The Wyon Head
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The Wyon Head was used as the basis to design the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black. In 1839 The Treasury held a competition for adhesive postage stamp designs which attracted over 2,600 entries. Although prizes were awarded for the best entries none were thought totally suitable. In December 1839 the security printers Perkins Bacon were asked to produce a sketch for a postage stamp based on the Queen's head used for William Wyon's City Medal. An artist called Henry Carbould produced a drawing of the head based on Wyon's medal and Perkins Bacon experimented with engine turning to produce the background. By January 1840 the head was ready for engraving and this was carried out by Frederick Heath, son of Charles Heath, a one time partner of Perkins. Following a number of iterations the final design of the Penny Black emerged, not only being the world's first stamp but also a classic example of design.