First Class: A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps by Christopher West (Paperback, 2013)

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From the world's first postage stamp, the 1840 Penny Black, to the First Class stamp 2012, Chris West's selection of 36 stamps – 'some beautiful, some quirky, some baffling, some stained with blood' – are the inspiration for his idiosyncratic and entertaining history of Britain. Among his collection are the 1881 Penny Lilac (33 billion printed); the first decimal set (1971); and a single foreign stamp telling a story of reparations and hyperinflation: a 1923 German 200 mark stamp, overprinted 2 million.
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