Stamp paper is obviously the most important part of a stamp—no paper, no stamp!! Also, the paper a stamp is printed on can mean the difference between a rare and valuable stamp, as opposed to one that is worth considerably less. When you start researching stamp paper (as I have recently!), you’ll easily be blown away by the sheer number of varieties that exist (as I was!). This article begins with outlining the first step—How is stamp paper made?
A series of late 19th century USA stamps are known for having “grills”. What is a stamp grill? Basically, a grill was a security method developed to prevent the fraudulent reuse of postage stamps.
Every time a stamp is used it is cancelled at the post office. A stamp can be cancelled by hand with a pen, or with a specially made canceling device. Unfortunately, many people would attempt (successfully!) to wash the cancellation ink off the stamp and then reuse it instead of buying a new one.
Here is a quick go-to reference article containing answers to the most common stamp questions. For more detailed answers, click on the link provided after each question.
1) What is my stamp(s) worth?
This has got to be the single most asked question in a stamp dealer’s lifetime! Basically, there are three things you can do.
This is a very touchy and controversial subject. In short, if you have a rare, valuable, or classic stamp and you want to preserve its original value—the answer is «NO». The only time you should consider restoring such stamps is if they urgently require preservation, and then, only by a highly qualified professional.
Even if a stamp isn’t extremely valuable, many philatelists believe that altering a stamp in any way reduces its value and many don’t even want such stamps in their collection. For this reason, the American Philatelic Society stipulates that
You’ve invested in a stamp collection—now you want to keep it in pristine condition. Here are some tips to help you keep your stamps in tip-top shape.
Keep your stamps somewhere where you can control the temperature. Ideally, you should keep the room your stamps are in at 18°- 20 °C. Extreme heat or cold, or constant temperature fluctuations, can damage your stamps. If you store your stamps in bookshelves,
The words “cancellation” and “postmark” are often used interchangeably, although strictly speaking this not completely accurate. This article will attempt to explain the actual difference between the two, while not establishing any hard and fast rules. After all, stamp collecting is supposed to be fun!
The question we get asked the most at Arpin Philately is: What is my stamp worth? Here is a short checklist to help you get going.
1) Begin by auto-evaluating your stamp’s worth. To do this you will need a stamp catalogue. You’ll either want to get the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue for Canadian stamps, the Scott Pocket for U.S. stamps, or a Scott World catalogue for other countries.
In a previous article we already discussed what a die-cut stamp is (see article: FAQ-What is a die-cut stamp?). Many of you have noticed when shopping for your Quarterly Packs that some stamps are described as «die-cut to shape from Quartely Pack». What does this mean?
Quarterly Packs are prepared by Canada Post as an easy way for collectors to procure all of the stamps issued in a year in tri-monthly installments. A Quarterly Pack contains
Modern printing has had a huge impact on stamp production and philately. Experienced collectors and philatelists are now finding themselves having to learn new philatelic terms and definitions. For example, many new stamps are die-cut. What does that mean?
Simply put, die-cutting is a method of stamp separation designed for self-adhesive stamps. Older, gummed stamps are perforated so that you can separate them one from another (see article: FAQ-What are stamp perforations? ). Modern self-adhesive stamps are very rarely perforated, instead they are die-cut. In other words, a metal die cuts out the sides of the stamps.
Canada Post is issuing more and more self-adhesive stamps and a lot of you have asked how to remove them from a paper backing (such as an envelope). A previous article discussed how to do this using Bestine, a chemical solvent. For obvious reasons, many of you would prefer not to use something chemical.
I am very grateful to Claude Favron for posting his suggestion in our comments section. We tested Mr. Favron’s method at Arpin Philately and found that it worked beautifully. I am reproducing his tip below and hope that you find it useful too. The key to success is