The world's first adhesive postage stamps were issued by Great Britain in 1840, with the issuance of the "Penny Black" depicting Queen Victoria. Thus began the convention of designating British stamps by the depiction of the country's sovereign. Great Britain is the only country allowed by international postal regulations to omit a text name of the issuing country, which allows artists much greater flexibility in the creation of stamp designs.
In 1966 Arnold Machin sculpted a bust of Queen Elizabeth for the Royal Mail. This "Machin head" has been in continuous use since then, and has thus been reproduced some 320 BILLION times. Three copies of the original bust were known to exist, but recently a fourth one was discovered at the Machin family home.
In October the Queen's head will be sold to the highest bidder; it is expected to fetch £10,000.
Link. Photo: BNPS.co.uk