There is an aesthetic beauty to old stamps, which were miniature works of art in their detail and colours, in order to make them difficult to counterfeit. It is this aesthetic sensibility that attracts many collectors of early stamps, because they look wonderful arranged on the album page, and there is a very basic desire to complete sets of stamps, so that all gaps are filled and a pleasing display is achieved. From the early days of sending messages engraved on clay tablets, to the introduction of paper from Asia setting the trend for the next several hundred years, people have been sending mail since time immemorial., Gerard Cheshire takes us through the fascinating evolution of the postage system and its associated history, paying special attention to the development and refinement of stamps, from their wax-seal precursors through to the well-known Penny Black and beyond.
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