On this day in history : 1st October 1870 – The first Halfpenny Rose Red postage stamp is introduced – it is the smallest UK postage stamp ever to have been issued….

Image : British Government – Public domain

The new stamp was introduced due to the reduction in the postal rate for newspapers and the introduction of the postcard….

Printed in sheets of 480 the stamps soon became known as ‘bantums’, as they were half the size of the Penny Red…. The plan had been to issue them in a light green colour but experiments to produce a suitable ink had proved too time consuming – so instead it was decided to print them in a rose-red shade….

In 1880 they were eventually replaced by a light green stamp…. This time the new Halfpenny stamp, printed by De La Rue, was a full size version….

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