VERY FINE. A RARE ORIGINAL PRINTED ACT BY PARLIAMENT FROM 1657 SETTING UP THE GENERAL POST OFFICE IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND. AN IMPORTANT PRE-PHILATELIC DOCUMENT FOR ANY POSTAL HISTORY COLLECTION.
This is the first act of Parliament that created the "Setling of one General Post Office, for the speedy Conveying, Carrying, and Re-carrying of Letters by Post, to, and from all Places within England, Scotland, and Ireland". The act also set out postage rates both within Great Britain and to major trading ports in Europe and even Constantinople.
EXTREMELY FINE AND EARLY FIRST YEAR OF USE STRIKE OF THE BISHOP'S MARK OF LONDON. ONE OF THE EARLIEST KNOWN STRIKES AND UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE FINEST STRIKES EXTANT.
The Bishop's Mark is the world's first handstruck postal marking. It was created by Henry Bishop, the Postmaster General from 1660-1663. He went on to say "a stamp is invented that is putt upon every letter shewing the day of the moneth that every letter comes to the office, so that no Letter Carryer may dare to detayne a letter from post to post, which before was usual."
The earliest recorded Bishop's Mark is Apr. 19, 1661 with another example dated Apr. 24. Both of these are institutionalized. Two or three others are known earlier than the marking offered here. The addressee, Thomas Pengelly was a wealthy British merchant and father of Sir Thomas Pengelly.