Philatelists get definitions lowdown

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The new session opened with a visit from Chris Moffat, from East Kilbride, his subject being British definitions 1840-2005. Definitions are the stamps in everyday use showing only the Queen’s head, as opposed to those commemorating special events and anniversaries.

Naturally, the guest started with the Penny Black, arguably the most famous stamp in the world being the very first to be issued and the Twopenny Blue, both issued in May 1840.

Though Rowland Hill is credited with the introduction of a postage stamp (termed adhesive labels at first), many philatefists, especially in Scotland, consider James Chalmers of Dundee should have been afforded the honour – and this difference of opinion continues

Mr Moffat showed how stamps were imperforate at first followed by the introduction of perforations in 1854 and then as the postal system was extended to other parts of the world, new and higher values were required.

As well as the stamps from the regions of all the British monarchs to the present Queen, he also had them used on covers, the change from being produced by letterpress to photogravure to lithography and the introduction of inovative processes to aid mechanical sorting and combat forgery.