Knight is considered to be the first person to propose the use of stamped
newspaper wrappers. The proposal was made by him in 1834 in a letter to
Lord Althorp, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The matter was mentioned
during a debate in the House of Commons on 22 May 1834.
Matthew Davenport Hill MP, brother of Sir Rowland Hill, was advocating
a payment of a penny for a newspaper sent by post and stated: "...to
put an end to any objections that might be made as to the difficulty of
collecting the money, he would adopt the suggestion of a person well
qualified to give an opinion on the subject (he alluded to Mr Knight,
the publisher). That gentleman recommended that a stamped wrapper
should be prepared for such newspapers as it was desired to send by
post, and that each wrapper should be sold at the rate of 1d by the
distributors of stamps..."
Report, 22 May 1834]
On 8 October 1855 the Board of the Inland Revenue announced that they “…are now prepared to receive paper to be delivered at the Head Office,
Somerset House, London, for the purpose of being impressed with Stamps for denoting the several rates of postage…”
And so it became possible for publishers to obtain Stamped to Order newspaper wrapper in Great Britain from this time.
An example of a Stamped to Order newspaper wrapper produced for Nestle, Andreae & Co in 1858 (17 11 58)
and used to Switzerland in 1859.
In 1861 the United States of America was the first country to produce newspaper wrappers for sale at a Post Office to the general public.
A 1c newspaper rate was introduced on 27 February 1861. The actual date of when this wrapper was first issued is unknown.
USA 1861 newspaper wrapper produced by George F Nesbitt & Co.
The design depicts Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster-General of the United States.
Newspaper Wrappers are perhaps the least popular of philatelic items amongst collectors.
At one time there was a practice of collecting a cut out of the imprinted stamp
from the newspaper wrapper. This practice has now generally fallen out of favour
and newspaper wrappers are now collected intact. Because of this
past practice there are many newspaper wrappers which are now
rare or even unique as complete wrappers and some wrappers are rare even as cut outs.
Except in instances of where the wrapper or variety is rare, newspaper
wrappers should always be collected in an undamaged intact condition.
Used items will invariably be folded and sealed. Unused wrapper have in
most instances been folded, when buying mint items check that the fold has
not damaged the wrapper. An unfolded wrapper will always command a
higher price when being sold (that is if you can get one!).
Just like stamps there are many varieties to be found amongst wrappers, some of these have never been listed.
This is an area of philately where finding rare and unique items is possible today.
Wrapper come with different watermarks, different shades of paper, different shades of colour, there are errors in printing of various
kind, proofs and specimens.
The Higgins & Gage World Postal
Stationery Catalog, which was last published in the 1970's is
the only single source listing newspaper wrappers issued by postal
Prices in this catalogue are very much outdated. There are a number
specialised single country catalogues which list newspaper wrappers.
These are from the more popular countries. Many countries have no
current listing in any catalogue.
I have now almost completed the process of compiling a world wide
catalogue of postal stationery "Newspaper
Wrappers" showing a colour illustration of all
wrappers. The two volume catalogue will have over 900 pages in total and it is
expected to be published late 2015.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS!
Specialist Societies for collectors of Newspaper Wrapper