Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Penny Red - Part 1

This is part of my collection on philately historical envelope / document specialised on The Penny Red. The circular postmark on this envelope was dated 2 July 1869, from Edinburgh.

The top 2 photos shown the closed up of the postmark and Penny Red stamp (value 1 Penny). The last photo shown the full envelope.

As of to date, this envelope is 139 years old.

The Penny Red is a popular field of philately which are still enthusiastically collected and studied by people all over the world. 

To get to know more on the stamps and history, I extracted a summary article below:

The Penny Red is Great Britain's longest running stamp, from Feb 1841 to Dec 1879. It was used for the main letter rate and about 21 billion were issued. The colour of the Penny Black was changed from Black to red so that the black cancelation could be clearly seen. 

Until 1854 it had no perforations. In 1855 the watermark was changed from small crown to large crown. The first die was used to produce 204 plates, plus 6 reserve plates. A new die II was also introduced in 1855, this was used to produce 225 plates, plates 71-225 have the plate number engraved on the stamp. 

The paper also changed from blued, to cream to white between 1854 and 58. All these changes together with subtle variations between stamps make the Penny Red an interesting, and inexpensive, stamp to specialise in.

In 1864 the design was modified, there are now letters in all four corners and the plate number is engraved engraved on each stamp. It was printed using the line-engraved method by Perkins, Bacon & Petch (from 1852 Perkins, Bacon & Co). It was replaced by the surface-printed 1d provisional issue in 1880.

The era of the Penny Red came to its close at the end of 1879, along with Perkins Bacon's contract. It was superseded by the Penny Venetian Red printed by De La Rue, which was in use for a little over a year before being succeeded in turn by the long-lived Penny Lilac.

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