Pictured above is the Penny Black, the first ever postage stamp created and used in Great Britain, featuring a young Queen Victoria issued on the 1st of May 1840.
As no other country in the world at that time used postage stamps, the name of the country is absent, and even today English stamps are the only ones without the country’s name.
Special machinery was designed to create the border and background of the Penny Black. Artist Frederick Heath then engraved the Queen’s profile, using a magnifying apparatus making the stamp a tiny artwork, made on a tiny scale.
Modern stamps are just normal pictures, electronically reduced .
actually quite a lot of modern stamps are engraved; Sweden in particular keeps the art of engraving alive. Have a look at some of Czeslaw Slania’s work to see how far he developed the art [click here]. Martin Morck and others continue to produce wonderful lifesize, mirror images that are turned into postage stamps.