Postage stamps from Great Britain

Postage stamps from Great Britain, home to the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, are highly significant in philatelic history. Here’s an overview of British postage stamps:

Historical Background

The Penny Black:

  • Issued in 1840, the Penny Black is the world’s first adhesive postage stamp. It features a profile of Queen Victoria and revolutionized postal systems worldwide.
  • Followed by the Penny Red (1841): To combat forgery issues with the Penny Black, the Penny Red was introduced with slight design changes.

Early Developments:

  • Throughout Queen Victoria’s reign, various other stamps were issued, including the Two Pence Blue and higher denomination stamps, all featuring the queen’s profile.
  • Monarchs: Traditionally, British stamps feature the reigning monarch’s profile, starting with Queen Victoria and continuing through to Queen Elizabeth II and now King Charles III.
  • Historical Events: Commemorative stamps celebrate significant national and international events, anniversaries, and achievements.
  • Cultural Heritage: Stamps often depict famous British figures, landmarks, literature, arts, and scientific achievements.
  • Flora and Fauna: Native wildlife and plant species are frequently showcased.

Definitive Series:

  • Machin Series (1967-Present): Named after the designer Arnold Machin, these definitive stamps feature a sculpted profile of Queen Elizabeth II. This series is notable for its longevity and numerous color and value variations.
  • Wilding Series (1952-1967): Featured a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II by Dorothy Wilding.

Commemorative Stamps:

  • Issued to mark significant anniversaries, cultural events, and notable personalities from various fields such as literature, science, sports, and the arts.

Notable Series and stamp Issues

  • Penny Black (1840)
    The world’s first postage stamp, featuring Queen Victoria’s profile.
  • Machin Series (1967-Present):
  • Great Britain Commemorative Stamps:
  • 1965 Battle of Britain Series: Commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
  • 1980 Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday: Featured portraits of the Queen Mother.
  • 2012 London Olympics Series: Celebrated the London 2012 Olympic Games.


Postage stamps from Great Britain offer a rich and varied tapestry of the nation’s history, culture, and achievements. From the pioneering Penny Black to the extensive Machin series and the myriad commemorative issues, British stamps are a cornerstone of philately, appealing to collectors worldwide. Whether focusing on historical stamps, thematic collections, or rare variants, British stamps provide a fascinating and rewarding pursuit for philatelists.

Also see: postage stamps from Englamd