stamp
In 1877 Italy issued, what is now now as the ‘Buffalo’ stamp, a stamp espacially for use on letters carried by air. It was in tête-bêche strips.

First philatelic journal
The Monthly Advertiser, an eight page journal, make its first appearance on 15 December 1862. The second issue, it changed its name to The Stamp-Collectors’ Monthly Advertiser when it appeared in January 1863. The third month, it changed its name again to The Stamp-Collectors’ Review and Monthly Advertiser. It ceases publication after its nineteenth number on 15 June 1864.