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Stamp catalog : Stamp › Queen Victoria - Penny Black

Queen Victoria - Penny Black
Queen Victoria - Penny Black
United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
Queen Victoria - Line Engraved
Catalog codes:
Michel GB 1
AFA number GB 1
Yvert et Tellier GB 1
Stanley Gibbons GB 1
Stamp Number GB 1
Heads of State | Queens
Issued on:
Face value:
1 p - British penny
Print run:
Small crown
66% Accuracy: High
The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp of a public postal system.

The Penny Black was printed from 11 plates. There are no plate numbers on the stamps and the different plates can only be identified after careful examination. However, as plate 1 was completely overhauled due to excessive wear, it is generally considered as two separate plates, 1a and 1b. Plate 11 was intended originally solely for the new red stamps, but a small number were still printed in black. These are now very rare.

Plates 1a/1b date 15 Apr 1840 number issued 10,052,400
Plate 2 date 22 Apr 1840 number issued 7,659,120
Plate 3 date 9 May 1840 number issued 4,786,800
Plate 4 date 19 May 1840 number issued 6,701,760
Plate 5 date 1 Jun 1840 number issued 8,616,480
Plate 6 date 17 Jun 1840 number issued 9,095,040
Plate 7 date 8 Jul 1840 number issued 8,137,680
Plate 8 date 31 Jul 1840 number issued 7,180,320
Plate 9 date 9 Nov 1840 number issued 3,840,000
Plate 10 date 9 Dec 1840 number issued 1,920,000
Plate 11 date 27 Jan 1841 number issued 168,000

The stamps were printed in unperforated sheets of 240 and the stamps were cut from the sheet with scissors for sale. The most sought after have 4 clear margins around the printed area.

The Penny Black was issued using watermarked paper with Small Crown normally upright although inverted watermarks are known.

There are 3 colours recognised by SG namely:

Intense Black (SG 1)
Black (SG 2)
Grey Black (SG 3)

Used stamps are obliterated with the following postmark types:

Maltese Cross red colour
Maltese Cross black colour
Maltese Cross blue colour
Maltese Cross magenta colour
Maltese Cross yellow colour
Maltese Cross violet colour
Maltese Cross with centre number
Town postmark black colour
Town postmark yellow colour
Town postmark red colour
Penny Post black colour
1844 type black colour (from 1844, all obliterations of the penny black are of this type)
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