Last October was the 175th anniversary of the creation of the first stamp, the Penny Black, issued in London in 1840. The design of the world first stamp was decided by means of a competition. The winner, Rowland Hill, submitted an image of the youthful profile of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. At that time, the postal system was undergoing a widespread renovation, both in England and the rest of the world. The image of a head in profile later became a precedent for other countries when they produced their first philatelic series.
The custom of placing the head of a country’s current leader on stamps became, and continues to be, a common design. In fact, 35% of the stamps in the collection feature a face, viewed either in profile or face-on. Generally speaking, these faces are shown with rather austere, distant expressions. But what lies behind these countenances? Why is it that our faces express who we truly are, or in other cases they express very different qualities to those we really have? Today we will be carrying out a scientific examination of the subject, as explained by David Masip.