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How Stamps can make a Difference

Postage stamps are stuck onto letters and parcels as proof of payment of postage. The use of postage stamps was advocated by Sir Rowland Hill and it was adopted in Great Britain in 1839. This custom soon spread across the world. Stamps have also been issued in many shapes including circular stamps from New Zealand, stamps made to look like fruit from Tonga, etc. Stamps are usually made out of paper, but there have been alternatives. Switzerland made part of a stamp from lace, and another from wood, and our favourite, Bhutan issued a stamp with its national anthem on a playable record. In 1840, the first pre-paid postage stamp, called the Penny Black was produced with a profile of Queen Victoria on it. This stamp was in use for just over a year, as the red cancellation mark over the top of the stamp wasn't very clear, so the stamp needed to be changed.

As the UK was the first country to issue stamps it is exempt from the rule of having identification of the issuing country on the actual stamp.

Stamps over the years have evolved, and many have been issued. Stamp collecting is now a popular hobby, and collectable stamps can be worth thousands of pounds!

How can I reuse Stamps?

Stamps can also be used to help other people. The Guide Dogs are always looking for stamp donations from the general public. In turn they sell these used stamps on to dealers to help fundraise for the continuous development and maintenance of guide dogs here in the UK. So instead of chucking out your used stamps (which will probably end up in landfill), cut them off the envelopes, leaving at least a 5mm border around them, and send them to:

Guide Dog Stamps
PO Box 139

Alternatively, if you want more information call 0118 983 8298 or email stamps@guidedogs.org.uk

There are many other stamp collection schemes across the country that you can get involved in. Check out www.used-stamps.co.uk for a list of organisations that have schemes running.

Further Information

Want a list of the types of stamps issued in the UK? Then check out:
Stamps in the UK

The National Postal Museum in the UK has lots of information about the mail service in the UK amongst many other goodies. Check it out here:

Discover lots of interesting information from the American National Postal Museum here:

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