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The many different kinds of postage stamps

The Many Different Kinds of Postage Stamps

Postage stamps were first issued in Great Britain in 1840. The practice soon became common all over the world to show that the postage had been paid on a piece of mail. A stamp is a sticker attached to the top right hand corner of an envelope or package. Since stamps are in different denominations, if a piece of mail is larger or heavier than a standard size letter, several stamps may need to be attached. In order to send any mail through the postal service, you must buy these stamps and affix them to the mail. You can buy envelopes with the stamps already attached or you can buy sheets or rolls of stamps from which you select the ones you need.

Stamps are not always rectangular in shape. There are triangular and circular designs available and even pentagonal. The first countries to use adhesive stamps, which were invented by an English schoolteacher, Sir Rowland Hill, were Sierra Leone and Tonga, which were actually in the shape of fruit. The stamp used by Bhutan is very unusual in that it contains the national anthem on a playable record. The most common material used for issuing stamps is paper, but some have been embossed with gold and in Switzerland, one type of stamp was made from lace.

There are different types of stamps that are used to denote that postage has been paid. These are:

* Airmail Stamps: The word airmail appears on the stamp and they are usually larger than the regular stamps for envelopes. Like the regular stamp they do give the name of the country and the price paid.

* Coil Stamps: These are stamps that you can buy through a vending machine. You tear off a stamp from the coil when you want to use them.

* Commemorative Stamps: these are stamps issued by countries to commemorate a special event that occurs in the country. There may be several of these in any one year, but they are only available in limited quantities.

* Definitive Stamps: These are the main stamps used by a country and are printed and reprinted in large quantities. They are available in many different denominations that would be needed to make up the postage needed to send mail.

* Express Mail Stamps: These are stamps used for mail that needs to arrive in a very short time. There are usually envelopes for such a purpose that contains the postage necessary.

* Military Stamps; The Armed Forces of countries have their own official stamp to use on mail that they send.

* Official Stamps: Only government agencies and bureaus are allowed to use these stamps that are issued by the governments of all countries.

When new stamps are issued, stamp collectors can buy miniature sheets or souvenir sheets that contain only a small number. At various times there have been people depicted on definitive stamps, as well as animals, birds, buildings and events. However, the main stamps used for everyday use contain a number that denotes the price of the stamp.

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