To begin with, a fleet of transport and men must work a continued routine of clearing the boxes and taking the letters to central sorting offices in the principal cities, town and villages. Every letter must be examined and put into a bag for its particular destination. Next, each bag must be loaded on a proper mail van, train or aero plane, its contents being perhaps combined somewhere on the journey with those of bags from other sorting offices. Eventually, and after being sorted perhaps two or three more time at different depots on its route, it arrives at destination. There, more sorters make up the incoming letters into carefully arranged bundles so that they can be taken to the addresses by postmen, who may visit each house or office in their round two or three times a day or who in sparsely populated regions may use van, bicycle, mule, boat or on foot to reach remote places once a week or less.
The money that we paid for our stamp is our own contribution to the running of this complex organization. Not only does the post office of our country offer an enormous variety of services but it is also linked throughout the world, under arrangements regulated by the UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION at Berne in Switzerland, with the post offices of all other countries.
The stamp is a governmental receipt, for our money and when it performs its service of indicating correct payment it is postmarked or cancelled to prevent further use. Before cancellation it may be in effect a negotiable token for money and whether cancelled or not it may be of interest (and therefore value) to collectors but these are not its purposes. It is important to bear this in mind when thinking about its design.
However, it will be interesting to look at the various categories of stamps. Stamps in common use for an indefinite period is called DEFINITIVE issues. COMMEMORATIVE stamps form another very large group as they are issued for famous people, events and anniversaries. Occasionally, they continue in ordinary use for a very long time. Of recent years a new category of pictorial THEMATIC stamps has come into being. This is to satisfy (and raise money from) collectors who are increasingly interested in arranging their stamps on the basis of themes rather than countries.
PROVISIONAL stamps are temporary issues often hastily prepared and usually resulting a shortage of certain denominations or from a change in Government currency or postal rates. Occasionally, HALF STAMPS OR BISECTS is authorized in times of shortage but more often SURCHARGES of new values are made on surplus stocks. An added inscription, which alters the purpose but not the value, is called an OVERPRINT. Air stamps are specifically intended for mail traveling by air. Such mail is also often distinguished by a blue label (sometime called a “vignette”) and or by a striped border on the envelope or a hand-stamped “cachet”. When the world’s air routes were being developed in the 1930, some countries issued long set of Air stamps with a separate denomination for every rate to different destination but now-a-days one or two values generally suffice. EXPRESS stamps, which may be classed SPECIAL DELIVERY stamps, are for mail on which special fee has been paid for faster service. In this category, can also be placed the PNEUMATIC POAT stamps used in certain cities of Italy. REGISTRATION stamps sometimes represent the registration fee, on letters for which the post-office accepts special responsibility or sometimes the total for registration and postage. Such stamps are used in Colombia, Greet Britain, USA, Canada. Holland & Mexico have issued stamps for the prepayment of insurance fees. PARCEL stamps are used in some countries (Italy & Belgium). In Italy they are in double format, so that one half can be attached to a receipt for the packet and the other half to the packet itself. In Belgium, France & some other countries, there are called RAILWAY stamps. These are not necessarily regarded as postage stamps. NESPAPER stamps are not always readily distinguished being sometimes merely the smallest denomination of a series of ordinary stamps. The Farthing values of Malta & other British colonies were issued for that purpose but could be used to make up higher rates. Sometimes, as in early Austrian examples, stamps have been stuck on newspapers before printing so that the newspaper itself cancels them. U.S.A, France, Canada & Belgium have produced this kind of stamps. POSTAGE DUE stamps are the commonest of all the special kind. In Great Britain, they are described as “labels” and they are used for “internal accounting purposes” to check the amount of money collected or underpaid letters. As is well known, the practice is to collect from the addressee double the amount of any deficiency. In other countries and at other times, the rules might differ considerable. For example, in Greece & other countries of the Near East it is used to be considered insulting to prepay the postage on a letter, as it implied that the recipient did not possess enough money to pay on delivery!
Postage due stamp (usually inscribed “To Pay” or the equivalent and frequently without country-name) are also used to account for such items as dues and poste vest ante charges. Many countries use ordinary stamps for postage due purposes with or without an overprint mark “T” or “Taxes”. The Govt. Dep uses official stamps, often as check on the amount of mail dispatched and not as receipts for actual expenditure. FRANK stamps are somewhat similar being issued free to privileged persons such as armed forces or members of the parliament. The letter “OS” indicates “on service” or its equivalent. Sometime these or other letter are punched through a stamp in small holes. Private firms as well as Govt. department adopt this practice, primarily meant to prevent theft and the collectors name for such stamps is “performs”. Local stamps are issued for use on limited routes or in limited areas and not for international recognition. They are not ordinarily regarded as postage stamp. Too Late stamps are an uncommon kind. They represent the extra charge for acceptance of mail after normal times. Charity stamps are sold at prices greater than the postal rates they represent. The difference going to nominated charities or appeal. Tax stamp, which a rather similar, represent a compulsory addition to the postage rates, not strictly speaking, going to the postal service but to some other fund such as education or new post-office building words. The group is particularly common on Latin America. Telegraph stamps resemble postage stamp & have sometime been authorized and have frequently been used as telegraph stamps. This practice is in Britain. Revenue or Fiscal stamps include labels for a multiplicity of purposes from custom dues to game shooting licensees & from estate duties to patent medicine taxes. Fiscal stamps have at times been admitted for postal use. More often, postage stamp are used fiscally and this accounts for the extremely high denomination issued in some British territories. A large group of stamps still remains. Essays are trial design in the from of drawing or print. PROOFS on the other hand are printer trials made at various stages in production. BOGUS stamps are pretended to have been issued but never were. Sometime, the country name is fictional or that of an uninhabited island. Postal stationery is generally understood to embrace all envelopes, wrappers and postcards officially issued by post office with stamp already impressed. Such stamps are known as “non adhesive” (or when spoilt by removal, cut outs). There is every reason to regard them as equal in status to adhesive postage stamps. beginning of postal stationery is much less clear than those of adhesive stamps. They
The can be traced back with certainty to a New South Walls issue of 1838 less definitely to the so-called Cavallini stationery of Sardinia in 1818 (the stamps in the case represented a Gov tax on a private post and not an official postal rate) and more obscurely to the private postal wrappers issued in Paris by de villenyer in 1653, of which none are known still to exist. In many cases, un-adhesive stamps are as similar in design to adhesives. Sometimes, in fact they can easily be confused with ordinary stamps that have missed being perforated. When postage rates are increased, an extra stamp is often added, either an adhesive or by a second printing. There are also Metro Marks impressed by special office machines, which dispense with stamp altogether.