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The Penny Black is the world's first adhesive postage stamp, issued in the U.K. in 1840. The portrait on the stamp is of a young Queen Victoria. The offcial issue date of the stamp was May 6, however, the stamps were used as early as May 1.

The stamp received its name by the fact it is black and cost a penny. Before the Penny BlackPenny Black Postage Stamp was issued, the receiver of a letter was required to pay postage, however, after the issuance of the Penny Black the modern model of postage begun and pre-paid postage was implemented requiring sender to pay postage costs.

As shown in the Penny Black to the right, red ink was used for cancellation of the stamp however as you can see the red cancellation stamp does not show very well. In 1841, a new stamp was issued that was exactly that same as the penny black (many of the old plates used for the Penny black were used for the new stamp) but used red ink for the stamp and used black ink for the cancellation. The new stamp was referred to as the Penny Red.

It is currently believed there are 1.5 million of the original 68 million Penny Black stamps issued still in existence.