Great Britain’s “Penny Black” stamp is famous for being the world’s
first adhesive postage stamp used in a postal administration.
Featuring a bust of Queen Victoria, the stamp marked the introduction
of pre-payment of postage.
But collectors may not realize the design was borrowed from a medal
by William Wyon, an example of which sold June 7 by A.H. Baldwin &
The bronze medal, in Good Extremely Fine according to the auction
house, realized £360 (about $605 in U.S. funds), including the 20
percent buyer’s fee. In British grading, Good Extremely Fine
represents the About Uncirculated range of grades in the American
The medal shows a diademed Queen Victoria on the obverse and
commemorates her 1837 visit to the Corporation of London’s Guildhall,
seen on the medal’s reverse.
The 55-millimeter-diameter medal attracted the attention of postal
officials working on the stamp design, and the Penny Black resulted.
Only used for about a year because the red cancellation ink was hard
to distinguish and easy to remove, the Penny Black lives on in
A Mint example is valued at $11,000, according to the 2015 Scott
Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 3. A used example will
only cost about $320, however.
For those collectors who can’t afford the Mint-condition stamp, the
medal is a more affordable alternative.
To learn more about the sale or the auction house, telephone the
firm at (011) 44 20 7016 1700, email it or visit its website.