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Two Penny Blue (1841 second 'white line' issue)
Country of productionUnited Kingdom
Date of production6 May 1840 (1840-05-06)
DepictsQueen Victoria
NotabilityWorld's second official postage stamp[inconsistent]
Face value2d

The Two Penny Blue or The Two Pence Blue was the world's second official postage stamp,[inconsistent] produced in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and issued after the Penny Black.

Initial printing took place from 1 May 1840, and in all 6,460,000 were printed from two plates until 29 August.[1]: 161  Officially the stamps were valid for postage from 6 May but were only available from 8 May.[1]: 164  It was first sold to the public at the London Inland revenue office on 6 May 1840.[citation needed] Except for its denomination, the design is exactly the same as the penny black and was struck from the same die.[2]

It was originally intended that the 2d blue be issued at the same time as the 1d black; the earliest postmark seen on one of these is 6 May 1840. The first issues of this value (intended for double rate letters), were printed from plates 1 and 2. The printing plates were destroyed in 1843.[1]: 161  Copies of the stamp are now significantly rarer and more expensive than the Penny Black.[3]

Later when the colours of the stamps were being revised, the inks chosen were red-brown for the penny value and a new blue ink for the two pence value. As the printed stamps in the new ink looked the same as the original issue, it was decided to add a horizontal line at the top and bottom of the label so as the newer printings could be easily identified. Printing of the revised stamps began on 27 February 1841 and were placed on sale in March.[1]: 174–5  These are referred to as the white lines added issue, as pictured right. They are more common than the original 1840 printing.

Several differences exist in the post-1841 stamps due to watermark, perforation, paper and type variations. In all the 1840-80 series of this design used 15 plates.[4]

The Penny Black allowed a letter weighing up to half an ounce to be sent anywhere within Britain or Ireland; the Two Penny Blue's weight limit was a full ounce.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Muir, Douglas N. (1990). Postal Reform & The Penny Black. London: National Postal Museum. ISBN 0-9515948-0-X.
  2. ^ "1840 2d and 1841 2d a plating aid". Steven Allen British and Colonial Stamps. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. ^ "The COMPLETE Two Penny Blue stamp guide (value, history, rarity & legacy)".
  4. ^ "A guide to identifying 2-penny blue line-engraved issues of 1840-80". Linns Stamp News.
  5. ^ Beal, Peter (2008). A dictionary of English manuscript terminology, 1450–2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 426. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199576128.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-957612-8.