London’s Top Postal Curiosities | Londonist

With the world’s costliest stamp coming to London quickly, we take a look at what different postal landmarks the town holds.

British Guiana 1c magenta

A scruffy piece of paper which can hopefully turn into the world’s costliest merchandise by weight subsequent month, and will be on show at Sotheby’s on June B-A.

The British Guiana 1c magenta from 1856 isn’t a lot to take a look at however the estimate is $10million-$20million for the 17 June New York sale. The distinctive merchandise is revered by philatelists and has been owned by the world’s prime collectors. The most up-to-date proprietor was John du Pont, the chemical firm billionaire, who died in jail after being convicted of homicide. The stamp hasn’t been seen in public since 1988, however put together to be underwhelmed.

9154 British Guiana Silo


Treasures of the British Library

The anonymous ‘frames’ on the first floor of the British Library, which anybody can pull open and take a look at, maintain some shocking secrets and techniques. The Library owns a second ‘Blue Mauritius’, of which simply 12 exist. Only the island’s first set of stamps, in 1847, learn ‘Post Office’ down the aspect, earlier than it was modified to ‘Post Paid’ – and nobody actually is aware of why. Perhaps the ‘Post Office’ was a mistake. When one final modified arms, it fetched £M,053,090.

Penny Black

The frames maintain a number of different rarities, and the world’s first stamp, the Penny Black. These aren’t uncommon in any respect – about sixty eight million have been printed. The pre-paid stamp, invented by Victorian reformer Sir Rowland Hill, enabled the Post Office to streamline its difficult costs. Ordinary individuals beloved it, too, as a result of a letter to anyplace within the nation now value a penny, and communication boomed.

Statue of Victorian reformer

Sir Rowland Hill’s statue stands proudly outdoors the previous King Edward Building on King Edward St, for years the Post Office’s essential hub. Two London streets are named after him, too: one off Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, and one off White Hart Lane, Tottenham.

Postboy teaching horns

Hill had robust Tottenham connections. His father had arrange a progressive faculty in Birmingham, at which Hill taught from the age of 12. It moved to Bruce Castle in Tottenham in 1827 and Hill ran it for 12 years. The museum there now has some postboys’ teaching horns, quirky gadgets made out of stamps, historic postboxes and amassing tins.

First postmarks

One of Hill’s predecessors as a postal innovator was Henry Bishop, Postmaster General to Charles II. In 1661, after complaints that letter-carriers have been delaying the submit, he got here up with a handstruck date stamp, which meant they might not achieve this. It was first used within the General Letter Office simply off Post Office Yard, and there’s now a plaque within the Princes Street aspect of NatWest to commemorate it. The stone even has a small AP/19 ‘Bishop Mark’, as a result of the primary day of use was 19 April.

Bishop Mark plaque

Two-monarch postbox

London incorporates the one postbox within the nation with the image of two monarchs. It’s on Gray’s Inn Road, on the Holborn finish, and was erected in 1901 beneath King Edward VII. It has a stunning, florid, swooping ER VII cipher. However, sooner or later, one of many doorways was changed and it has additionally has an older VR (Victoria Regina) cipher as nicely.


Gold postboxes

As Olympic fever swept the nation, Royal Mail hit on a good way to hyperlink its model with the nation’s success. It painted gold postboxes for every Olympic and Paralympic gold medallist. There’s just one in central London, outdoors Westminster Abbey on Tothill Street, and it’s not truly for anybody – it’s the mock-up Royal Mail did to promote the scheme. But there are a lot dotted concerning the suburbs, together with Mo Farah’s in Teddington and Isleworth. Go to to start out postbox searching.

Pillarbox Alley

The greatest place to see postboxes in London – with the added bonus that it’s indoors – is the British Postal Museum and Archive Store in Debden. It’s solely open for excursions, often on the primary Wednesday of the month. There’s a whole ‘Pillarbox Alley’, Rowland Hill’s desk, a ‘hen and chickens’ penny-farthing (one huge wheel, 4 small ones) and a mail coach.


Mail Rail

There is not any devoted postal museum in London. But the BPMA, which is at present crammed right into a small website behind Mount Pleasant publish workplace, needs to vary that. It plans to open a graceful, interactive museum that may get throughout the significance of the postal community. The cool bit, although, is that it additionally need to open up a part of Mail Rail, the underground railway that shuttled from Whitechapel to Paddington. Visitors will be capable of experience within the tiny carriages underneath the town. The museum is scheduled to open in 2016, however M:30 pm – Source:

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