How can I identify stamp colours?

How do I identify stamp colours?-Part TwoSo … how can you identify stamp colours? That is the question! The first article of this series dealt with why there are so many different stamp colours and why that can make colours hard to identify. The purpose of “How can I identify stamp colours?” is to help you identify stamp colours even without a universal do-it-all guide.

Here’s a quick recap of why colours are hard to identify:

  • Stamp colour age and change with time
  • The human eye sees colours differently from one person to the next
  • An abundance (overabundance?) of recognized shades and colours


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Why are there so many stamps colours?

How to identify stamp colors-image of a color wheel
Courtesy Clip Art Best

When I decided to write this article, I had no idea what I was getting into! Call me naive, but even though I had never seen a stamp colour guide personally, I kind of thought that a reliable one existed which I would recommend to all of you. NOT! So, why so many stamp colours and how can I identify stamp colours?

This first article in a series of two will start by helping us to understand why all these different shades came to exist.

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What is the definition of a stamp plate proof?

Canada #61P Proof Block Of Four
Canada #61P Proof Block of Four

What is the definition of a stamp plate proof? I’m often fascinated to see how many different items are considered collectibles in the philatelic world. Not just postage stamps, but souvenir sheets, booklets, first day covers and plate blocks too. Then there’s all the philatelic material that hasn’t necessarily been used for actual mail service: Cinderellas, labels, and SPECIMENs and die proofs. Add to that list plate proofs.

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What is a SPECIMEN stamp and should I collect them?

Canada Stamp #3Pi - Queen Victoria (1851) 12dWhat is a SPECIMEN stamp and should I collect them? Before I answer that question, let’s take a look at page 58 of the 2019 Unitrade specialized catalogue of Canadian stamps. There you will find all the listings for the 1897 Diamond Jubilee Issue. Canada Post issued this series of stamps to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s rule. Pay attention to one of the footnotes at the bottom of the page that deals with the value of the Jubliee Issue SPECIMEN stamps.

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FAQ-What is a Cinderella stamp?

Defining a Cinderella stamp is a tricky business, as you will see. There always seems to be an exception to the rule in this field of collecting. Cinderella stamps are any kind of adhesive labels that were not issued by a government post office for sending the mail. Here is where it gets complicated though-some stamps that are considered “Cinderellas” were used for the mail, unofficial mail that is. AGGGHHHH!

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FAQ-What is a revenue stamp?

Even though they are called “stamps,” revenue stamps have nothing to do with the postal service. They were not used for the sending of the mail. Strictly speaking, they are labels that were applied to official documents. True, they sometimes resemble certain postal issues, but they have no postal value whatsoever. They were issued and used by various governmental offices to collect taxes—hence the name “revenue” stamp.

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FAQ-What are BOB stamps?

Canada BOB stamps. Many people new to stamp collecting might wonder what BOB stamps are. No, they have nothing to do with your Uncle Bob (sorry, bad joke)! The word BOB is simply an acronym for «Back Of Book». «Which book?» you may ask. The back of your stamp catalogue of course! This article will concentrate on the listings found at the back of your Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps. **see note

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FAQ-What is a «Fancy Cancel»?

USA stamp with a leaf fancy cancel
USA stamp with a leaf fancy cancel

In its truest sense, a cancellation (also called a cancel, killer or obliteration) is a mark without writing that is applied directly to a stamp to prevent it from being reused—often wavy lines, circles, bars, etc. Some cancels, called “fancy cancels” were designed and hand carved by individual postal employees as a matter of artistic pride. Although now applied by machine, in the late 19th and early 20th century, a cancellation was manually applied by a postal worker using a pen or a handheld stamp. This article will concentrate mainly on the “fancy cancels” of early USA stamps.

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10 gift ideas for the stamp collector!

Surprise boxOne of the questions I am often asked is: What should I get my stamp collector friend/family member as a gift? If you’re not a stamp collector yourself, it can be difficult to figure out what kind of a gift a collector would appreciate. Here are 10 suggestions that are all available in our web store. You’ll find that there is a wide range of pricing options, something to fit every budget….and a few luxury items as well that just might have your stamp collector jumping up and down for joy. Happy shopping!

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