A brief history of postage stamps

1840 - The first postage stamps appear in Britain, bearing Queen Victoria's profile. The tiny stamps (3/4 by 7/8 in.) are printed in black-and-white at first. Brazil is the second nation to have postage stamps.

1847 - United States stamps debut. The first two feature George Washington and Ben Franklin. By 1860, almost all countries have postage stamps.

1852 - The first pre-stamped envelopes are sold. Pre-stamped postcards (for a penny) appear 19 years later.

1857 - Perforated stamps appear. (People used to have to cut apart sheets of stamps.)

1893 - The first US commemorative stamps are issued. They depict scenes of Columbus's voyage to America.

1918 - Airmail stamps go on sale for 6, 16, and 24 cents.

1940 - Booker T. Washington is the first African-American honored on a stamp.

1962 - The first US Christmas stamp. Hanukkah stamps come out four years later.

1973 - Valentine's Day 'Love' stamps are first issued.

1992 - Full-scale production of self-adhesive stamps begins. The first one, a holiday 'Peace' stamp, had appeared in 1974.

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