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Interesting facts

On May 6th 1840, the world's first postage stamp went on public sale at post offices in England. The first stamp was called "Penny Black" as it was printed in black and cost one penny. It bore the profile of Queen Victoria. It was Rowland Hill who called for the use of pre-printed envelopes and adhesive postage stamps.


Then stamps appeared in Brasil (1843), in Zurich, Geneva, Basel (1843-1845), in the USA (1847) and two years later in France. By 1857 stamps had been being published in 60 countries.

The first stamps were not perforated. People had to separate them from the sheet with a pair of scissors which could damage the stamp. Stamps perforation was put into effect in 1854.

The postal stationery envelopes appeared in Russia in December 1848. They bore the postage charge seal: the national emblem and the text reading "10 cop. for a lot, 1cop. for envelope". Such envelopes were cost 10, 20 and 30 copecks, the national emblems were respectively black, blue, and red.

The first Russian postage stamp was released on January 1 1858. The centre of the stamp featured an ellipse with the national emblem, and the emblem of the postal authorities (two crossed post horns). The texts read "A postage stamp" and "10 cop. for a lot". The first Russian postage stamp was designed by Keppler, the leading engraver of the State-papers Provision Expedition.

The first postcards were released on January 1 1872. The text on each postcard read: "The postal authorities are not responsible for the contents of the letter".

The term "philately" was first used by a Frenchman, Georges Herpin, an avid collector of stamps, in 1864. The word is a translation of the Greek words philos ("love") and ateleia ("that which is tax-free").

The first Russian philatelic society appeared in 1883. It was called "Moscow Society of Stamp Collectors".

The first commemorative series containing 17 stamps was released in 1913 and marked the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs. The first Russian charitable postage stamps with the extra charge in favor of soldiers' orphans were published in 1904 and 1914. The first surprint of the new par was made in 1916. In 1915-1917 there were 11 stamps in circulation which were used to pay for mail. They were made of a thick paper without glue. There was an endorsement "Goes about on a par with silver token coins".

The first RSFSR stamps were released in 1918. They featured a hand with a sword hewing a chain (by R.Zarrinsh). The blue stamp cost 35 cop., the brown one – 70 cop.

The first USSR stamps were released in 1923. The were devoted to the First All-Russian agricultural and handicraft exhibition. The artist – G.Pashkov.

The first RF stamps were released on January 14 1992. The first Russian stamps were devoted to the Winter Olympic Games in Albervillew. The artist – Yu.Artsimenev.

The RF post miniature is valued both in this country and abroad.We have a lot of international awards.

The stamp devoted to a vice-admiral V.M.Golovnin (the series "The 300th anniversary of Russian Fleet. Geographic expeditions.") took the 3d place in the best 1994 stamps contest in 1996.

The souvenir sheet "The framework of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan. 1894. Iconlamp. 1880-1890." (the series "The Russian Enamels of 17-20 cc. From the State Hermitage collection.") is declared the most beautiful stamp of 1996.

The souvenir sheet "The 300th anniversary of Andreyevsky (St.Andrew's) flag." won Grand Pris in Riga contest "The most beautiful philatelic issues of 1999" in 2000.

The cancellation "The 200th birth anniversary of A.S.Pushkin. St.Petersburg. General post-office." won Grand Pris in Riga contest "The most beautiful philatelic issues of 1999" in 2000.

One of the rarest stamps is the stamp of Tifliss post service "The Tifliss Unica" published in 1857. It cost 6 cop. and featured the emblem of Tifliss. Another one is a black-yellow stamp. It was released in Vyatskaya gubernia in 1869 and cost 3 cop.

In most countries it is uncustomary to publish stamps featuring living people. But sometimes such stamps are published. M.Gorkiy was the first in the USSR to be featured on a stamp. Two stamps devoted to the 40th anniversary of his literary activity were published in 1932. They bore the same picture but were of different colors and costed differently. M.I.Kalinin, I.V.Stalin, L.I.Brezhnev, Indira Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were featured on the stamps. Stamps also depicted the first Heroes of the Soviet Union and the first spacemen. But the only plain man, who was also featured on a stamp, was rather unlucky. In 1956 a stamp devoted to Eivazov, one of the oldest Azerbaijanis, was published. The text read "A 148-year-old collective farmer Eivazov Muhamed Bagir Ogly". But soon it turned out that the farmer's name was not Muhamed but Mahmud. The foul stamp was immobilized and a new one was published, which bore the right name. It was in the late 1980s that the USSR stopped publishing lifetime stamps.