The world's first postage stamp is to be recreated using the original printing press to coincide with a major international exhibition.
The Royal Mail will print reproduction Penny Blacks 160 years after the stamp was first issued on 6 May 1840. The printing will take place during The Stamp Show 2000 in London next month and will make use of the Perkins-Bacon printing press loaned by the British Library philatelic collections.
The Royal Mail said the printing process would use the original Victorian printing method and would be "extremely slow", with only 10 sheets printed a day - and a maximum of 70 sheets produced during the show.
David Beech, curator and head of the British Library philatelic collections, said the historic press was given to the library in 1963.
It has been lent to exhibitions before, but has not been used.
Peter Jennings, fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, said: "This Penny Black reproduction is surely the ultimate philatelic souvenir for collectors and non-collectors alike."
A £5 presentation pack containing a block of four of the Penny Black reproductions will be on sale from the Royal Mail Collectibles stand at the show at Earls Court on 22-28 May.
Stamp prices are to rise this week, for the first time for nearly four years. First-class stamps will go up by 1p to 27p from Thursday, but second-class stamp prices stay at 19p.
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