These are the important Philatelic Terms, which every stamps collector must remember.
(1) Adhesive:- In actuality, what a stamp is: a piece of paper which, by way of its gummed or pressure-sensitive back, pays for postage when applied to a piece of mail. With revenue stamps, the adhesive pays some kind of tax.
(2) Airmail Stamps:- Postage stamps used to pay the airmail postage rates. The
(3) Albino:- Literally means a white Negro, but in philately, a stamp or any postal item showing a colorless impression, where printing action is made without ink or impression remained colorless owing to fold or interpolation of paper.
(4) Approvals:- Priced selection of stamps sent to collectors by dealer collectors pick what they want to busy and return the selection to the dealer with payment.
(5) Arrow:- On many sheets of stamps, small arrow markings appear in the sheet margin. This was done to aid in the perforation process.
(6) As Is:- A term usually used by auctions to denote that a stamp is offered for sale without any guarantees.
(7) Authentication Mark:- A tiny mark that appears on many older and rare stamps. It denotes that an expert has examined and approved the stamps authenticity.
(8) Back-Stamps:- Postmark applied to the reverse to a cover to indicate transit or receipt of mail.
(9) Bisect:- Half of the stamp to furnish an authorized denomination of half the original face value. Such stamps or instances were common in wartime but example exists when stamps of
(10) Block:- An un-severed even-numbered group of stamps; i.e. block of four or six.
(11) Bogus:- A fictitious stamp-like label created solely for sale to collections. Such “bogus stamps” are not good for postage.
(12) Booklets:- Many countries have issued stamps in small booklets for the convenience of users. This idea is becoming increasingly more popular today in many countries. Booklets have been issued in all sizes and forms, often with advertising on the covers, on the panes of stamps or on the interleaving.
The panes may be printed from special plates or made from regular sheets. All panes from booklets issued by the
(13) Cancellation:- The marks or obliterations put on a stamp by the postal authorities to show that the stamp has done service and is no longer valid for postage. If made with a pen, the marking is a “pen cancellation.” When the location of the post office appears in the cancellation, it is a “town cancellation.” When calling attention to a cause or celebration, it is a “slogan cancellation”. Many other types and styles of cancellation exist, such as duplex, numerals, targets, etc.
(14) Catalogue:- Comprehensive listing of postage and revenue stamps, including current price valuations and illustrations.
(15) Catalogue Value:- The value of a stamp given by a stamp catalogue value etc. These values are not necessarily the prices at which the stamps can be purchased.
(16) Centering:- The relative position of a stamps design in relation to the margins surrounds it. Centering is a very important consideration in determining a stamps value.
(17) Classic Stamp/Issues:- An early issue with connotation of rarity.
(18) Coil Stamps:- Stamps issued in rolls for use in dispensers, affixing and vending machines. Those of the
(19) Commemorative:- A stamp issued to honor some person place or event.
(20) Condition:- The overall state of a stamp or cover as it relates to everything from condition of the gum (present or absent) centering presence or absence of damage to a stamp/cover etc.
(21) Counterfeit:- Any stamp or cover or cancellation created for the purposes of deception.
(22) COVERS:- Envelopes, with or without adhesive postage stamps, which have passed through the mail and bear postal or other markings of philatelic interest. Before the introduction of envelopes in about 1840, people folded letters and wrote the address on the outside. Many people covered their letters with an extra sheet of paper on the outside for the address, producing the term “cover.” Used air letter sheets, stamped envelopes, and other items of postal stationery also are considered covers.
(i)First Day Covers:- It is very popular collecting specialty. The stamp is affixed to a cover with an attractive design and is cancelled on the first day the stamp is issued to the public. Cancel says “First Day of Issue”.
(ii)Event Covers:- Stamp affixed on cover with special cachet and commemorative cancel that honors a particular event or activity.
(iii)Modern Postal History:- Covers bearing stamps which issued in the period from about 1930 to date. The most important such usages are ones that go to unusual destinations or pay a special rate.
(iv) Paquebot Covers:- Covers mailed on a ship at sea and postmarked thereon. These covers were then dropped off at the next port of call and mailed from there with the postage stamps of the country from which the ship originated.
(v) Advertising Covers:- Covers bearing a specially printed that serve to advertise the products, services of the company from which the cover was sent.
(vi) Wartime Mail:- Military personnel serving in our wars could generally send regular mail without paying postage wrappers to prisoner-of-war mail.
(vii)Censored Mail:- Wartime conditions dictated that in a country that was at war, any mail that traveled outside that country had to be read and approved by censors.
(viii)Stamp-less Covers:- Covers from all countries that do not bear any postage stamps. Most of these were used before postage stamps were issued in 1840, but many exist well into the stamp-issuing period.
(ix) Space Exploration:- A very popular specialty is the collecting of covers that observe events in the space program.
(18) Crease:- Some kind of fold that indicates a weaking of paper on a stamp or cover.
(19) Cylinder:- A printing plate used on a modern rotary printing press.
(20) Definitive:- A stamp issued for an indefinite period to pay a particular rate of postage. Also called “regular issues”.
(21) Denomination:- The face value of a stamp.
(22) Entire:- An intact piece of postal stationery (i.e., envelopes on which the stamp has been printed).
(23) Errors:- stamps having some unintentional deviation from the normal. Errors include, but are not limited to, mistakes in color, paper, or watermark; inverted centers or forms on multicolor printing, surcharges or overprints, and double impression. Factually wrong or misspelled information on all examples of a stamp, even if corrected later, is not classified as a philatelic error.
(24) Essay:- Artwork of a proposed design for a stamp or piece of postal stationery. An essay must, in fact, be different in some way from the actual design of the issued stamp or stationery.
(25) Expertization:- The examination of a philatelic item by an acknowledged expert in order to see if the item is genuine. This generally means an experizing body such as the American Philatelic Expertizing Service.
(26) Face Value:- The value of a stamp as noted on its face.
(27) Fake:- Stamp or cover that has been altered in order to raise its value or appeal to a collector.
(28) Forgery:- A fraudulent reproduction of a postage stamp or cover.
(29) Frame:- The outside area of a stamp’s design.
(30) Freak:- An abnormal stamp that has some kind of printing flaw over inking to perforation mistakes.
(31) Grill:- A waffle iron type of pattern impressed into some mid-19th century
(32) Gum:- The substance applied to the reverse of stamps to help them adhere to a mailing item.
(33) Gutter:- Unprinted space left between stamps of two different designs. Gutter between similar designs are intended for separating two panes to from a complete sheet. Two stamps with gutter in between are called “Gutter Pair”.
(34) Hinge:- A tiny piece of glassine-like paper gummed, folded and then used to mount stamps into an album.
(35) Imperforate:- Stamps without perforations or separation device between then on a sheet.
(36) Invert:- A term used for stamps printed in two or more colors and which has the active area of one of the colors printed upside down.
(37) Killer Postmark:- Early from of obliteration consisting of heavy bars or spots, cork impression and other crude methods. Specially post war Hitler stamps.
(38) Line Pair:- A line printed between a pair of coil stamps. Appears because of the guideline that is printed between panes on sheet of stamps.
(39) Lithography or Offset printing:- Lithography was discovered by a German Aloes senefelder in 1798. He found that a greased impression on a well watered block of lime stone could be inked and use for printing on paper. The image could be drown in reverse direct on the stone in greasy ink or applied by means of special transfers. The blank parts of the stone being neutralized by the water (oily and water being incompatible).
Lithography or offset printing has become the leading commercial printing process in the world today; it combines photography with economic plate making and the fast efficient press. It involves the unique third cylinder (offset) which transfers the design image from plate cylinder to paper and it provided an immaculate end product.
The original design is used to make a color transparency, reduction and multiplication of the design to stamp size is done either manually or on the computer. Then the color separation is done and four basic colors cyan, Magenta, yellow and Black are separated by scanners, then printing plates of each color are prepared, each of which is wrapped around a cylinder of printing machine. The impression of the plate cylinder is a positive one which is then offset during the printing process on to a rubber blanket roller and then transferred or printed on to the paper in keeping with the basic oil and water principal the ink is repelled by the wet (blank) parts but adheres to the inked parts and then the impression is converted on paper very neatly and precisely.
Litho printed stamps from modern offset presses can be identified by sharp edges to lettering and solid colors and by honeycomb pattern of screen dots.
(40) Margin:- The selvage surrounding the stamps on a sheet.
(41) Metro Stamp:- Government permits of various face value and printed by machine on a piece of adhesive paper (or on the actual envelope) to indicate postage paid. Invented by the Pitney-Bowes Company in the early 1900s.
(42) Miniature Sheet:- A smaller than normal sheetlet of stamps issued only in that from or in addition to the normal full panes of stamps.
(43) Mint:- A stamp in the same condition as when it was issued and purchased at the post office. Original gum is on the reverse and the stamp has never been hinged into an album.
(44) Mounts:- Vinyl or plastic holders, clear on the front and with gum on the back. Stamps and philatelic items are placed inside the mount and they mounted into an album.
(45) Multicolor:- More than two colors.
(46) Multiple:- An unseparated group of stamps (two or more).
(47) NH:- Never hinged.
(48) Obsolete:- Stamps that have ceased to be available for postal use, though possibly continuing to be valid for postage. Most famous among obsolete stamps are four stamps of King Edward-VIII of
(49) Official:- Stamp or stationery used to pay postage by a government agency.
(50) On Paper:- Stamps, usually used, which have been used on mail and still adhere to all or part of that original piece of mail.
(51) Original Gum:- The gummed surface on a stamp is the actual gum that was originally applied to that stamp.
(52) Overprint:- Any printing over the original design of a stamp. For instance, an overprint that upgrades or changes the value of a stamp.
(53) Pair:- Two un-separated stamps.
(54) Pane:- The unit into which a full sheet of stamps is divided before it is sold at a post office. Many
(55) Penny Black:- The world’s first postage stamp, the one-penny stamp issued by
(56) Perfins:- Stamps punched with “perforated initials” or other designs and used generally by commercial firms in order to deter theft.
(57) Perforation:- The punching out of holes between stamps in order to aid in their separation. There are various kinds and sizes or perforations which are measured by a perforation gauge. Often a particular size of perforation can differ on stamps that look very much alike. Different valuations can be the stamp collecting terms.
(58) Perforation Gauge:- A metal, plastic or cardboard instrument used (easily) to measure the size of perforations (see above).
(59) Philately:- The collection and study of postage and related items.
(60) Photogravure:- Photogravure is a combination of Photography and gravure (recess) printing. In this process the original design is reproduced by photography on to the glass plates, on which it appears as a negative then to another glass plate where it becomes a positive the multiplication of design is done by step and repeat camera. The multi positive is then printed down on a paper coated with gelatin known as “carbon tissue” which is also sensitive to light. The tissue has a screened surface with tiny dots or “cells”. The tissue is then squeegeed on to the curved surface of the copper cylinder by this process the picture is transferred to the cylinder and then the tissue is removed. Then the copper cylinder is developed in the acid bath. Then the actual printing process begins which is very similar to recess printing for multi-color printing separate cylinder will be required for each color. Photogravure printed stamps have an attractive photographic quality. They can be identified by soft gradations of colors and over all patterns of microscopic dots on the printed surface.
(61) Plate Block or Plate number Block:- A block of stamps which includes the corner selvage from the pane and bearing plate numbers from the printing process.
(62) PNC:- Plate number coil.
(63) Postage Dues:- Stamps or markings that indicate an underpayment of postage.
(64) Postal History:- The study of postal markings, routes and rates of mail and anything to do with the history of the mails.
(65) Postmark:- An official postal marking usually giving the date and origin or piece of mail and is often part of the cancellation obliterating a stamp to prevent reuse.
(66) Pre-cancel:- Stamps with a special cancellation or overprint and which was applied before the stamp is used on mail. This by passes normal canceling and saves much time when large numbers of mail are being used.
(67) Proof and Essays:- Proofs are impressions taken from an approved die, plate or stone in which the design and color are the same as the stamp issued to the public. Trial color proofs are impressions taken from approved dies, plates or stones in varying colors. An essay is the impression of a design that differs in some way from the stamp as issued.
(68) Provisional:- Stamps issued on short notice and intended for temporary use pending the arrival of regular issues. They usually are issued to meet such contingencies as changes in government or currency, shortage of necessary postage values, or military occupation.
(69) Recess or Line-Engraving:- This is a process opposite to typography in that the design is engraved in reverse on a small plate of steel. The die is recess also called in French taille deuce and in Italian intaglio. When the master die is completed and the engraver has checked his work with the original by taking a series of progressive inked proofs. It is hardened and its image is transferred under high pressure to the curved surface of the roller, a cylinder of softened steel, which now bears a positive impression of the design. Then it is made ready for use in the manufacture of the printing plate or cylinder. A softened steel plate is placed in the transfer press and under immense pressure the design image is ‘rocked in’ on the plate as many time as required to from a printing plate of 100 or 50 stamps or more as per requirements.
The basic principal of recess or line engrave printing is that the ink remains in the recesses in the recesses and lines after the surface of the plate has been wiped clean. In close contact with the plate, paper pick up the ink in the recessed areas, resulting in the printed stamps. The stamps design stands out in relief and the raised impression can be felt by finger tips. Throughout the process the greatest accuracy and precision is required as one stamp image may comprise up to 20,000 lines. Occasionally recess printing is combined with another process such as Typography, Lithography. 1989, 1994 and recent definitive stamps issues of
(70) Reprint:- A stamp printed from its original plate after that stamp has ceased to be sold and postally used.
(71) Re-drawn:- A new printing of stamps whose designs differ in some details from the original while retaining the basic design and features.
(72) Re-Engraving:- The strengthening of worn out plates by hand; a term also used when an original die is deepened, before preparing a new printing plate.
(73) Revenues Stamps:- Stamps used for the prepayment of payment of various kind of taxes
(74) Rouletting:- The piercing of paper between stamps (as opposed to perforations which are holds) that creates slits that aid in separating the stamps.
(75) Selvage:- The unprinted marginal area around the other edges on a sheet or pane of stamps.
(76) Se-Tenant:- Se-tenant in French it means ‘Joined together’; a term used to describe adjoining stamps which differ from each other in design, value, color or format. Some time a complete sheet of stamps had all the stamps different from each other.
(77) Tete Beche:- A pair of stamps in which one is upside down in relation to the other. Some of these are the result of intentional sheet arrangements, i.e. others occurred when one or more electrotypes accidentally were placed upside down on the plate. Separation of the stamps, of course, destroys the tete beche variety.
(78) Tied:- A stamp adhered to the original envelops, post card or wrapper by the postmark which extends, beyond the confines of the stamps on to the postal matter, confirming the genuine used of the original item.
(79) Typography or Letter press:- ypography in its simplest form is the setting of loose type within a locked chase, from or frame and then printing form it. The primitive form of this process was printing form wood blocks. It is also known as surface printing. Now in modern age the design is cut by an engraver in steel plaque, is cut in relief (and reverse) and the made. The die is then multiplied by stereotyping or electrotyping and plates of copper or alloy are made of 50 similar stamps which are then printed on a flat press. The copper plates have surfaces with a layer of harder metal, such as steel, nickel or chromium to give long wear in the printing press. It is found in the numerous overprints and surcharges which appear on stamps. It is used for change of country names, original face value of stamps and need for provisional usually arise in an emergency. As done by Govt. of Pakistan on several occasion like 1961 decimal surcharging done when the currency is changed from old Anna system to new decimal system also “Service” overprinting on earlier issues for official use is done by the same process.
(80) Specimens:- One of the regulations of the Universal Postal Union requires member nations to send samples of all stamps they put into service to the international Bureau in
Stamps distributed to government officials or for publicity purposes, and stamps submitted by private security printers for official approval, also may receive such defacements.
These markings prevent postal use, and all such items generally are known as “Specimens.”
(81) Tagging:- The impregnation of phosphorescent dies into the paper used to print a stamp. When “read” by special Ultra Violet machines during mail processing, the phosphors determine the face value of the stamps being used to pay postage.
(82) Topical or Thematic:- A stamp or piece of stationery showing a particular subject, i.e., horses, birds, pandas, automobiles, athletic events, etc.
(83) Unused:- An uncancealed stamp (as opposed to a mint stamp, see above), but one that has been hinged for mounting into an album. Such stamps can be either gummed or ungummed (the gum having been washed off).
(84) Used:- A stamp or stationery item that has been used for the purpose for which it was intended; usage on the mail. Such an item usually bears all or part of a cancel or obliteration device.
(85) Variety:- A variation from the standard from of a stamp. Varieties can include watermarks, different kinds of perforations, wrong colors or printing and production mistakes (over-inking, missing colors, etc.)
(86) Un-issued stamps:- Stamps which have been officially prepared but not issued for postal used for some reasons design error or other mistakes. Such items released inadvertently by the post office have tremendous Philatelic interest. e.g. the stamps of
(87) Used fiscally:- Stamps prepared for both postage and revenue purpose, and are recognized by the style, color or wordings, ink or seals. They are however, not of much Philatelic value
(88) Vale Surcharge:-
(89) War Tax Stamps:- Countries like
(90) Watermark Positions:- A distinguishing mark in paper, generally visible by transmitted light. Thinning the paper during manufacture at the wet pulp stage forms watermark. Watermark may be read from the face of the stamp.