A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a
Always featuring the name of the issuing nation (with the exception of the United Kingdom), a denomination of its value, and often an illustration of persons, events, institutions, or natural realities that symbolize the nation's traditions and values, every stamp is printed on a piece of usually rectangular, but sometimes triangular or otherwise shaped
Because governments issue stamps of different denominations in unequal numbers and routinely discontinue some lines and introduce others, and because of their illustrations and association with the social and political realities of the time of their issue, they are often prized for their beauty and historical significance by
In 1835, the
Summoned to give evidence before the Commission for Post Office Enquiry on 13 February 1837, Hill read from the letter he wrote to the Chancellor that included a statement saying that the notation of paid postage could be created "... by using a bit of paper just large enough to bear the stamp, and covered at the back with a glutinous wash ...". This would eventually become the first unambiguous description of a modern adhesive postage stamp (though the term "postage stamp" originated at later date). Shortly afterward, Hill's revision of the booklet, dated 22 February 1837, containing some 28,000 words, incorporating the supplement given to the Chancellor and statements he made to the Commission, was published and made available to the general public. Hansard records that on 15 December 1837,
Hill’s ideas for postage stamps and charging paid-postage based on weight soon took hold, and were adopted in many countries throughout the world. With the new policy of charging by weight, using envelopes for mailing documents became the norm. Hill’s brother Edwin invented a prototype envelope-making machine that folded paper into envelopes quickly enough to match the pace of the growing demand for postage stamps.
Rowland Hill and the reforms he introduced to the United Kingdom postal system appear on several of its commemorative stamps.
In the 1881 book The Penny Postage Scheme of 1837, Scotsman Patrick Chalmers claimed that his father,
The first independent evidence for Chalmers' claim is an essay, dated 8 February 1838 and received by the Post Office on 17 February 1838, in which he proposed adhesive postage stamps to the
Chalmers' original document is now in the United Kingdom's National Postal Museum.
Since Chalmers used the same postage denominations that Hill had proposed in February 1837, it is clear that he was aware of Hill’s proposals, but whether he obtained a copy of Hill’s booklet or simply read about it in one or both of the two detailed accounts (25 March 1837 and 20 December 1837) published in
James Chalmers organized petitions "for a low and uniform rate of postage". The first such petition was presented in the House of Commons on 4 December 1837 (from Montrose). Further petitions organised by him were presented on 1 May 1838 (from Dunbar and Cupar), 14 May 1838 (from the county of Forfar), and 12 June 1839. At this same time, other groups organised petitions and presented them to Parliament. All petitions for consumer-oriented, low-cost, volume-based postal rates followed publication of Hill's proposals.
Other claimants include or have included