175 years of the Penny Black

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the introduction of the Penny Black postage stamp, a little piece of paper bearing the profile of Queen Victoria which would become an icon for stamp colectors and a harbinger of cheap and efficient communication for everyone.

Penny Black and Penny Red

The Penny Black had a short existence – black postmarks did not show up well against it – and the colour of the stamp was soon changed to red whcih showed the frank much more clearly.

The Fitzpatrick-Thomas letter, posted in Dublin on the 8th May 1840, is believed th be the earliest authenticated Irish letter posted with the new stamp. A facsimile and souvenir booklet was produced by the An Post Museum in 2012.


The 1840 Fitzpatrick letter