World Post day happens each year on October 9, commemorating the date for the establishment of Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland. The UPU was the start of global communications revolution, allowing people could write to others all over the world.
The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It first was issued in Great Britainon 1 May 1840, for official use from 6 May of that year. It features a profile of Queen Victoria.
In 1837, British postal rates were high, complex and anomalous. To simplify matters, Sir Rowland Hill proposed an adhesive stamp to indicate pre-payment of postage. At the time it was normal for the recipient to pay postage on delivery, charged by the sheet and on distance travelled. By contrast, the Penny Black allowed letters of up to 1⁄2 ounce (14 grams) to be delivered at a flat rate of one penny, regardless of distance.
Postal delivery systems using what may have been adhesive stamps existed before the Penny Black. The idea had at least been suggested earlier in the Austrian Empire, Sweden, and possibly Greece.
A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope. Shapes other than rectangular may also be used. There are novelty exceptions, such as wood postcards, made of thin wood, and copper postcards sold in the Copper Country of the U.S. state of Michigan, and coconut “postcards” from tropical islands.
The world’s oldest postcard was sent in 1840 to the writer Theodore Hook from Fulham in London, England. The study and collecting of postcards is termed deltiology.