Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: W is For Western Australia


Disparaging term used to refer to speculative stamps issued in quantity chiefly for sale to collectors. The issues of third-world and emerging countries. The idea of reference is that such issues, generally available, at rare discounts, are about as valuable as wallpaper.

Wallpaper Cover

A specific form of turned cover most frequently associated with the U.S. Civil War. When paper was in short supply, some people used wallpaper samples and other items to fold down and use as envelopes for correspondence. Such covers, popular with collectors, are generally folded so as to display the wallpaper pattern for exhibit purposes.

Want List

Throughout the history of stamp collecting, collectors have found the want list a most effective way of obtaining desired stamps. A listing is made by a collector of those stamps he or she needs, which is circulated among other collectors and dealers. The desired stamps are then obtained through purchase or trade. Such listings generally include the country name, a brief description, catalog number, desired condition, and other characteristics that are helpful to the recipient to locate stamps.

War Tax

Any tax levied to help finance a wartime effort through the use of revenue stamps.

War Tax Stamps

Stamps issued by various countries to raise money for war. Most represent a tax imposed or the use of the mail, and war tax stamps are required on letters or parcels along with regular postage stamps. Such stamp issues may either be overprinted stamps of the country or issues created specifically for the war tax.


A term with similar connotation to the term "cleaned," but generally referring to used stamps that have had their cancels chemically removed to be illegally reused in the mail stream. An alternative, obsolete use of this term is to describe soaking stamps from paper for legitimate collecting purposes.


Letters impressed on paper during manufacture to discourage counterfeiting. Paper is thinner where the watermark has been impressed and, therefore, appears darker when the paper is immersed in watermark detecting fluid. On some occasions, watermarks are inverted or backwards. Such varieties are quite collectible, but generally do not fetch a premium. Some watermark error exist, such as the U.S. $1 Presidential watermark error (Minkus 553w, Scott 832b). This is a stamp that was not intended to bear a watermark, but has one as a result of a small quantity of watermarked revenue paper inadvertently used. Such errors are usually scarce and command a substantial premium over the standard version.

Watermark Fluid

Non-aqueous liquid that soaks the paper (but doesn't moisten the gum on mint stamps), making it more translucent, and thus making the watermark much easier to see. The watermark detector is a small, shallow ceramic or plastic dish in which a stamp can be immersed in watermark fluid. It is black in color, to make the watermark more readily visible.


One of the many different forms of damage that can occur to an improperly stored cover. Once water has contacted the paper, it frequently dissolves any pigment present and redistributes it throughout the paper fibers. As a result, large spots may be found, primarily around the edges of such covers.

Way Letters

Letters picked up and delivered by a route carrier or mailman. The "WAY" marking may either be hand-stamped or written in manuscript.

Web Printing

Line-engraved intaglio printing accomplished on paper that has been pre-moistened to a content of 15 to 35 percent. During the early 1950s, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began using the dry printing process, which could be accomplished on paper with a 5-percent moisture content.


The price paid by stamp dealers for stamps or covers they wish to resell. Because stamp dealers derive their sustenance from buying and selling stamps, they must be able to purchase philatelic items at a price that allows them to resell the items at a profit.

Wine Stamps

First released in 1914, these include a number of types and designs used to pay taxes on cases of cordials and wines.

Wing Margin

A huge margin on any one side of a stamp. Wing margins are most commonly associated with British stamps of the late 1800s. Prior to 1880, the gutters on the press sheet between pairs of stamps were perforated, rather than trimmed. As a result, the center margin positions would typically feature either a right or left margin of much larger than usual width. Such stamps are scarcer than normal examples, but like the straight-edged stamps of the United States, wing margin stamps have traditionally been seen as less desirable to most collectors, resulting in a lower value for such items.


Special charity stamps to aid the poor in winter.


Withdrawn from philatelic sale means a stamp is no longer available from a philatelic window, or from the Philatelic Sales Division; however, such stamps may still be found in standard post office stamp stocks for some time. Withdrawn also means when a stamp has been completely withdrawn from all USPS sales windows.

Wove Paper

This is the most popular and adaptable form of paper used in stamp printing. Wove paper may either be coated (for gravure and offset printing) or uncoated (for intaglio or letterpress). Under magnification, wove paper shows a woven appearance of paper fibers as they are laid down during the papermaking process. Wove paper also is one of the strongest forms of paper.


There are two primary forms of wrappers. The first is a form of postal stationery in the form of a sheet of paper gummed at one edge with an imprinted stamp design, used for wrapping and mailing periodicals. The second form is most commonly encountered with private die proprietary stamps. In most cases, these refer to wrappers for patent medicine products with the revenue stamp printed as part of the design. Wrappers also can refer to labels and wrappers for products with the appropriate revenue stamp affixed.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: V is For Victoria


This term can refer to either the printed denomination of a stamp or to its monetary market value to a collector or dealer. The term also refers to the relative light or dark of a color, on a scale from white to black; thus, a high-value color is a very light pastel shade. A low-value color is very dark.

Variable Denomination

A relatively modern type of stamp that uses a form of key plate to produce the basic (but blank) background design. Computer printers then print the denomination on the stamp at the time it is vended. U.S. variable- denomination and Autopost stamps are included in this category, as are the various Frama and other types of foreign computer-vended stamps.

Varnish Bars

See Lacquer Bars.

Vertical Pair, Imperforate Horizontally

Vertical pair of stamps lacking horizontal perforations between stamps and with horizontal straight edges at top and bottom. Perforations are present at left and right sides.

Very Fine

A term that relates more to centering than to overall condition. A stamp that has very fine centering is slightly off center, but has clear more-or-less evenly spaced margins surrounding the design. Imperforate examples have four decent margins.


The central design portion of a stamp. In most cases, this is a portrait, but it can include other strong design elements contained within the border as well. A second and much less commonly used meaning of the word comes from an early French term that described pictorial labels with no postal value.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stamps As Medicine: The Therapeutic Value

KNS is a serious believer in stamps serving a therapeutic value for wounded soldiers and ailing senior citizens. We have donated supplies to these causes and witnesses the positive results.

We hope to see and hear the same results as we enbark on helping a group of disabled children from South Africa. KNS has been searching for some time now in the hopes of connecting with a group of children interested in learning about stamps and maybe learning about themselves and their ability to overcome their physical or mental challenges.

Up unto this point KNS were unsuccessful in convincing disabled children groups to join in the effort to learn and love stamps. Often their adult supervisor or group leaders frowned on the idea as too complicated or too outdated. Naturally, we deeply disagree and feel excluding people with challenges does them a terrible disservice.

Fear is the ulitmate enemy of the disabled. Ours and theirs. Neither permit them to overcome.

Thank you brave people of South Africa. Your example is bound to inspire others around the world.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: U is For Uganda

Ultraviolet Lamp

An important tool used for the detection of luminescent tagging on stamps of the world, as well as for detecting fakes, forgeries, and alterations on stamps. UV lights are available in longwave, shortwave, or a combination of the two.


A cover that has an insufficient amount of postage affixed to it to prepay the service requested or implied. When they are detected, underfranked covers are assessed postage due.

Underinked Stamps

Sometimes known as dry prints, underinked stamps are caused by too little ink being applied to the plate during printing.


A printing security device, underprinting is the application of a color, repetitive design, or patter, usually printed on the paper before a stamp design is printed. One form of security underprinting is burelage.


Any stamp without adhesive. This can include unused stamps that have lost their gum over the years but generally refers to those purposely issued without adhesive. In some cases, such as special printings or special souvenir sheets, stamps aren't gummed because postal use isn't anticipated. In other cases, such as early stamps printed for use in countries with high humidity, gumming isn't practical.


Only one copy of a stamp or other postal item is known. Not all unique stamps are tremendously valuable; their value is determined by demand. The supply of an only-known stamp is obviously limited, but if only one collector is interested, the stamp has much less value than one desired by two or more collectors.

Unpaid-Letter Stamps

The original name for postage due issues.

Untagged Error

A form of color-omitted error. An untagged error is a stamp that is supposed to have a phosphorescent coating but does not. There are several causes of untagged errors, including ink starvation, disengagement of the tagging rollers, and skipped areas of the web.


An uncanceled stamp. An unused stamp is generally assumed to have some or all gum, but may or may not, depending upon description. A mint stamp is expected to have full original gum.


Stamps printed on paper that does not contain watermarks. Some foreign stamps are printed on paper with large watermarks that do not cover the entire surface of a sheet or pane, leaving some stamps with a partial watermark and others with none. Used A postage, revenue, or special service stamp that has served its intended purpose. Most such stamps bear cancellations, cuts, punches, or other defacements to prevent reuse. Canceled-to-order stamps bear cancellations and are considered used, but they have not served postal duty.

Used Abroad

The stamps of any country, used and postmarked in any other country. This is sometimes done through special arrangement, and is sometimes done inappropriately. Used abroad covers are quite desirable.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: T is For Thailand


A non-postal pictorial or text label attached to a postage stamp for various purposes. In recent years, tab has become the standard terminology to refer specifically to the labels on the stamps of Israel.


On U.S. stamps, tagging refers to the intentional application of phosphorescent compounds that react when exposed to short-wave ultra-violet light on stamps or other postal paper. This is a photochemical reaction that can be detected by modern mail-handling equipment and used to correctly orient a piece of mail for canceling and sorting. In block tagged stamps, a rectangle of transparent but UV-reactive ink (called taggant) is applied. In overall tagging, as the name implies, the taggant covers the entire surface of the stamp, usually including the margins. Many recent stamps are printed on prephosphored paper, in which taggant is already present or is applied before printing. For stamps of other countries, tagging also refers to intentionally applied luminescent material that may be either fluorescent or phosphorescent. Most forms of tagging are invisible to the naked eye.

Tagging Ghost

The ghost image of a stamp image, text, or plate number, picked up wet from freshly printed stamps by the tagging roller and deposited on the next impression. Tagging ghosts are frequently mistaken for double printings, but are a form of set-off freak. Tagging ghosts that are quite clear are highly collectible.

Target Cancel

A cancellation marking composed of a series of concentric rings. Target cancels are a form of mute cancel that has been used in many countries for many years.

Taxed Photographs

Photographs from the Civil War era bearing revenue stamps on their backs. The tax act of 1864 (one of the later taxes of the Civil War) levied certain taxes on two arbitrary categories of photographs. One category included photos of artwork, engravings, and other types of illustrations. The other category covered all other types of photographs. It is the second type that required the use of revenue stamps. The tax (with one change in 1865) was effective from August 1, 1864, until July 31, 1866. Tax paid revenues differ from most other types in that they are not denominated in dollars and cents. Because of this, taxpaids are not listed in the Scott catalog - but that doesn't mean they don't have a strong devoted following. Taxpaids exist for many types of food, alcohol, and tobacco products, and each classification has many types.


The projecting remnant of perforations along the edge of a stamp, formed by what was the bridge of paper between the perforations on un separated stamps. Each individual tooth gives a stamp its own personality and can be used much like a fingerprint for identification of a specific stamp.

Telegraph Stamp

It has been stated numerous times that telegraph stamps are to telegrams what postage stamps are to letters. This is the most direct form of payment representation possible. As telegraph service mushroomed during the late 1800s, so did the number of telegraph companies and use of telegraph stamps. These items were in use from about 1870-1947. As smaller companies were swallowed by larger ones, the number of stamps dwindled. In addition to mint and used, many telegraph stamps also are known as remainders. Many of these have a hole punched in them. (See also Collect and Duplicate)


The 300th anniversary of a birth of other event.

Territorial Mail

Those covers and postal markings applied by active post offices in areas that have not yet been admitted to the union as states. In the case of Alaska and Hawaii, for example, pre-1959 postmarks are territorial's. Generally, territorial's are scarcer and more desirable than those markings applied after statehood. This is particularly true of the older states and those from the American Frontier.

Test Coil

One form of testing stamp created for experimental use. As with any test stamp, the primary reason for the existence of a test coil is so that tests can be run without using postage stamps, which could be misappropriated. Test coils in the United States have been created to test printing and processing equipment at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the vending machines of the U.S. Postal Service, and the stamp-affixing machines of many large mailers. In most cases, test stamps are never intended to reach the philatelic market and, in fact, such items were heavily controlled until the 1970s. As more and more material began to leak out (probably from private mailers), more collectors were able to obtain it for their collections and interest in these cinderella's has grown steadily since.


Attached stamps that have designs inverted in relation to each other. This French term means head-to-tail. Tete-beche stamps may occur as a natural part of stamps production, such as some booklet formats and in the production of triangular stamps, or they may occur as a result of production error. Such errors normally are scarce. Tete-beche stamps are generally collected either as pairs, or as triplets, with the upside-down stamp in the center.

Thatcher Ferry Bridge Error

Late in 1962, almost immediately after the United States Post Office Department intentionally printed millions of Hammarskjold invert stamps to destroy the value of the error, panes of the Canal Zone stamp featuring the Thatcher Ferry Bridge were discovered with the silver bridge omitted. Once again, the USPOD was prepared to ruin the value of the stamps by intentionally printing millions more. Legendary dealer H.E. Harris intervened and immediately filed suit against the USPOD to prevent this from occurring. In the landmark case, which Harris won, the USPOD was prevented from ever reproducing errors to destroy collector value. Today, the Thatcher Ferry Bridge error is worth thousands, while the Hammarskjold invert is not worth significantly more than a normal example.

Thematic Collecting

Similar to topical collecting, thematic collecting strives to tell a complete story; for example, a thematic collection dealing with smoking would include not only topical items, but also historical related postal items. Thematics leave more open to an individual's own interpretation than the strict collecting of topical material that simply depicts the desired subject.

Thermographic Paper

A type of paper where the image is produced by the use of heat, laser beam, or pressure. Such stamps are difficult to store for long periods of time without damage.


Damage caused by the careless removal of a stamp from its cover or of a hinge from the stamp which leaves part of the stamp paper thinner than normal. Since the damage occurs on the back side of the stamp, it is not always visible when the stamp is viewed from the front. Thins are a form of damage to a stamp and lower a stamp's value. Sometimes referred to as a "thin spot" of "skinned spot."

Three-Dimensional Paper

Gimmick stamps created primarily during the 1960s and 1970s by countries looking to boost sales of their stamps to collectors. A special ridged plastic was used to reproduce a stamp image in relief. Such stamps have ceased, because hologram technology makes 3D images much easier, and in most cases, less expensive to reproduce.


A term denoting a marking on a cover that marries or ties the stamp or other item to the cover or card. The ink from the device carries over onto the cover, leaving the impression of being tied. Tied seals, stamps, and other items are important for documenting whether such items truly originated on a given cover.

Tobacco Sale Tax Stamps

Used for a short time in 1934 to show payment of tax paid for tobacco produced in excess of stated allotments. This tax was declared unconstitutional on December 1, 1935. Tommy Gun Stamp Specifically refers to a $200 revenue issued in 1934 to show payment of a fee for a permit to own a submachine gun.

A special type of tweezers specifically designed for use by stamp collectors. Unlike tweezers, tongs are made under more exacting standards and come in a number of styles, from spade tip to needle nose. Also, and more importantly, the surface of a tong tip is never textured. These ridged edges, found on most tweezers, will harm stamps. Do you need some tongs? Championship Stamp Supply offers dozens of different tongs for stamp collectors.

Example of gold plated "Tongs"
Topical Collecting

This increasingly popular form of collecting involves gathering stamps, postmarks, meters, and other postal items that illustrate one particular topic, such as cats, dogs, boats or spaceships.

Torn Stamp

A generally unacceptable condition of a stamp, rendering it a space filler worth a tiny fraction of a sound copy's value. In some rare cases, such as the early stamps of Afghanistan (where postal clerks tore stamps with their teeth), a tear, punch, or other damaging defacement served as a customary form of stamp cancellation.

Town Cancellation

The most common form of postmark, giving the town name, and usually the state and date mailed. Most town-name postmarks are hand-stamped markings.

Training Stamps

These items, which are still produced in many countries, date back to business schools of the 19th century. Training stamps are now primarily crated in some countries for postal clerks in training. Such clerks, both civilian and military, frank, process, and cancel dummy mail franked with training stamps. Training stamps may be actual postage stamps that have been deliberately defaced for use in postal training, or they may be cinderella items that are designed and printed specifically for that purpose and have no true postal value. All are quite collectible. Because they both display block lines, some collectors confuse the barred training stamps of Great Britain with the graphite line varieties of the same countries.

Transfer Roll

Used in the siderography process to transfer the image from an engraved die to a printing plate. After the steel die is hardened, a softened transfer roll is rocked in creating a positive relief image. Once several entries are placed on the transfer roll, it is hardened and is then rocked into the softened plate, creating an incised reverse image.


These are generally minor varieties that appear on stamps at random, as opposed to constant varieties, which always appear on the same stamp in the same place in each pane or sheet printed. Transient varieties include ink smears, blobs, streaking, and other production-related anomalies.

Transit Marking

A special order form of postmark that frequently contains the word "transit" in the device itself. The marking denotes the piece is en route and sometimes indicates a delay of some sort. Although some postmarks are still added en route, arguably classifying them as transit markings, the devices themselves and the practice were officially discontinued many years ago.

Transition Strip, Block, or Multiple

A multiple of stamps of any size that shows a change from one form to another. The strip may be from sheet, booklet, coil, or any other format of stamps. The transitions referred to are often connected with major errors, such as a transition from perforated to imperforate stamps, or from full-color to color-omitted stamps. Error transition strips may be complete in as few as three stamps or as many as 20 or more. Such strips are usually scarcer than the error itself, so error transition strips frequently sell for a premium above the error itself, because of the amount of important information they supply.

Trial Color Proofs

See Color Trials.

Tri centennial

Stamps released to mark the 300th anniversary of a significant date or event.

True Franking

A mailed item that accurately reflects the postage paid by its stamp. Thus a 16.7-cent piece of mail bearing a 16.7-cent stamp is an example of a true franking.

Turned Cover

A cover that has been turned inside out for reuse. This usually has been done in times of hardship, such as war or natural disaster. Some turned covers also have been created specifically by collectors as novelties.


The obsolete term for letterpress printing, typography now deals with lettering and type sales.


The obsolete term referring to stamps printed by letterpress (formerly known as typography).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: S is For Sweden

Sample Overprint

In 1889, at the order of the United States Post Office Department, the American Bank Note Co. prepared special printings of a range of earlier Bank Note issues that had been produced between 1879 and 1888. Copies of U.S. stamps issued since 1851 that were subsequently circulated for official, promotional, or educational purposes had been overprinted "Specimen." This special printing had never been intended for postal use of any kind; however, it apparently was felt that a "Specimen" overprint was inappropriate for use on these stamps. To ensure that they would not be confused with regular stamps and postally used, therefore, these stamps were given "SAMPLE" and "SAMPLE A" overprints in red or blue. (On four of them, all or part of the overprint appears in manuscript.) The stamps are listed with specimen stamps in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers.

Sawtooth Roulette

A roulette that leaves angular, pointed edges.


Any non-postal labels used to raise money for charity or to decorate or seal envelopes.

Sealed Coil

A full roll of coil stamps that is in the original condition it was when sold at the post office. The size of the roll and characteristics can differ, but it will bear some form of seal, label, or wrapper. Some collectors save full, sealed coil rolls, and others purchase them to break down into desirable components. Sealed coils can be found from virtually every country that has produced coil stamps. With rare exceptions, most sealed coil rolls do not command premiums over the prices of their component stamps.

Second Issue

United States revenue stamps released in 1871 to replace the first issue series. The second issue stamps differ slightly in design from first issue examples and were printed on chameleon paper with silk fibers. This was intended to prevent unlawful cleaning of the cancels and subsequent illegal reuse.

Secret Marks

Tiny marks on stamps added by the artist or engraver to allow two similar designs to be told apart. These are frequently used with specific reference to early U.S. 19th century bank not issues. Some engravers also hide heir names or other details in stamp designs, only to be discovered later by sharp-eyed collectors. These, too, are known as secret marks.

Security Paper

A catchall term that refers to different types of paper, including silk, chalky, and prephosphored papers, among others, used to prevent counterfeiting of stamps.

Selective Block Tagging

Although similar to block tagging, this type of application involves the cutting of tagging rollers on a pantograph machine to leave untagged areas on printed stamps. Examples of this type of tagging include the 1988 Classic Autos booklet and the 13-cent Eagle and Shield definitive. The untagged area left by selective block tagging allows the cancellation ink to adequately permeate the stamp paper to prevent illegal reuse.

Self-Adhesive Stamps

Stamps with pressure-sensitive adhesive. Stamps with self-adhesive gum require no moisture to apply. They feature a sheet of silicone-coated backing paper beneath that keeps them intact until they are used. The first self-adhesive U.S. stamp, a pre-canceled die-cut 10-cent Dove Weathervane introduced for use on Christmas cards in October 1974, met with only modest success, and the gum has tended to produce mottled brown spots on mint copies. Improved self-adhesive stamps issued during the last decade, however, beginning with the 1989 25-cent Eagle and Shield, have become popular with postal patrons. Self-adhesive technology is relatively new to stamps, but currently accounts for the vast majority of new postage stamps produced in the United States. The first self-adhesive stamp was released by Sierra Leone in 1964 to salute the New York World's Fair.

The unprinted paper surrounding the stamp in a pane, sheet, or booklet. The term also refers to the paper that borders sheets and pans of stamps as they are printed.

Example of "Selvage" that borders a small sheet of stamps

A postage stamp that also serves as a receipt for the prepayment of an additional fee, usually to benefit charity. This additional fee frequently is represented in the stamp's denomination as a "plus" indicator. Thus, a stamp with 3+2c denomination denotes 3 cents postage and 2 cents to a specific charity.


See Perforations and Roulette.


A grouping of stamps by design, theme, or other means, intentionally released as a group over a period of months or years.

Serpentine Roulette

A form of roulette consisting of wavy lines.

Serrated roulette (or Saw Tooth Rouletting)

A form of rouletting, probably in which the simulated perforations fit together in an interlocking pattern of jagged right angles.


When overprinted on a stamp, the term generally means "on government service." The overprint indicates the stamp is valid for use only by a governmental official.

Service-Inscribed Stamps

Stamps containing text indicating their intended function or rate, either as an integral part of the stamp design (as in the "BULK RATE" inscription on the 7.9-cent Drum definitive) or applied as an overprint (as in "CAR-RT SORT" Bureau pre-cancel.


Stamps released to mark the 150th anniversary of a significant date or event.


A grouping of stamps all belonging to the same issue or series.

Set Off

Often inaccurately referred to as offset, set-off is a phenomenon that occurs when freshly printed sheets of stamps are stacked before the ink has completely dried. The design from a bottom sheet frequently, partially or fully, transfers to the un printed side of the sheet directly above it. The more complete the impression, the more desirable the freak is to collectors. The most pronounced examples of set offs are caused by a printing plate leaving a fully inked impression on an underlying roller when the press skips a sheet of paper. Subsequent sheets then receive normally inked impressions on the top side, as well as a reversed impression on the gummed side, where it has come in contact with the roller. Subsequent offset impressions fade as the ink on the roller is exhausted. These freaks, which are usually strong impressions, are greatly sought after. A third form of set off can be simulated by normally printed stamps sticking together as a result of high humidity. When pulled apart, they can give the appearance of an offset, but they are not true set offs and have no philatelic value. Another similar form of setoff can also occur through improper storage of stamps in albums. Under pressure, stamp designs transfer from the face of the stamp to the next album page. This form of setoff is not desirable.


Two or more stamps of different designs or types that are attached. Se-tenant issues have become more popular in recent years with a number of different countries. Unintentional se-tenants also exist. If different die types or major variations occur on different stamps from the same sheet or pane, a pair of stamps exhibiting these different characteristics are considered to be se-tenant.

Sewing Machine Perfs

Privately produced perforations on imperforate second issue revenues. It is believed that the buyer of what would have been imperforate errors ran the stamps through a sewing machine, letting the needle to the perforating.


A color variation from the normally released version. A shade by nature refers only to one particular mix of hue and chroma, but is compared by collectors to what is considered normal for a stamp.


A complete printing sheet of stamps as it comes off the press. It may well be sliced into post office panes at a later date.

Sheet Files

An oversized glassine envelope capable of holding an entire mint pane.


A flat-plate press that prints stamps in individual sheets, as opposed to a webfed rotary press, which utilizes large rolls, or webs, of paper.

Ship Cancel

A postal marking applied aboard a ship. Such markings usually give not only the date, but also the name of the ship and, occasionally, the shipping line name. Such cancels are usually considered desirable.

Short Perf

Poor separation of attached stamps may result in one perforation tooth that is shorter than its neighbors. While a short perf is considered a fault, it may not seriously affect a stamp's value negatively. Short Set A grouping of stamps from the same issue or series that may be missing one or two values, usually the high values in the packet trade.


The practice (or art) of creating printing plates from the original die by using transfer rolls to rock stamp images onto the printing plate. Most siderography is now done by machine, rather than by hand.

Silk Paper

Revenue stamp paper that includes silk fibers. (The early experimental silk paper, found on first issue revenues and some private die proprietaries is difficult to distinguish.) In many cases, only a single fiber or two may be found on one stamp. Later silk paper types have numerous, highly visible silk fibers appearing in the paper.

Silver Tax Stamps

Used to pay tax on the net profit on the sale of silver bullion (1934-63). Silver tax stamps were to be affixed to the transfer memorandum. Although the last silver tax stamps were released in 1944, their use was continued until June 4, 1963.


Stamps that have been postally used but were not canceled. Although the use of skips is illegal, many people view them as found money. Once removed from the envelope, there is no way to distinguish a skip from an unused stamp without gum.


Abbreviation for straight line, referring, for example, to a town marking consisting of a straight line.


A stamp that is in short supply or inherently desirable for some reason, but the value has not yet been discovered by collectors.

Slogan Cancel

Metal die hub cancels that bear some informational, advertising, promotional, or propaganda message. They are found on the covers of many countries. Slogan cancels may also be hand-stamped, but do not occur as frequently as machine cancels.

Smears, Blobs, and Blotches

Caused on stamps by excess ink, by cleaning solvent or other chemicals, on the printing plate at some point during production.

Snowman Perforations

A perforation anomaly that appears on some stamps of the 1990s processed on what is known as an APS grinding perforator. The name comes from the appearance of the anomaly: stacked perforation holes that resemble a sideways snowman. The APS grinding perforator does not punch holes in the stamp paper; it grinds out the holes, with the use of three rotary blades and a perforation pattern die that pushes the paper into cutting blades, producing dust, rather than tiny circles of paper. The practice, known as skiving, was borrowed from the leather making industry, where thin layers of skin are removed from the hide. Cutting heads are positioned so that the web first travels pas one cutter, grinding away the paper and perforating that portion of the web first. The web then travels under a take-up roller to the remaining two cutting heads. If the paper slips slightly out of alignment, or if the take-up rolls develop play or chatter, the edges of the blades, which normally overlap two or three holes, double-cut the stamps out of alignment, causing the snowman affect of slightly doubled perforations.


The process of removing stamps from their envelope backings by immersing in cool water for a time. Soaked stamps are then placed face down on absorbent paper to dry.


See Bull's Eye.

Solvent Smear

The most dramatic form of color smear, these result from use of solvents to clean printing plates. After cleaning, solvent remainders thin printing ink to the point that t messily smears across the surface of the finished stamp. Like all freaks, these items are supposed to be cut from the printed web of stamp paper and destroyed, but they occasionally slip though, to the delight of collectors.

Souvenir Card

Special items with philatelic interest, usually released in conjunction with philatelic exhibitions. Souvenir cards may or may not depict stamps. In some cases, such as those produced by the Bureau of Engraving and printing, souvenir cards bear die imprints of actual postage stamps. Souvenir cards are not valid for postage, but are simply intended to be attractive souvenirs.

Souvenir Panel

A specific product of the United States Postal Service. A souvenir panel is a specially engraved card, with text relating to a stamp issue. A mint block of four stamps is then added to the panel and sold as a souvenir.

Souvenir Sheet

Typically a small pane or sheet that contains one or more stamps, released for a specific event or purpose. The margins of souvenir sheets frequently are very large and contain printed information describing the stamps, the purpose of issue, or the special event being commemorated. The stamps in a souvenir sheet may either be perforated or imperforate, and, with rare exceptions, are valid for postage, either as part of the sheet or cut out and affixed separately. In many cases, stamps in souvenir sheets reproduce older stamp issues. Souvenir sheets have been issued by most countries at one time or another, frequently in celebration of a large stamp show.

Example of a "Souvenir Sheet"

A damaged or inferior copy of a stamp valued chiefly for its ability to fill as spot in an album. It is assumed that the stamp will be replaced when a better example is obtained, unless it happens to be very rare or valuable.


The corner area between the vignette (or central oval) and the outer frame line or border. This corner area frequently includes decorative design elements.

Special Delivery

A special service of mail used when a sender wishes a communication to be delivered quickly, by messenger, upon its arrival at the post office. Many different countries have released special delivery stamps for this service. In recent years, special delivery has fallen out of favor with mailers (and was discontinued in the United States in 1997). Expedited services, such as Express Mail, have largely replaced the need for special delivery.

Special Handling

Stamps representing a special fee for a service used on fourth-class mail that gives it the same handling privileges as first-class mail.

Special Printing

Stamps created for distribution to dignitaries as special favors, or for sale (often long after the fact) to collectors. They may or may not be valid for postage. Such stamps also may or may not be produced from original printing plates. Examples of special printings include the 1875 printings of numerous U.S. stamps (including newly engraved reproductions of numbers 1 and 2). The exact line of what constitutes a special printing is not always clear. The so-called Farley's Follies issues of the 1930's, which were produced to make stamps given to dignitaries available to collectors, are considered by most to be special printings. The intentional printing of the 1962 Hamarskjold Invert is, in fact, a special printing, but is not generally acknowledged as such.

Special Stamps

There is some discussion among collectors over special stamps, a not-entirely-satisfactory term coined by the U.S. Postal Service. These stamps fall somewhere between definitives and commemoratives in both size and use. They may be reprinted from time to time, like definitives, but are issued in a very limited range of denominations and have a more specialized function or intended period of use than ordinary definitives do. The Christmas stamps issued since 1962 and the Love stamps issued since 1973 are examples of U.S. special issues.


A collector who studies and gains special knowledge in one particular area. This can include country or topical collections as well as specialized studies of a single stamp or series. In many cases, the dedicated specialist is able to serve as an expert in his or her chosen specialty.

Specimen Stamp

A stamp that has been defaced by means of an overprint, perforation pattern, or other obliterations for the purpose of creating samples to be given to postmasters, philatelic agencies, and others.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: R is For Romania

Railroad Cancel

Postal cancellation generally applied in a working railway post office (RPO) aboard a train.

Railway Post Office (RPO)

A small working office on board a train. These post offices on a single railway car sorted, cased, canceled, and bagged mail while the train was en route. Railway post office service was phased out during the 1960s.

Received Marking

A special postmark applied to the back of a cover that denoted the receiving town name, date, and frequently the time of arrival. Historically, this has been an important means of documenting mail delivery. Although received markings are still used in some countries and are sill occasionally found on United States covers, the practice was officially discontinued prior to 1920.

Recess Printing

See Intaglio.

Rectification Tax Stamps

Similar in purpose to distilled spirits stamps but showed payment of taxes on those distilled spirits that were to undergo additional distilling, usually in the form of blending.


A stamp design that has been repaired, retouched, or otherwise strengthened or altered on the printing plate. Because the alteration has been done by hand on the plate itself, the printed stamp usually will be visually different from its counterparts in some way. Recuts may be minor or major and, because they are constant varieties, they will always appear on stamps form the same position and plate.


The reworking of an existing stamp design. Rather than going back to the printing plate, transfer roll, or even original die, a stamp producer will base new artwork on an existing stamp design; the result is a similar but face-different stamp. One of the more well-known examples of a redrawn stamp is the U.S. 5-cent Washington of the 1965 Prominent Americans series. The original design was thought to make Washington look too swarthy. As a result, the redrawn design, which appeared in 1967, features a new and improved clean-shaven portrait of Washington.


To remake all or part of a printing plate or die by making additions or corrections to the design without significantly changing it. A re-engraved stamp may have small details changed, or it may involve major work.

Registered Mail

A service added to basic first-class service for which the sender is given a numbered receipt that acknowledges the monetary value of the item being mailed. A signature is required of the addressee upon delivery, and the mail is tracked throughout its journey. If a registered item is lost in handling, the sender may receive compensation for the item. Registered mail, in use by many countries, is used to mail particularly valuable items. Many countries have released registry stamps to pay the registry fee. Registered mail may be sent with or without postal insurance. Covers bearing registry markings and the appropriate postage are frequently prized by postal history collectors.


This term, used as a noun, refers to how closely in alignment different colors appear on a multicolored stamp.

Regular Issue

See Definitives.


A stamp that was previously withdrawn from government sale and is later placed on sale again. A reissue does not involve the reprinting of a stamp and is indistinguishable from the original other than by postal use.


Stamps left after an issue has officially been withdrawn from sale. In some cases, devalued remainders are sold in quantity to dealers, or are canceled (or otherwise defaced) and distributed to the hobby through other channels.

Repaired Stamps

Defective stamps that have been altered or enhanced in some way to minimize or disguise their flaws. Many kinds of different philatelic repairs have been attempted, with results that range from dreadful to virtually undetectable. Such repairs include (but are not limited to) the filling of thins, the sealing of tears, and the replacement and reperforation of missing margins. Many in the hobby regard stamp repairs unfavorably, chiefly because of the potential for fraud if a repaired copy is offered as a more valuable sound example of the same stamp. Others, however, regard repaired stamps, bought and sold as such, in the same way as one would a repaired antique chest or a piece of old porcelain with a sealed chip or crack - as a less valuable, but more affordable, restored version of a collectible stamp.


A stamp printed from the original plates often after the issue has become obsolete. Such stamps are not intended for postal use; rather, they are created for collectors as philatelic souvenirs.


This form of printing plate repair, usually involving the manual strengthening of a design element, is far less severe and less noticeable on finished stamps than any form of recutting or re-engraving. The latter repairs, often major, create stamps with significant design flaws or differences from normal examples. Like any repair or damage to a plate, however, a retouch will always appear on the same stamp position from the same plate.

Return Receipt

A mailing service (available for a fee) where a special penalty imprinted postal card is attached to the mail piece, which is then signed by the recipient and sent back to the original mailer.

Revenue Stamped Paper

A number of different types of items released with stamped, inked impressions to show payment of applicable tax on the paper itself. The most common form of revenue stamped paper is the bank check. Railway tickets and other documents also exist as revenue stamped paper. These items should be saved intact because trimmed or cut pieces have little value.

Revenue Stamps

Special stamps, utilized worldwide, to pay duties or taxes on various good sand services. These stamps, affixed to documents or receipts ( and canceled), show prepayment of these taxes. Revenue stamps may be found on liquor, tobacco, playing cards, stock certificates, deeds, patent medicines, and many other items. Postage stamps used for revenue purposes are called postal-fiscals; revenues used for postage are called fiscal-postals.


Abbreviation used in postmarks for Railway Mail Service.

Rotary Perforations

A form of perforation applied by a perforating wheel that has a grinding motion. The holes from such perforators are generally rougher than those applied by stroke perforators and are slightly distorted in shape.

Rotary Press

This form of printing involves the use of joined, curved printing plates that print on continuous rolls (webs) of paper. Because the plates are slightly distorted when they are bent, stamps printed from such plates are usually slightly taller or wider than those produced from flat plates.

Rough Perforations

A type of perforating, intentional or non-intentional, that leaves jagged perforation holes.


A form of stamp separation where dash-like cuts are made in the paper to allow stamps to be separated without tearing or cutting. Roulettes serve the purpose of perforations, but, unlike perforations, no paper is removed during the process. The most common form of rouletting is a series of slits applied by a toothed wheel, but there are several others.


A horizontal, single-stamp-tall multiple of stamps from a sheet, pane, or booklet.


Abbreviation used for Railway Post Office.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: Q is for Qatar

Quadrille A type of paper with intersecting vertical and horizontal lines that form small squares or rectangles. These rectangles may either be formed by a watermark or by a pattern of oil or lacquer. A number of French colony stamps of the turn of the century were printed on a quadrille paper. The term also applies to a specific form of album page with a lightly printed network of squares. This quadrille pattern is used by collectors as a guide for centering and mounting stamps on pages.

Quadripartite labels: postal labels made up of four parts; divided by roulette or perforation.

Quadripartition: four stamps that together form a completed design.

Quadrisect stamps: term used for 1931 Nicaraguan stamps where stamp fragments were permitted when supplies of normal low-value stamps ran short.

Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut: Arab sultanate on borders on the Gulf of Aden; 1891: forwarding agents in Aden handled mail, 1937, April 22: first stamps as Aden, 1939: postal union between Aden and protected states signed, 1942, July: first stamps issued, “Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla,” 1955: Protectorate State of Hadhramaut, 1963, Oct. 20: last issue; replaced by Federation of South Arabia; see Aden States.

Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla: Aden, East Aden Protectorate, 1955 1942: No.1, ½ anna blue green, first stamp, 1955: became Hadhramaut, 1963, Oct. 20: last issue; replaced by Federation of South Arabia; see Aden.

Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla: found in Scott Catalogue, Volume 1 after Aden-Kathiri State of Seiyun.

Quaker postmark: where the month is designated by a number and not name; The Society of Friends is opposed to the pagan naming of the months.

Quarnero Islands: see Carnaro, Fiume.

Quan Buu: military stamps of Viet Nam, 1960s.

Quantity Known (Reported to Exist): Unique: only one copy known. Very Rare: Fewer than 10 copies known. Rare: Fewer than 25 copies known. Very Scarce: Fewer than 50 copies known. Scarce: Fewer than 100 copies known.

Quarter: the fourth part of a divisible stamp; example is the 1857 issue of Brunswick with individual values of a quarter gutegroschen which prepaid the lowest postal rate.

Quartina: (It.) block of four.

Quartz lamp: a lamp with a quartz filament that shows repairs or tampering on stamps; used for observing phosphors.

Quatrefoil watermark: see Rosace.

Quattrino: unit of currency in the Italian state of Tuscany until 1860.

Queen Anne Act of 1710: provided for a chief or a General Post office in New York, subordinate to Her Majesty's Postmaster General in London with rates fixed by the British Parliament in 1710.

Queen Elizabeth II, 60th Birthday: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1986.

Queen Elizabeth II, 65th Birthday: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1991.

Queen Elizabeth II, Accession to Throne: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1992.

Queen Elizabeth II, 70th Birthday: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1996.

Queen Maud Land: bogus, 1969.

Queen Mother 85th Birthday: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1985.

Queen Mother 90th Birthday: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1990.

Queen Mother's Century: common design of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1999.

Queen's College: local, United Kingdom, Cambridge, 1883.

Queen's head: term for stamps depicting Queen Victoria.

Queensland: northeastern part of Australia; currency: 12 pence = 1 shilling, 20 shillings = 1 pound 1851: stamps as New South Wales, 1859: became a separate colony, sunburst design as cancel, 1860, Jan. 26-Nov.1: used stamps of New South Wales, 1860, Nov.1: No.1, 1 penny deep rose, first stamp; used Chalon Head stamps, 1861: first registration stamp, 1866: first postal fiscal stamp, 1882: postal treaty with Hong Kong permitted stamps of both countries used when posted aboard ships, 1884-91: stamps of Queensland used in British New Guinea, 1891: joined the UPU, 1900, June 19: first semipostal stamp, 1901: part of the six British Colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia, 1913: stamps of the Commonwealth of Australia used; see Australia.

Queensland Railways: railway stamps promoted the "Golden Casket" a state lottery to used to frank letters and packages shipped via the railroad.

Queensland Railways: Australia railways local post.

Queens, Large, Small: large Queens of Canada ; size change to allow 200 small Queens to be printed in the same space as100 Large Queens (1868); small (1870-97).

Queen Victoria: the Penny Black, first postage stamp issued in 1840, as well as many other stamps, bears her image.

Quelimane: river port of Mozambique Province; Portuguese East Africa; currency: 100 centavos = 1 escudo 1894: Portuguese Colonies stamps overprinted Zambezia, 1898: King Carlos key type stamps issued, 1902: overprint “Provisoria,” 1913: No.1, 1/4 centavos on ½ avo blue-green, “Republica Quelimane” overprint on stamps of Macao, Portuguese Africa, Timor, 1914: “Quelimane” inscription on stamps of Portugal, 1922: replaced by stamps of Mozambique; see Tete.

Quelimane: overprint on stamps of Portuguese Colonies; Macao, Portuguese Africa, Timor, 1914: "Quelimane" inscription on stamps of Portugal, 1922: stamps of Mozambique; see Tete.

Quepol: one of the Sicmon Islands in the South Pacific created by Nick Bantock for his book, Griffin & Sabine.

Quer: (Ger.) diagonal.

Queretaro: overprint on stamps of Mexico for this district, 1856-1883.

Quettan Republic: bogus African nation.

Quetzel: currency unit in Guatemala.

Quind(t)ar: currency unit in Albania.

Quinta de Goya: (Sp.) inscription for the centenary of the death of Goya, 1930, Spain.

Quito: city in Ecuador; Quito to Guayaquil Railway Company used a five-pointed star
overprint in 1902.

Quittances: (Fr.) receipts; French Colonies revenue inscription

Quittances du Tresor: (Fr.) treasurer's receipt; French Colonies revenue inscription

Quittung: (Ger.) receipt.

Quotazione: (It.) price.

QV: abbreviation for Queen Victoria

QY: Scott Catalog number prefix for Parcel Post Authorized Delivery (Italy).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: P is for Poland


1. Two of a kind; stamps that have not been separated, two attached stamps.
2. Two se-tenant postage stamps; understood to be se-tenant horizontally


stamps as sold by the post office; usually a commemorative pane consists of 50 stamps; four panes of 50 stamps make up a "sheet" of stamps as printed; more recently panes consist of 20 stamps.

page of booklet postage stamps. [see Booklet Pane]


abbreviation for Perforation [see Perforation]


[see Perforation]

Perforated Edges

The number of sides of a stamp that have perforations. see Perforation (Perf).
Often a coil stamp has 2 opposite sides of the stamp perforated and the other 2 sides are not. A single stamp from a booklet may have 2 adjacent sides perforated and the other 2 sides are not perforated, or onlty one side not perforated. [see


Holes punched, in a line, into the stamp paper between rows of stamps to permit easy separation of the stamps. (abbreviation Perf) Perforations are measured by counting the number of peaks or valleys in the perforating in any given 2cm space.
A 11 x 13 has 11 perforations in 2cm on the top (or bottom) and 13 on either side. A single number measure means that the perforation count is the same on all sides.
A 10 verticle means that both left and right are perforated 10 and the top and bottom are not perforated. 10 horizontal means that the top and bottom perforations are perfed 10 and the left and right are not perforated at all. These last 2 are usually coil stamps, issued in long stripes or coils, one stamp wide, so for seperating the stamps, only 2 sides need to be perforated.
Perforations are usually measured using a perforation gauge. [see Perforation Gauge]

Perforation Gauge

An instrument designed to measure the number of peaks or valleys in the perforating in any given 2cm space. Perforations are usually measured using a perforation gauge. Paper perforation gauges have rows of dots or a sawtooth arrangement where you line up the teeth of perforations of your stamp with the row of dots and read off the perforation count. Clear plastic perforation gauges is also available. With it you can lay the gauge on the stamp (useful if it is on a cover). It also has slanted verticle lines on the plastic, when the perforations on the stamp line up with the lines, then you read the perforation count off of the gauge. It also has the advantage of being able to measure fractional perforations, like a 13.2 .


A chemical printed on stamps in order to help automated machines process the mail by reacting to the phosphor under ultraviolet lights. It started in Great Britain in 1959, and many countries now use a phosphor "tagging" on their stamps.

Plate Block

(abbreviation PB) A block of stamps with the sheet margin attached showing the plate number used in printing that sheet. Usually collected as a block of four stamps or more.

Plate Number

1. The serial number engraved on a plate which usually appears in a corner of a sheet of stamps. This number is used to keep the plates from getting mixed up at the printing plant.

2. Single digit suffix numbers are printed on the coils, instead of the whole serial number.


(abbreviation Pm, or Pmk) Any mark cancelling the stamp and recording an item's passage through the mails.


A trial printing, known as a strike, taken from a new printing plate for inspection purposes; this can be used to inspect for defects, or to see which ink color looks best for that particular stamp.


A stamp, usually overprinted or surcharged, issued for temporary use.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: O is For Oman

Oblique Roulette

A roulette separation on stamps that consists of parallel diagonal slits.


Any form of marking used to deface a stamp. An obliteration may refer to a cancellation or those political obliterations where unwanted parts of a stamp design are marked out by overprinting.


No longer in general use. An obsolete stamp may or may not have been demonetized; it simply is no longer sold over post office counters.

Occupation Stamp A stamp issue released by the conquering force of an occupied country for specific use in that territory or area. Such stamps may be overprinted or surcharged stamps of the occupied country itself or entirely new stamps created for that purpose.


Desirable and collectible items that don't fit comfortably in the error or freak categories. Such items include plate varieties, odd or unusual cancels, and a host of other unusual items.

Off Center

A stamp that is not well centered within its perforations or margins, due to production imperfections or mishandling during separation. Stamps that are off center are undesirable to most collectors. They are too poorly centered to be attractive in a collection, but not poorly centered enough to be considered misperforation freaks and, thus, are collectible.

Off Paper

A stamp soaked or otherwise removed from the envelope or piece to which it was originally affixed for mailing.

Offices Abroad

Usually overprinted or surcharged stamps with the country name, or currency, or both, of another country in which the satellite post office is located. The United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Germany are some of the nations that have issued stamps for use in their post offices abroad.

Official Mail

Mail sent on official government business, frequently designated by special stamps, postal stationery, or overprints. U.S. Official mail that did not use special stamps often was called Penalty Mail, because the special envelopes for it included the imprint "Penalty For Private Use $300."

Official Stamps Postage issues released for use by the government and selected officials on official government correspondence. These may be specially designed stamps or overprinted postage issues. In some cases, various government departments may or may not have to pay for the stamps they use, but in most cases, official stamps provide an effective means for the government to keep tabs on individual and departmental expenditures.

Offset Printing

A form of indirect surface printing that works on the principal that oil and water do not mix. Offset printing is now the most economical and versatile form of printing known. Its roots are in lithographic printing, which is another form of surface printing using a litho stone (a type of limestone from Germany) as the plate. Modern offset printing is accomplished with the use of an aluminum plate that is photographically treated to retain the positive stamp image, while attracting ink. The non-design areas repel the ink. Rather than applying the inked image directly to paper, the offset plate transfers the image to a rubber blanket roll (a negative image) that then transfers the design to paper for the finished stamp. Indirect offset printing can use the characteristics of any other form and can be accomplished with both sheet-fed and web fed presses.

Old Paper

A term most often encountered with the first issue revenues, although it also is found with some private die proprietary issues. Old paper is the tough, semi-transparent paper in use during the 1860s. "Old stamps not recognized" A special postal marking applied during the U.S. Civil War. As part of an effort to pressure the South financially, the United States government devalued all postage stamps released prior to 1861. This left large stocks of unusable postage in the South, which could no longer be exchanged for cash to aid the Confederacy. When these devalued stamps were detected on mail, the marking "old stamps not recognized" was applied to the mail piece. This scarce marking is valuable and extremely scarce. Omnibus Issues This term describes stamps or sets of stamps released by several different countries to mark the same event. The designs of omnibus issues may be identical, similar, or completely different, although they are most commonly found with similar designs. In most cases, omnibus issues are released by different colonies of a single country or member states of some other postal union. These unions include the British Commonwealth and the European federation of countries, to name but two.

On Cover

Any stamp still on the entire mailing piece (usually an envelope or card) to which it was originally affixed for mailing and subsequently canceled.

On Paper

Describes stamps that are still affixed to a bit of the paper of the original mail piece. Such items are usually cut close. On Piece A similar term to "on paper," but this usually refers to a larger piece with some form of cancellation or other validating form of postal marking, giving evidence of where or when the stamp was originally mailed. Stamps on piece are often neatly cut to facilitate mounting. Opera Glass Cancel A double-ring obliteration designed by Pearson Hill that was used in Great Britain during the late 1840s. Original Gum The adhesive originally present on a stamp at the time it was produced. Many older stamps have been regummed, but there is a premium for stamps with original gum, even if it has been disturbed or redistributed. Overall Tagging Several types of phosphorescent tagging where individual stamps are completely covered with taggant. This includes stamps tagged by continuous steel or rubber rollers that apply taggant, as well as large blocks that cover full panes of stamps. Overprint Any form of printing applied to a finished stamp.


can be text or pictorial, and can take the form of a surcharge changing the value, change in country name, pre-cancel, commemorative, or security feature.


A chemical process where the color of a stamp is greatly changed by exposure to elements present in the air or by improper storage. In some cases, the changed in appearance caused by oxidation can e reversed. Despite its dramatic appearance, an oxidized stamp is of interest to collectors only as a reference item or as a curiosity. It represents a form of stamp damage.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: N is for Niger

Narcotic Tax Stamps

Stamps created to show payment of taxes on opium, coca leaves, and their derivatives in use between 1919-71. These long stamps were applied to narcotics containers.

Negative Postmark

Postmark in which the text is formed by the uninked part of the marking, rather than the inked portion of the design.

Net Price

Often used in sales books or by dealers in pricing stamps. A net price may not be further discounted.

New Issue

A recent stamp or set of stamps issued by any country or postal authority. A new issue dealer sells the newest stamps of one or more countries.

New Issue Service

Many collectors rely on new issue services to keep their collections up to date with stamps from various countries. A new issue service works by keeping a subscriber list of collectors, collecting deposits, and mailing the new stamps out in small batches after they are released. A new issue service may either be maintained at face value by the postal entity responsible for the stamps, or by a stamp dealer for a slight cost above face value.

New Value

The first meaning, which is obsolete, is a surcharge - a new, different denomination printed over an old one. More commonly, however, a new value refers to a new stamp in an existing stamp series that bear a denomination that is different from all others in that particular series.

Newspaper Stamp

Stamps created to pay postage on newspapers, periodicals, journals, and other forms of printed matter. Some types of these issues combine tax and postage, thus becoming both postage and revenue stamps. Several forms of newspaper stamps are created for use on individual mail pieces or papers, while others exist to pay bulk postage on large shipments of printed material. Newspaper stamps in their various forms exist from many different countries, including the United States. Newspaper stamps also are commonly referred to as journal stamps, although the latter term often refers to lower denomination issues.

Nibbed Perf

The end of a perforation tooth that has been poorly torn and is rough looking. It is a common trait and is considered a minor fault.

Non-Denominated Definitives

A stamp with no denomination, or face value. Many countries have released such stamps, mainly for domestic use. In the United States, definitives were issued for the rate changes of 1978 (orange "A" Eagle [15-cent]), March 1981 (violet "B" Eagle [18-cent]), November 1981 (brown "C" Eagle [20-cent]), 1985 (green "D" Eagle [22-cent]), 1988 (multicolored "E" Earth 25-cent]), 1991 (multicolored "F" Flower [29-cent]), and 1995 (multicolored "G" Old Glory [32-cent]).

Non-Pictorial Permit Stamps

State and Indian reservation revenue stamps issued for use on various game licenses. These items, often inexpensively printed and humble appearing, frequently are many times scarcer than their more attractive counterparts. These exist for duck, small game, fish, and other recreational hunting purposes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: M is for Morocco

The name given to G.B. definitives, first issued in 1967 bearing the Queen's head designed from a plaster cast of the queen's profile by Arnold Machin,

The unprinted edging surrounding or dividing a sheet of stamps. [see Gutter Margin]

Miniature Sheet
(abbreviation M/S) A small sheet of one or several stamps, usually with a decorative margins, issued as a souvenir for collectors.

A stamp as issued by the government printing office with full original gum [see Original Gum]. where available, unhinged and uncanceled.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black History Month: Heritage Series

Don't believe the rumors. There is no stoppage of the popular stamp series. This was one of those silly internet stories that proves to be completely untrue. The Black Heritage Series continues and will continue to document the achievements of African Americans.

We get many emails asking when the Post Office will issue a stamp for Gen. Colin Powell. In fact we get more emails asking about him then our current President Barack Obama. I remind all inquiring that the rules are the same for everyone: a worthy individual must be deceased for at least 10 years before being considered.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stamp Alphabet Series: L is For Luxembourg

Label: 1: a stamp-like adhesive that may be blank, attached to a commemorative or semi-postal stamp with description, used in stamp booklets, advertising labels attached to stamps, war propaganda labels, etc; by themselves, may be considered cinderellas. 2: Great Britain calls postage due stamps labels. 3: earliest name for postage stamp as shown in the margin of the first British sheets, but not used any longer. 4: bogus stamp of non-existent issue.
Label address: address on a label that is affixed to a cover.

Label cachet: design on a label that is affixed to a cover.

Label, commemorative: carries description of stamp design

Labeled stamps: stamps with labels attached.

Label, fiscal: label valid for fiscal usage.

La Belle France: cinderella issues from France used to promote tourism.

Label, semi-postal: with description of charity.

Label stain (LS): blemish from a peelable label on a cover.

La Bisbal: local post, Spanish civil war, Republican, 1937.

Labrador USA Post Office: 1908; bogus stamps for Labrador, Canada.