Royal Mail campaign unearths one of the first postcards to carry a stamp

August 08, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

Royal Mail has announced that it has found one of the first postcards to be sent with a stamp as part of its Letters of Our Lives campaign.

The rare card, which is postmarked 1 September 1894, states ‘This is the first day that a written postcard with a half-penny stamp affixed is allowed to pass through the Post Office. This will be a curiosity one day.’ It is addressed to a Mr Andrew Puer Esq of West London. Before this date, all postcards were issued with pre-printed postage.

The postcard was submitted by Christopher Pearce from Leatherhead in Surrey. He purchased the card, along with a number of prints, from a stall at the annual May Fair on Esher Green in 1964. He said: ‘As stamp collecting was one of my hobbies at that time it became one of my prize trophies because I thought that it was unique and that no other postcard like this could exist. Thanks to the creativity and foresight of Andrew Puer over 120 years ago this is a fascinating piece of philately history.’

Letters of our lives

The first recorded postcard was sent by writer and practical joker, Theodore Hook, in 1840. It was sold at auction in 2002 for í31,750. Thirty years later, plain postcards were released with a ½d. stamp printed as part of the design. By 1894, these had proved so popular that non-prestamped postcards – cards which users could affix a stamp to themselves – were allowed in the
post.

You can read the complete story in this month’s Gibbons Stamp Monthly. Get your copy here.

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