Original US stamps celebrate birthday

July 1st, 2004

The 1st July sees the 157th anniversary of the release of the first postage stamps by the US Postal Service.

First made available in 1847, the five cent stamp featured Benjamin Franklin (the first Postmaster General of the United States) whilst the 10 cent stamp depicted George Washington.

The decision was taken to introduce postage stamps because the process in place at the time was deemed too expensive and complicated for the American public. An act was passed on 3rd March 1847 in order put an end to this:

"And be it further enacted, that to facilitate the transportation of letters by mail, the Postmaster-General be authorized to prepare postage stamps, which when attached to any letter or packet, shall be evidence of prepayment of the postage chargeable on such letter."

The date of 1st July was set for the first stamps to come into use, however production problems meant that the stamps were available from just one Post Office

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