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  • Posts Tagged ‘MULREADY ENVELOPE’


    Friday, January 12th, 2024

    The earliest posted envelope using a prepaid stamp comes up at Sotheby’s in New York on February 2. The Penny Black fixed to a Mulready envelope is estimated at $1.5-$2.5 million.

    Introduced at the beginning of May, 1840, the Mulready, an ornate wrapper designed by William Mulready, and
    the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, aimed to streamline and revolutionize postage
    prepayment. Both methods were an important new step in communication, eliminating the need fol carriers
    to handle money, reducing the risk of theft and forgery. This pre-paid envelope, the earliest known in existence,
    was successfully sent, firstly stamped with a Penny Black on May 2, then ingeniously repurposed, turned inside
    out, and remailed as a Mulready on May 4, the letter covered a combined journey of over 400 miles, all before
    the official start date for the stamp on May 6.

    Before the introduction of postage stamps, mail in the United Kingdom was paid for by the recipient, a system
    that was associated with an irresolvable problem: the costs of delivering mail were not recoverable by the
    postal service when recipients were unable or unwilling to pay for delivered items. The adoption of prepayment, championed by Birmingham School teacher Rowland Hill, was a result of the Postage Reform Act of 1839, which abolished free franking privileges and established uniform penny postage rates. The subsequent Treasury Competition, offering a prize for the best prepayment solution, garnered over 2,600 entries, leading to the creation of new stationery and stamps. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD