What Characterized the Early Stamps from Great Britain?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland issued its first stamp in 1840, and it's considered the world's first stamp. This stamp features the profile of Queen Victoria on a black background and originally cost one penny. Therefore, it is known among collectors as the "Penny Black." The government replaced the black color with red in 1841 so postmarks were more readily visible. Perforated stamps first appeared in 1854. Most British stamps featured Queen Victoria throughout the Victorian era, and subsequent monarchs are common postage stamp motifs.

What Are Some Examples of Valuable Stamps from Great Britain?

The original Penny Black stamp is one of the most valuable British stamps. Its successor, the Penny Red, can also fetch a high price. A variation of the Penny Red, known as the "Plate 77 Penny Red," features a printing mistake, which makes the few remaining examples particularly valuable. Other stamps from Great Britain that fetch a high price include the 1903 Great Britain Official and the Edward BII 6d IR Official.

Which Catalogs Are Useful for Collecting Stamps from Great Britain?

The Stanley Gibbons catalog has a long history in the world of British stamp collecting. The first catalog was published in 1865, and the company continues to release publications. It offers a variety of regional catalogs focused on British stamps, British Empire stamps, and Commonwealth stamps. Stanley Gibbons also publishes a magazine called Gibbons Stamp Monthly.