Proof of payment for articles sent through a postal system.
The first postage stamps were used in 1653 by Monsieur de
Velayer who ran a small post office in France. His stamps were, in fact, small
pieces of paper with the phrase “receipt for the payment of transport"
attached to the mailed article. In 1814 the Sardinian postal service took up the
idea of issuing receipts attached to the mail, but neither of these applications
lasted very long.
On May 6th, 1840 the use of adhesive pre-paid receipts began in the way
we think of it today, when the English postal service issued the Penny Black
stamp and the Twopenny Blue stamps with the portrait of Queen Victoria.