stamp printers

How The Printing Plates Were Made

The printers using small hand presses with engraved printing plates were geniuses of incalculable accuracy of taking an original stamp design then transferring it over and over again to make a printing plate for a full sheet of stamps, mixing the ink colors for each value then actually printing by hand each sheet of stamps. The stamp designers got their ideas from Art, Antiquities, Famous people and Events, which they added their own artistic style to, printed a proof of what they had created and once accepted the printers took over and made them into printing plates by transferring the die replicating it to whatever size sheet, a sheet of 100 would have taken one hundred die transfers meticulously accomplished.  This is the Small Printing Press that England printed the very 1st stamp in the world known as the One Cent Penny Black in May 1840 with a portrait of Queen Victoria.

It was modeled after the 1837 medal which was used on to commemorate the Queen’s visit to the City of London depicting Queen Victoria when she was just 15 years old. America’s first issue was in 1847 using portraits painted by Gilbert Stuart of George Washington which is now in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian and Benjamin Franklin whose painting is in the Department of State 7th Floor Washington DC , France followed soon after in 1849 with their first issue depicting the Greek/Roman Goddess known as Ceres.  By the 1850’s people began collecting stamps from around the world and the very 1st stamp albums were printed and sold for them to organize their collections. Stanley Gibbons of London & Alfred Maury of Paris began selling stamps to collectors who were also trading with other collectors around the world. By 1890’s the philatelist Count Philip Ferrari who became so enthusiastic about collecting that he devoted half of his chateau in Paris to his collection.

The Printing Press and the Engraved Plate that were used to produce the first stamp  in the World the famous ‘ Penny Black’ on May 6, 1840 depicting Queen Victoria.

Stamp Designers

The 1st Stamps of France ‘Ceres’ were designed by Albert Barre the official printer for Napoleon III, using a similar Roman Statue of antiquity of Ceres as a model he designed one of the most famous classics in the world. Barre used this same design as a basis for the 1st issue of Greece in 1861 known as the  Hermes’ heads using a Greek Statue of Mercury from antiquity.

Lawrence of Arabia stamp designer for Saudi Arabia 

Hejaz and Nejd Southern Arabia governments came about through World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and their German Allies, their 1st stamps were a little known fact designed by the famous the T.E. Lawrence author – soldier and adventurer who became known as “Lawrence of Arabia“ adhering to the Moslem edict of no human faces on their artwork , he traveled to the Great Mosques in Alexandria and traced the drawings of beautiful Arabic script which was an art form unto itself from the doors to the mosque and submitted them to the Egyptian Survey Printing Company for printing Arabia’s very first stamp. Ibn Saud soon conquered Hejaz in 1924 and together they became Saudi Arabia using the stamps that Lawrence of Arabia had personally designed.

Letter w/ envelope from Lawrence of Arabia in 1918Someday that little business in Arabia will be Famous”.  The actual Stamps Designed by Lawrence of Arabia in 1916 with his original stamps mounted in a presentation album describing his designs and their printing in Alexandria, Egypt of these very 1st stamps of Saudi Arabia.  Lawrence and King Saud prepare their troops for battle against the Ottoman Empire that re-wrote the Map of the Middle East.