Towne Mailer sends thousands of letters each day, so it is no surprise that we know a lot about stamps and the postal regulations surrounding them. Below, we’ve collected some of our favorite stamp trivia, from when the first stamp was issued, to what tools stamp collectors use to examine their favorite pieces.

  • Philatelists are people who study and collect stamps. Some philatelists collect certain themes of stamps, such as stamps with birds, stamps with presidents, foreign stamps, or stamps that contain mistakes or misprints.
  • About 19 billion stamps are printed each year in the United States.
  • Philatelists often use stamp tongs, a specialized type of tweezers, in order to handle their rare or valuable stamps without doing harm to them or exposing them to skin oils.
  • The first woman featured on a U.S. postage stamp was Queen Isabella in 1893, while the first American woman featured on a stamp was Martha Washington in 1902–the wife of George Washington.
  • The Penny Black was the world’s fist adhesive postage stamp. It was issued in Great Britain in 1840 and featured a profile of Queen Victoria. It cost one penny.
  • The first Forever Stamps were issues in 2007 and featured a picture of the Liberty Bell. Forever Stamps do not have a set value and can be used even if the postal rate is raised. Currently, about three out of four stamps sold are Forever Stamps.
  • The U.S. Post Office printed its first stamps in 1847, seven years after England led with the first stamp. They released a five cent stamp picturing Benjamin Franklin and a ten cent stamp picturing President George Washington.
  • The largest collection of stamps in the United States is housed at the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery in Washington, DC.
  • The first commemorate U.S. stamps were issued in 1893 to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. These stamps are now very valuable.
  • In the United States, stamps were required to be placed in the upper right hand corner of envelopes in the 1890s, after machines began to sort mail. The placement was chosen simply because most mail handlers were right-handed.

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