Many boys and girls in our country and in England like to collect stamps. Two English boys, Peter and Bert, also collect stamps.
Peter has already more than a thousand stamps. He began to collect them five years ago, but Bert is only beginning, he has not more than three or four hundred stamps.
Bert did not know how to collect stamps. Peter showed him how to put the stamps in water and take them off the paper. And when the stamps were dry, he showed him how to sort them and put all the stamps from one country on the same page of his stamp book. Many countries have very beautiful stamps and children can learn much from them about different countries of the world.
Stamps are like little pictures.
Very often they show the flowers or the trees which grow in this or that country, or they show different kinds of transport of the country: trains, boats, aeroplanes, buses and cars.
Stamps may also have portraits of famous people on them: scientists, engineers, pilots, cosmonauts, writers and painters. There are stamps with the portraits of K. Marx, F. Engels.V. I. Lenin and other revolutionary leaders, and stamps that show different kinds of sports and portraits of famous sportsmen.
Stamps may also show pictures from the history of the country which makes them.
The first stamp in the world was an English stamp. It was made in 1840. Before that time people paid a lot of money to the postman for every letter that they received, and the postman did not give letters to anybody who did not pay him.
An English teacher, whose name was Rowland Hill, had a good idea. He said that the people who wrote the letters must pay for them, and not the people who received them. He spoke about it to people in the government. Soon the post-offices began to sell little pieces of paper with Ip stamped on them. These stamps, as the people called' them, they put on letters. The people who received letters with stamps on them did not have to pay anything to the postman.
In Russia people began to use stamps in 1858. The first Soviet stamp was made in 1918. There was an arm with a sword cutting a chain on it. The stamp of 1921 had a picture in which a young worker stood with his foot on the dragon of capitalism, which lay on its back.
The next Soviet stamp had a picture of the first Soviet tractor, which workers made at the Kirov plant in Leningrad. It was ready on the 1st of May, 1924.
At the beginning of the war in June 1941, Soviet stamps showed Mother Russia calling her sons to defend her. Then came Victory Day, the 9th of May, and a new stamp, the Victory Day stamp.
In 1957 stamps showed the first Soviet sputnik and in 1961 — the first Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. In our country we also make stamps in honour of famous men of all countries. There are Soviet stamps with portraits of Robert Burns, the great poet of Scotland; of Bernard Shaw, the British writer; of Benjamin Franklin, the American scientist, and stamps with portraits of many other great men of the world.