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First penny black stamp could fetch up to £6m at auction

penny black

First penny black stamp could fetch up to £6m at auction

It was less than one square inch and cost just a penny but it launched a revolution in communications. Now the first “penny black”, the postal stamp bearing an image of Queen Victoria’s profile, is expected to fetch up to £6m when it is sold at auction.

The stamp was a runaway success when it went on sale in 1840, allowing people to send a letter weighing up to half an ounce to any destination in the country for a flat rate of one penny. Eventually more than 68m stamps were sold.

The stamp to be sold by Sotheby’s in December is a pristine impression from plate 1a – the first printed sheet – and is lettered A-1. It has been authenticated by the Royal Philatelic Society and the British Philatelic Association.

It is “unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist”, said Henry House, the head of Sotheby’s treasures sale. It is “bursting with history” and represents “the very dawn of social communication … allowing people to communicate from all levels of society and business to flourish.”

Until the penny black became valid on 6 May 1840, communications were complex and expensive, with the recipient usually required to pay. Sir Rowland Hill proposed a simple pre-paid postage system using a stamp.

The chosen design used an image of Queen Victoria based on a sketch of her aged 15. The same image remained on stamps for more than 60 years until her death in 1901.

The first penny back is attached to the Wallace document, dated 10 April 1840 and named after Robert Wallace, an MP who led a commission on postal reform.

It includes a proof of the Mulready stationery, pre-stamped letter sheets and envelopes that were offered as an alternative to adhesive stamps. The design, showing images of empire, was lampooned by the public and quickly withdrawn.

The Wallace document was acquired 10 years ago by Alan Holyoake, a British businessman and renowned philatelist. “Isn’t the stamp beautiful?” he said. “The design is a world icon, a design that our current Queen still uses.

“Prior to the introduction of cheap postage, it cost a fortune to send a letter – so unless you were privileged or wealthy, communication wasn’t really possible. Suddenly, the postage stamp just took off. It was the door to mass communication.”

Holyoake said he would be sad to see the penny black sold but was planning to use the proceeds to build another collection.

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Ondo Govt reacts to court judgement declaring new LCDAs ‘illegal’

The Ondo State Government says necessary legal action will be taken on the judgement nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The government’s reaction is contained in a statement by the Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Kayode Ajulo SAN, made available to  newsmen on Friday in Akure.

Justice A.O Adebusuoye of the state High Court had in a judgement on Thursday described the creation of the LCDAs as unlawful.

The court said it was illegal for a governor to sign a law outside the State.

The court said that the Local Government Creation Law 2023 signed by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The statement said the government has taken cognizance of Ondo State High Court’s judgement and had requested for a Certified True Copy of it.

Ajulo said after it was studied and analysed, a legal opinion would be presented to the state government.

“Subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served,” the statement said.

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LASTMA impounds 40 vehicles in Oyingbo, ijora, idumota axis

The  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas of  Lagos.

Mr Taofiq Adebayo, Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Adebayo said impounding the vehicles at these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by LASTMA Head of Enforcement, Mr Kayode Odunuga, under the directives of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa.

Adebayo that they were specifically directed to target illegal garages that had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the  Lagos State Government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

He quoted Giwa as emphasising that government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads, ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos.

“These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

“LASTMA’s intervention aims to clear these bottlenecks and enhance the overall traffic situation in these critical areas.

“Residents and business owners have expressed their support for the government’s action, noting the positive impact it will have on their daily activities.

“LASTMA has also assured the public that the operation will be sustained and extended to other parts of the city where illegal garages and related activities are prevalent,” he quoted Giwa as saying.

He urged all vehicle owners and operators to adhere to the state’s traffic regulations and cooperate with authorities to avoid sanctions.

He reiterated that the government’s primary objective was to create a better and more livable Lagos for everyone.

He also urged motorists to take ownership of the roads and to promptly inform LASTMA of any broken down or abandoned trailers or trucks via the Agency’s hotlines: 0810056586008129928503.

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Emir of Ilorin commiserates with Saraki over mother’s death

Nigeria in very bad shape, only PDP can rebuild it —Saraki

Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has commiserated with a former Senate President,  Dr Bukola Saraki, over the death of his mother, Mrs Florence Saraki.

This is contained in a condolence message issued by the emir’s Spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, on Wednesday in Ilorin.

Mrs Saraki died on Tuesday at the age of 89.

Sulu-Gambari described the deceased as a wonderful mother, great philanthropist and virtuous wife to  Dr Olusola Saraki, the late Waziri of Ilorin, whose contributions to humanity would forever be remembered.

According to him, the deceased lived a fulfilled life, with numerous accomplishments.

The royal father urged Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara, and his siblings to be strong in heart over the demise of their beloved mother.

Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman of Kwara Traditional Rulers’ Council, extended his condolences to both the immediate and extended family members of the Saraki dynasty.

“I pray that Almighty Allah grants the family and friends the fortitude to bear the great loss,” he said.

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