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For broadcast on CBS Radio Network stations 
November 16-17, 2002:

America's First Stamps

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

Coins go back to ancient times, but stamps were invented only in the
mid-18-hundreds, in Britain. In 1847, the U-S issued its first stamps,
featuring our first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, and George

The National Postal Museum in Washington, part of the Smithsonian, has a new
exhibition on America's first stamps that shows stamps that were never used,
more than 140 envelopes using them, and what life was like in the

Back then, it cost five cents -- that's the Ben Franklin stamp -- to mail a
half-ounce letter 300 miles or less or a dime for a greater distance.

Very few of these first U-S stamps still exist on the envelopes or folded
letter sheets to which they were affixed, and this is believed to be the
largest exhibition ever of these.

The original Franklin and Washington designs have appeared on U-S stamps
twice since then, on their hundredth and 150th anniversaries.

And that's stamp collecting this week. 

I'm Lloyd de Vries, CBS News. 

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