The first ever example of pictorial pre-paid stationery
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Westminster Collection.    imgCloseButton

The forgotten chapter of British postal history…

1840 Penny Black Mulready Envelope
1840 Penny Black Mulready inside envelope

The forgotten chapter of British postal history…

Introduced at the same time as the Penny Black, the Mulready Envelopes were in effect, pre-paid envelopes in which the sender could enclose a letter.

As we have a very small stock of these prized issues, it’s an opportunity you may want to consider with some urgency. If you are unfamiliar with the story of the 1840 Penny Mulready Envelope please read on...

They were issued as part of the Sir Rowland Hill’s Great Post Office reform and became valid for postage on 6th May 1840, the same time as the Penny Black and Twopenny Blue. They took their name from their designer, a respected and eminent artist, Irishman William Mulready R.A.

On their release, Sir Rowland Hill predicted that it would be the Mulreadys that would become the future of the postal service – not the individual Penny Black stamp. The Victorian public thought otherwise.

Just six days after their introduction, on 12th May 1840, Hill wrote in his journal “I fear we shall have to substitute some other stamp for that design by Mulready ... the public have shown their disregard and even distaste for beauty”. It was the beginning of the end for the Mulready.

Within two months the decision had been made to replace the Mulready envelopes. As a result, the stationery was withdrawn in 1841 and the stock was destroyed.

And this is the key to what makes the 1840 Penny Mulready Envelope so collectable today. Due to their unpopularity at the time and their short life, Mulready Envelopes were issued in far lower numbers than the regular Penny Black stamp.

This also means that far fewer Penny Mulready envelopes were actually ever used for postage. Subsequently it is these used envelopes that command a higher catalogue price as knowledgeable collectors seek them out.

And with limited stock available your quick response is recommended.

Your 1840 Penny Mulready Envelope will come housed in an archive quality Presentation Folder, perfect to keep it in pristine condition and also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Order Ref 185/M993/0
Orders and payment terms are subject to acceptance and status. We may perform a credit check.
Price £495.00 (+ £4.99 p&p)


  • Comes complete in a Deluxe Presentation Folder with a Certificate of
  • Authenticity

Numismatic pieces should be owned primarily for collector interest.
The Westminster Collection does not offer them as an investment and makes no guarantees in terms of future value.