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Quiz about 170 Years of British Postage Stamps
Quiz about 170 Years of British Postage Stamps

170 Years of British Postage Stamps Quiz


Over the years I've put together an extensive collection of British postage stamps. This quiz relates mainly to stamps issued prior to 1900, but with the inclusion of a few more recent issues.

A multiple-choice quiz by moonraker2. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
moonraker2
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
334,651
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
480
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp, in which year was it first issued? Hint

1840
1640
1770
1910

2. What term was used to describe the design of the first cancellation post mark, as used for obliterating the earliest British postage stamps? Hint

Victoria Crown
Maltese Cross
British Emblem
Black Prince

3. What design feature is exclusive to all postage stamps issued in Great Britain? Hint

The omission of the country's name
The inclusion of the Queen's/King's head
All stamps are rectangular
All stamps are perforated

4. What was the highest face value of a single postage stamp issued in Great Britain in the 19th century? Hint

One Pound (1.00)
2 shillings and sixpence (2/6)
Five Pounds (5.00)
10 shillings (10/-)

5. Special envelopes were designed and issued concurrently with the first adhesive postage stamps in 1840. These were named after the designer. Who was this Victorian designer? Hint

William Gladstone
Stanley Gibbons
William Mulready
Henry Palmerston

6. What has been the lowest face value of a single postage stamp ever issued in Great Britain? Hint

Farthing (1/4d)
Half Penny (1/2d)
Three Farthings (3/4d)
One Penny (1d)

7. A set of definitive stamps with a range of values from one half penny (1/2d) up to one shilling was issued which coincided with the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria's reign. In which year were these postage stamps were first issued? Hint

1899
1865
1887
1877

8. In 1940 a set of commemorative stamps was issued depicting profiles of both Queen Victoria and King George VI. What event were these stamps commemorating? Hint

The Olympic Games
The Battle of Britain
The Centenary of the First Adhesive Postage Stamps
The Universal Postal Union

9. Two commemorative stamps were issued on 3rd May 1951. What event were these stamps issued to celebrate? Hint

The Treaty of Paris
King George VI's Birthday
The Festival of Britain
Winston Churchill

10. A set of high value stamps was issued in 1955 depicting British Castles, with values of 2/6, 5/-, 10/- and 1.00. Which of the following castles was not shown on any of these stamps? Hint

Edinburgh Castle
Caernarvon Castle
Windsor Castle
Tower of London


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp, in which year was it first issued?

Answer: 1840

The Penny Black was first issued in Great Britain in May 1840, just two days before the Two Penny Blue. The 1d black was intended for use on letters weighing up to half an ounce, whilst the 2d blue covered weights up to one ounce. With the exception of their colours and values, the design of both stamps was identical.

Contrary to popular belief, the Penny Black is not a particularly rare stamp, as 68,808,000 copies were printed in total, of which significant numbers remain in private collections today.
2. What term was used to describe the design of the first cancellation post mark, as used for obliterating the earliest British postage stamps?

Answer: Maltese Cross

The hand-cut Maltese Cross design was in use from 1840 until 1844.

They varied considerably in their detail, and some of the more distinctive ones can be linked to their towns of origin.

Initially a red ink was used, but this was soon replaced by black. Maltese Cross obliterations do exist in other colours but are extremely rare and keenly sought after.
3. What design feature is exclusive to all postage stamps issued in Great Britain?

Answer: The omission of the country's name

Britain is the one and only country whose postage stamps do not include the name of the country within their design.

Owing to Britain having been the first country to issue stamps, the International Postal Union allowed them to continue the tradition of not printing the country name on the stamps even though it technically contradicts international treaties.
4. What was the highest face value of a single postage stamp issued in Great Britain in the 19th century?

Answer: Five Pounds (5.00)

An orange coloured rectangular stamp was issued in 1882 with a face value of 5.00, when a total of 246,826 such stamps were issued.

The stamp was probably used for registered letters, as parcel post was not available until the following year in 1883.

We then had to wait until 1977, 95 years later, for the next 5.00 postage stamp to be issued in Great Britain.
5. Special envelopes were designed and issued concurrently with the first adhesive postage stamps in 1840. These were named after the designer. Who was this Victorian designer?

Answer: William Mulready

The artist William Mulready was commissioned to design envelopes to be used with the first postage stamps issued in 1840. These envelopes were provided in both black and blue colours to match the 1d black and 2d blue postage stamps.

Britannia was depicted at the top of the envelopes together with her shield and a reclining lion. Also portrayed were illustrations of certain Asian and North American Countries which were then under British control. Presumably this was intended to emphasise the benefits of a new postal system to those abroad.
6. What has been the lowest face value of a single postage stamp ever issued in Great Britain?

Answer: Half Penny (1/2d)

In 1870 a rose-red coloured stamp was issued with a face value of One Half Penny (1/2d), specifically for use on postcards and newspapers.

Since that time a number of similarly priced stamps have been issued up to and including those issued (pre-decimalisation) during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. These later issues would have been used in tandem with other face values to meet the required rates of postage.
7. A set of definitive stamps with a range of values from one half penny (1/2d) up to one shilling was issued which coincided with the fiftieth year of Queen Victoria's reign. In which year were these postage stamps were first issued?

Answer: 1887

Most of the stamps in this set were bi-coloured and are known as the "Jubilee" issue, although it was apparently only coincidental that these stamps were issued at the same time as the Queen's Jubilee.

They were the first GB stamps to be printed in two colours.

Further values were issued shortly afterwards including a one pound (1.00) green in January 1891.
8. In 1940 a set of commemorative stamps was issued depicting profiles of both Queen Victoria and King George VI. What event were these stamps commemorating?

Answer: The Centenary of the First Adhesive Postage Stamps

In January 1938 the Post Office decided it would mark the centenary of the Penny Black with commemorative stamps and an exhibition, but with the outbreak of war in 1939 the proposal was temporarily abandoned.

However, changes to the postal rates were in the pipeline so it was eventually decided to proceed and the stamps were issued on 6 May 1940.

A set of six stamps with profiles of Queen Victoria and King George VI were issued, comprising values of d green, 1d scarlet, 1d red brown, 2d orange, 2d ultramarine and 3d violet.
9. Two commemorative stamps were issued on 3rd May 1951. What event were these stamps issued to celebrate?

Answer: The Festival of Britain

Two stamps were issued in May 1951 to commemorate the Festival of Britain and also the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition.

Much of London was still in ruins following World War II and in desperate need of urban renovation. The Festival was organised to reassure Britons that recovery was well under way in relation to the rebuilding of towns and cities following the war.
10. A set of high value stamps was issued in 1955 depicting British Castles, with values of 2/6, 5/-, 10/- and 1.00. Which of the following castles was not shown on any of these stamps?

Answer: Tower of London

Carrickfergus Castle (Northern Ireland) was shown on the 2/6 stamp, Caernarvon Castle (Wales) on the 5/- stamp, Edinburgh Castle (Scotland) on the 10/- stamp and Windsor Castle (England) on the 1.00 stamp.
Source: Author moonraker2

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