Make your own free website on


Terms Every Stamp Collector Should Know (Part 2 Of 2)
ANSC Academy
Contact Us
Auction Information
Blank page
How To Articles
Plan Your Estate
Photo Album Page
Q & A
Reference Libray
Special Features
UPU Ileagal Stamps
Archives - The Old All Nations Stamp Club At MSN Groups

Terms Every Stamp Collector Should Know (Part 2 Of 2)

Hair Lines. Small white lines; drawn across the exterior angles of certain British stamps of 1862 to distinguish various plate impressions.

Handstamped. A surcharge or postal marking applied by hand, as, contrasted with machine stamping.

Head Plate. The part of the plate printing the design (not the value), is known as a head plate.

Hinges. Small pieces of paper gummed on one side, for mounting stamps into the album.

Imperforate. Stamps which have not been perforated or rouletted. Impression. The actual printed design of a stamp.

Imprimatur. A word usually used to denote first impressions from a die or plate.

Intaglio. A term used in line engraving, meaning "cut into," because the lines are thus made on the plate. Also, the manner of engraving of gravure plates.

Invert. A bicolored stamp in which one part is upside down in comparison to the other.

Irregular Block. A group of stamps, unsevered, in irregular form.

Ivory Head. British stamps blued at the back except where the head of Queen Victoria appeared.

Joint. The part of the sheet of stamps pasted together prior to cutting into long strips for coil use.

Killer. The part of the cancellation defacing the stamps.

Knife. The cutter of the machine which cuts out the envelope from the sheet.

Laid Paper. In the making of this paper the mesh over which the pulp is run is set in parallel lines close together which show on the paper.

Laureated Issues. Stamps having the portraits crowned with a wreath of laurel leaves.

Letter Cards. A postal card combining paper and envelope in one, there being a perforated and gummed edge which serves as a seal in closing and an easy means of opening.

Locals. Stamps issued under private or official auspices, but restricted to specified districts.

Mail-O-Meter. A vending machine, private perforation type, where the punched holes (five or more) cover a good part of the perforation surface.

Mailomat. A private mailing machine which receives coins, and stamps onto the envelope the amount paid.

Manuscript Provisionals. Stamps serving temporary emergency use and given new values in pen and ink until replacements arrive.

Marginal Inscriptions. Imprints in the margins of stamps or sheets.

Matrix. The original die from which stamps of several different values of identical design are printed.

Meter. A device for impressing on letters and packages to note prepayment of postage; used by many commercial firms.

Millimeter. A thousandth part of a meter. Twenty millimeters are used as the standard for measuring perforations.

Mint. Stamps exactly as released from the post office, with fresh color, full gum and perforations.

Missionary Stamps. Rare adhesives from the Hawaiian Islands so named because practically all known copies were from letters mailed by missionaries.

Mixtures. Assortments of stamps unsorted, generally sold by weight.

Mulready. A specially designed and printed envelope used in the 1840's; designed by William Mulready.

Name Tablet. The space provided in stamps of a standard design in which the name of the colony appears.

Nesbitt Envelopes. Stamped (embossed) envelopes issued by the United States (1853-1870) and produced by George F. Nesbitt Co.

Nibbed Perfs. Perforations which are shortened or broken. Numerals. A designation given early Brazilian stamps which had no inscription other than the numeral value.

Obliteration. Another word denoting the cancellation.

Obsolete. Stamps no longer on sale at post offices.

Officials. Stamps issued or overprinted for governmental use.

Official Seals. Labels printed for use in sealing matter opened by mistake or damaged in transit.

Offset. A form of printing in which the designs are transferred from a metal plate to a rubber roll and from the rubber roll to the paper; also an impression sometimes found on the back of stamps or other printed matter, caused by placement on top of a wet sheet.

On Cover. Stamps on the original envelope.

Ordinary. An overprint used by Liberia to permit use of official stamps for regular postage.

Original Gum. A term better known by its abbreviation "O.G." signifying that the original gum is still present on the stamp.

Overprint. An impression on a stamp changing its intent but not its value, as compared to a surcharge, which does change value.

Packet Boat. A marking denoting the mailing of a letter aboard a boat. Also known as Paquebot and Paguebot.

Paid. A marking denoting that the postage had been paid before mailing.

Pair. Two stamps still joined together vertically or horizontally.

Pane. A part of the large sheet as printed. In regular U.S. stamps the printing is in units of 400, cut into panes of 100 for sale.

Paste Up. Stamps pasted during production prior to cutting into long strips for coil use.

Patriotics. Envelopes with special designs on the face.

Pen Cancelled. Stamps defaced by pen rather than stamp.

Penny Black. A name given the world's first stamp because it was in black and had a value of one penny.

Perce. French for perforation, used as: Perce en Arc, Perce en Croix, Perce en Lignes, etc.

Perforation Gauge. An accessory with markings to permit easy identi fication of the perforations used.

Pictorial. A stamp bearing a scenic view.

Philately. The study and collection of stamps as a hobby.

Plate Number. A number, usually appearing in the sheet margin, to identify the plate used.

Plate Proof. An impression taken from the finished plate to determine whether it is satisfactory.

Position Blocks. Four or more stamps showing identification of position, such as plate number, guide line or arrow.

Postage Currency. Paper money upon which reproductions of stamps were found.

Postally Used. Stamps used for postal purposes, as opposed to fiscal (revenue) or telegraph use, or cancelled to order.

Poster Stamps. Labels resembling stamps in design and other ways but having no postal value.

Postmark. The marking applied to mail to denote place, date and even time of mailing or arrival.

Printer's Imprint. The name of the printing firm, frequently found beneath each stamp, or in the sheet margin.

Printers' Waste. Parts of sheets, or entire sheets, supposed to have been destroyed as improperly printed, which leak out.

Private Perforations. Perforations differing from those used by the government, for use in privately operated stamp vending machines, such as Brinkerhoff, Farwell and Shermack.

Proof. An impression taken from a die, or plate, to determine excellence of the work before further steps in production.

Punctured Stamps. Stamps perforated with small designs or letters to show intended use for departmental or private firm use.

Queen's Heads. A term applied to the Queen Victoria issues of Great Britain.

Reay Envelopes. Embossed U.S. envelopes produced by the firm of George H. Reay in 1870, to distinguish from the Plimpton envelopes of 1874.

Recouvrements. French form of Postage Due.

Regummed. Stamps which have lost their original gum for some reason and have been regummed for convenience in use or to increase philatelic value.

Reinforced. A weakened stamp which has been given protective support.

Reissue. A new printing of a stamp design which had gone out of issue.

Remainders. Stocks of stamps remaining after an issue has been withdrawn, and sold as a lot "cancelled to order" or even unused, by the government.

Reprints. Impressions from the original plates after the issue of stamps to the post offices had stopped.

Retouching. Minor alterations to the die, plate or stone to refresh any weaknesses.

Ribbed Paper. A wove paper with one flat side and one furrowed side.

Rotary Print. Stamps printed from curved plates and on rolls of paper as compared to single sheets.

Rotary stamps are usually deeper or wider because of the pull of the paper through the press.

Roulette. A form of perforation in which small slits are cut into the paper instead of holes.

Safety Paper. A special paper made to prevent cleaning of a used stamp on which the color might run or the paper itself become discolored.

Sans-Serif. A printers' type with no serifs on the letters.

Secret Marks. Markings introduced into the design of a stamp to distinguish the plate or printer.

Seebecks. N. F. Seebeck of the Hamilton Bank Note Co. obtained contracts with Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Salvador between 1891 and 1898 to supply each country with one new issue of stamps each year, free of cost, with the understanding that he retained the plates for reprinting obsolete issues, plus the remainders.

Se-Tenant. Stamps of different values, designs or surcharges in unsevered pairs or strips.

Sheet. A full layout of stamps as sold by the post office; also known as a pane.

Skinned. A stamp which has lost some of its paper; also referred to as thinned.

Space Filler. Imperfect stamps used to fill blank spaces until better copies are obtained.

Specimen. A stamp overprinted or perforated "Specimen" for distribution as a sample.

Speculative Issues. Stamps with no actual postal necessity and issued in very limited quantities with an eye towards excessive profits.

Stamped Paper. A term applied to envelopes, post cards and wrappers impressed with a postal design.

Stampless Covers. Envelopes without stamps, but having the necessary postal markings.

Straight Edge. Stamps having one or more edges straight; usually caused by the cutting of large sheets into panes for postal sale.

Strip. Three or more stamps in a single row, unsevered.

Surcharge. An overprinting which changes the value of the stamp.

Tablet. A square or rectangular block containing the value of a postage stamp, or an inscription.

Taille-Davce. The French equivalent for recess printing.

Tete-Beche. A French term applied to stamps, utvseparated, printed upside down in relation to one another.

Tied On. Stamps on original envelopes having part of the cancellation on the stamp and the balance on the envelope.

Timbre. French for postage stamp.

Tongs. Metal accessories for handling stamps to avoid soiling stamps, and creasing or breaking off perforations.

Transfers. Rolls of steel on which the hardened die is rocked once or more, thereby leaving the stamp design in relief. This transfer is then pressed into the plate as many times as necessary to make for the full sheet.

Type. A word of several meanings, but generally used to refer to a specific design though not necessarily of the same value.

Unissued. Stamps prepared for use but never placed in circulation.

Unperforated. Another form of denoting stamps without perforations (imperforate).

Unsevered. Two or more unseparated stamps.

U.P.U. The initials of the Universal Postal Union, the international body supervising postal matters.

Used. Stamps which have fulfilled their intended duty, carried a piece of mail.

Value Tablet. That part of the design in which the face value appears.

Variety. Any deviation from a normal stamp, in the strict sense, but also used to denote the number of stamps in a set or packet.

Wash Drawing. A form of finished design prepared by the artist and usually then sent to the engraver or printer.

Watermark. A design impressed into paper during its manufacture.

Worn Plate. A plate on which certain parts of the design have been worn, by contact, and show in stamp printing.

Zeppelin Mail. Mail carried on any of the Zeppelin flights.

Go Back To:

Terms Every Stamp Collector Should Know (Part 1 Of 2)*

Feedback, submissions, ideas? Email