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The world history of stamps dates back to 1840 when stamps were first introduced in the United Kingdom as part of the postal reforms promoted by Sir Rowland Hill. Accordingly, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp was introduced on 6th May 1840 as a means of addressing the problem of recovering the costs of delivering mails as recipients were unable or unwilling to pay for delivered items, and senders had no incentive to restrict the number, size, or weight of items sent, whether or not they would ultimately be paid for. Hereafter, the rest of the countries including the British colonies throughout the world made arrangements to issue stamps.

As such, Sri Lanka which was then under the British rule and was called Ceylon, issued its first postage stamp on 1st April 1857 depicting the profile of the British Monarch Victoria in denomination of 6 penny, the currency at the time being the same as what was used in England. Anyway, the first postage stamp in Sri Lankan rupees was issued on 1st February 1892. Ceylon turned out to be a republic within the Commonwealth on 22nd May 1972 and also the name of the country was transformed to Sri Lanka. As such, the Republic of Sri Lanka issued its first stamp on 22nd May 1972. However, most of the stamps issued in Sri Lanka from 1857 up to date are on display at the National Postal Museum of Sri Lanka. The stamps of Sri Lanka are equally vivid in their appearance depicting her glorious history, the fauna and flora, agriculture and industries, the divergent religious and cultural heritage etc.

Stamps of Sri Lanka
Stamps of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka Philatelic Bureau which was established in 1968 under the purview of the Department of Posts is the authority that is responsible for designing and printing of stamps for use in Sri Lanka. Also it distributes stamps and other philatelic items among local and overseas stamp collectors, while conducting various philatelic programmes island-wide and participating in local and overseas philatelic exhibitions on behalf of the Sri Lanka Post.