Stamps intended to be affixed to postal items as distinguished from postage
printed or hand stamped directly on the cover.
The collecting of airmail stamps and other mail items carried by airborne
Air letter sheets, usually carried for less than the normal airmail rates.
A stamp used specifically for airmail items.
An extremely bright water-soluble ink derived from coal-tar. Sometimes used
in stamp printing because they are easily damaged by rubbing and run when
wet, thus discouraging attempts to remove cancellations.
These are stamps mailed by dealers to collectors for free examination. The
collector selects and pays for, only those items he wishes to keep and sends
the remainder back to the dealer.
A block of stamps containing an arrow shaped marking
used to guide the pane separator and perforator.
A public sale at which various lots (groups)
are sold to the highest bidder.
A package of mixed stamps, usually still on paper that was collected from
banks and other financial institutions.
Two attached stamps, identical except for the
inscription, which is in two different languages.
A stamp which has been cut in half
to be used as two separate stamps. This method was utilized during the 19th
century when lower denomination stamps were unavailable.
Four or more unseparated stamps forming a square or
A small convenient book containing stamps of one or
more denomination. Often sold through vending machines.
Panes of stamps especially cut and printed to be sold
in booklets. Booklets usually contain two or three of these panes. They are
straight edged on two or three sides.
An Organized show or meeting of stamp dealers and
collectors at which stamps are sold or traded.
Bulls Eye cancellation:
A term used to indicate a stamp with a perfectly
A design or picture printed on an envelope to
illustrate an event or occasion. See First Day covers.
Canceled To Order
Stamps that have been canceled without having been postally used. Usually
lightly corner canceled with full glue on reverse. Cancellation: The ink
mark or other defacement on a stamp indicating that it has been used and can
not be used again.
Stamps used in the United States from 1851 to 1863 in payment of mail
delivered to the actual addressee from the postal receiving station and
carried by private local carrier. During these years regular postage only
covered delivery from one Post Office to another.
The number used to identify individual stamps from a
specific country by the publisher of a postage stamp catalog such as Scott,
Stanley Gibbons or Michel.
The identifying number assigned to each individual stamp of a country in a
catalog. Catalog values are usually for stamps in "Very Fine" condition.
Centering: The placement or location of a stamp design with reference to the
paper on which it was printed. If the design is placed so that the margins
on all four sides are equal then it is said to be perfectly centered. Stamps
in Very Fine condition generally are well centered except for some of the
older issues where good centering does not exist.
Center Line Block:
A block of stamps with a horizontal and vertical line
intersecting the middle of the block.
Mail for which the sender is given a receipt certifying that the item has
been mailed. A "Return Receipt" can also be requested as proof of safe
Postally invalid adhesive labels, usually sold to raise money for various
charities or for promotional purposes. Christmas Seals are an example of a
A term usually referring to older (19th
engraved stamps of a country.
Stamps which are formatted in long coiled strips for use by businesses in
affixing machines or for sale from vending machines. Coil stamps have
straight edges on two opposite sides and perforations on the other two
except in the case of some self-adhesive stamps.
A stamp with the color altered, either accidentally or intentionally, by
chemicals, heat, moisture, or sunlight.
A stamp issued in remembrance of an event or as a tribute to an individual.
The actual material state of a stamp as determined by
its centering, freshness, cancellation, gum condition, etc. Stamps are
general grades as Gem, Superb, Very Fine, Fine, Average, or Space Filler
(Sometimes graded as intermediate
categories such as "Fine to Very Fine").
The term used to describe a minor variety which appears in the same place on
the sheet throughout multiple printing runs of a stamp.
A letter or numeral placed in the sheet margin for
A postally invalid label or tag attached to a postage
stamp, usually carrying a slogan or design related to the stamp.
A complete envelope or post card with the stamp or stamps and/or
cancellation intact. (In the case of
stampless covers - cancellation and rate markings only.)
A cover which has been salvaged from a wreck or crash
and delivered to the addressee, usually containing an official explanation
of the delay.
A line or mark on a stamp caused by folding which
greatly decreases the value of said stamp.
A stamp that has been cut from a preprinted postal envelope, postcard,
wrapper, or letterset in square or rectangular form for placement in an
album. Pre stamped items are more often collected as "Entires" at this time.