The ink-mark or other defacement placed on a stamp by the postal authorities to show that it has been used once, and is no longer valid for postage. Some of the types are listed below:
Pen-canceled - Stamps canceled with pen lines.
Pre-canceled or Precancels - Stamps which are canceled in advance of use by having the name of a town or city printed on then. This may be done to expedite the handling of large mailings.
Killer Canceled - when they are canceled by bars, circles, crossed lines, etc.
Town Cancellation or Office Cancellation - the common type of cancellation which gives the name of the post office where (and usually the date when) the letter was mailed.
Colored Cencellation - A cancellation mark printed or stamped in ink other than black.
Cancel to Order (CTO)
Stamps that are sold already canceled. These stamps can be detected by the presence of gum.
A 100th anniversary of a stamp.
Stamps which come in long, coiled strips, especially for use in vending machines, automatic stamp affixing machines, etc. Coil stamps have straight edges on two opposite sides, and perforated edges on the other two sides. If the straight edges run up and down, the stamps are called "vertical coils"; if from side to side, the stamps are called "horizontal coils.
Stamps issued in remembrance of, or a memorial to some person or event.
Perforations of two different measurements on the same stamp. A stamp for example, which is Perf. 12 on the top and bottom , and Perf. 11 on the sides has compound perforations and would be described as Perf. 12 x 11.
Cut Square or Envelope Cut Square
An embossed or printed envelope stamp centered within a square of paper cut from the original envelope.
Cut to Shape
An envelope or adhesive stamp not cut square, but having the paper trimmed close around the design. Stamps cut to shape are of little value.
Envelopes with, or without adhesive postage stamps which have passed through the mail and bear postage or other markings. Before the introduction of envelopes people folded letters and wrote the address on the outside.
Issued, usually in time of war, for use by a country's army and military officials.
A smaller than regular size sheet consisting of 1 to 25 stamps- specially printed by a government for a specific purpose. The stamps can be either perforated or imperforate and the sheet with or without inscription.
Stamps that have already be printed once, and are being printed again from the original plates. These stamps are identified as either 2nd Printing or n Printing. Where n represents the number of printings.
An envelope or package of stamps offered for sale. A packet usually contains all different types of stamps and has no duplicates.
One of the sections of a sheet of postage stamps that is divided for distribution.
Identical stamp designs printed on different kinds of paper and which may represent either major or minor varieties of the same stamp.
Is a separation type that cut multiple small holes between the stamps. These holes make it easy to separate the stamps, and another way to identify them. These patterns of holes can be measured using a "Perforation Gauge," basically a ruler. The perforation gauage is set up to read the number of holes per 2 centimeters. The result is a single number representing all sides of the stamp or two numbers representing different sides. The first of the two numbers represent the top and bottom preforations and the second number represents the right and left preforations. An example of a perforation measurement would be 10 x 12 .
Perforation Number or Perf. Number
The number of perforation holes in a space of 2 centimeters(approx. 25/32 of a inch) along the edge of a stamp, usually determined by use of a perforation gauge.
A person who collects and studies stamps.
Philately (pronounced fi-LAT-ilee)
The techinical name for stamp collecting and studying.
Postage Due Stamps
Postage is paid at the time of delivery.
Postage Tax Stamp
Are stamps that are used to collect a tax for some purpose.
Stamps are printed by a number of different processes generally described by one of the following terms:
The above printing processes are very detail and out of context for discussion in this dictionary. You may also see the terms "rotary press" and "flat plate" which are most commonly used by the "engraving" processes. Be careful not to mistake these terms as processes. For they refer to the type of press used and not to basic printing process.
Are impressions taken and examine for correctness by the printing service from the approved die, plate, or stone in which the design and color are the same as the stamp issued to the public.
Stamps issued on short notice and intended for temporary use pending the arrival of regular issues.
A type of stamp issued and sold at a higher price than usual. The additional sum of money may be donated to charity or for other fund-raising purposes.
The method used to make it easy to separate one stamp from another. The two popular methods of today are "perforating" and "rouletting". Perforating is done by punching rows of holes between the stamps. Rouletting is accomplished by making a series of short consecutive incisions between the rows of stamps, but without removing any of the paper.
A 150th anniversary, or its celebration.
Stamps that are joined together in pairs, strip, or block that differ in design.
Are a variety of stamps issued by the postal service that may be either connected together or separated to form a set.
A stamp that is issued as a single stamp.
A variety of "Miniature Sheet" issued by a country in honor or commemoration of some person, occasion or event. The borders or margins often carry inscriptions designating the purpose of the issue.
Special Delivery and Express Stamps
For delivery of letters in advance of regular delivery.
These are impressions of stamps that have been reprinted from the original plates. They must be reprinted from a current issue and be issued for a particular purpose.
Each member country sends samples of their stamps to the "International Bureau in Switzerland." This bureau then sends these samples to other member countries. The member countries use these samples to identify valid postage from other member countries.
Standard Issue or Regular Postage
Regular issue stamps.
A term used when a overprint changes the stamp value.
These are stamps that are treated with a Luminiscence, Fluorescence, or Phosphorescence chemical. These chemicals could be added to the paper or paint of the stamp, or they were stamp with a luminescent ink after printing. The postal service will use a machine to detect this luminescent material when processing the mail. This made it easy to detect counterfeit stamps.
A three hundredth anniversary, or its celebration.
A pair of stamps connected together in which one is upside down in relation to the other. If separated, "Tete Beche" value is destroyed.
A design characters, letters, numerals or words, impressed into paper during the manufacturing process, and visible in part or whole in each stamp printed on such paper.
A flat black tray or surface used in seeing or "detecting" the watermark on a stamp. The stamp is laid face down on a tray, moistened with a few drops of carbon tetrachloride, and the watermark show clearly.