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One of the holy grail stamps of stamp collecting is the Penny Black, which was the first adhesive postage stamp in the world. This stamp was made for the British postal service, but was designed by an American by the name of Jacob Perkins. The very first stamp was printed on May 6, 1840. Just 2 days later the blue two-penny stamp was printed, also known as the Tuppenny blue. These were printed on the Perkins, Bacon & Co. press. Each of these two first stamps featured the engraved portrait of Queen Victoria. About a year later in 1841, the a new Penny Red stamp replaced the Penny Black and also had the same Queen Victoria design.

The number of Penny Black stamps printed was estimated to be around 68 million when including the imperforate versions. So the value of this stamp is not as high as one would expect, considering it was one of the first created. In addition, 21 billion Penny Red stamps were printed, which are far more common. Although the Tuppenny Blue stamps are relatively rare with only 6.5 million being printed.

One of the rarest stamps in existence is the 1918 Inverted Jenny which features a Curtiss JN-4h biplane that is flying upside down on a US 24-cent stamp. Normally, the plane is flying upright. There are only 100 Inverted Jenny stamps known to exist throughout the world. These are estimated to be worth over $800,000 each. At a Robert A. Siegel auction in 2005, this stamp fetched over $2.5 million!

Another rare stamp is the 1847 Mauritius "Post Office" stamp, which is a British colonial issue. These are easily worth millions of dollars and even inspired a play on Broadway. In the world of Philately, these are considered Holy Grail collectible pieces. There are still limitless, valuable stamps from around the world which tells the story and history of the nations.

Stamp collectors are known as Philatelists and stamp collecting and the study of stamps itself is known as Philately. Philatelists oftentimes look for special issues or commemorative stamps. These are rarer and not used as much for regular use through the mail. Some examples of these are the four horizontal Zeppelin stamps from 1930 to 1933 and the 10 National Parks printed in 1934. Definitives are what collectors consider to be regular issue stamps. These usually feature anything, including great leaders such as US presidents like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan. Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright and Eugene O'Neill also had portraits on stamps as well including many other scientists, architects and playwrights.

Many international leaders, events and histories are recorded on stamps of the day. China has full of historical imagery including the time before chairman Mao during their hyperinflation period in the 1930s, or the Third Reich from Germany, which included the swastikas on them until they were defeated in World War II. Many nations of the time displayed their military might during the war.

Many other countries like Australia had depictions of their national symbols and animals, such as the kangaroo. France honored their great artists and printed art on their stamps, just as many countries do today. You can find just about anything on stamps these days, including sports, artwork, birds, animals, airplanes and vehicles, flowers, buildings and much more!