King of Hobbies and the Hobby of Kings

Calgary Philatelic Society

stamp letter
Didgeman / Pixabay

Stamp collecting started with a young Queen Victoria of England of the British Empire, later the British Commonwealth.

A member of the British Parliament was at a post office, where mail was sent and received with the receiver paying the rate charged to deliver a letter. A woman came in to see if there was any mail for her. The postman found a letter and asked for the money to pay for delivery. She examined the envelope and returned it. The Member of Parliament, Roland Hill, stepped forward and offered to pay the rate, but the woman thanked him, but refused to allow payment.

As she left the Post office, Mr. Hill followed her and asked why she refused his offer. The lady was embarrassed and told him that the letter was a sign that her brother was alive and fine, thus she did not need to pay. Roland Hill then considered that many people probably had some way to not pay for delivery. He then proposed that there should be a better and more efficient system. He researched the system and came up with a plan to have the mail paid by the sender.

He convinced the government and after much discussion it was discussed to use a universal rate inside England for all mail. He devised an adhesive stamp bearing the picture of Queen Victoria to be placed on an envelope for a letter. It was decided that the mail rate would be determined by weight with 1 English penny (about 2 cents) per ounce. The stamps were printed on sheets of 100 which were separated by cutting with scissors. Therefore, the first postage stamps were without perforation. Perforation machines were then developed. The sheets were then changed to be a red color for the penny rate and after that other stamps in different denominations were used to handle larger and heavier mail.

Other countries followed this featuring their monarch/leader’s pictures. Gradually all countries joined a Universal Postal Union to regulate rates between countries. Countries found the opportunity to tell stories on the stamps of their homeland and promote their parks, animals, historic figures and more.

Canada has told the story of our history on stamps. This year we celebrate 150 years as a self-governing country. Our first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald was first along the Fathers of Confederation.

The Calgary Philatelic Society, and the British North America Society-Calgary are clubs for those who are interested in the wonderful hobby of philately.