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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FAQ-How is stamp paper made?

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?

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FAQ-What is a stamp grill?

Stamp grill pattern
Stamp grill pattern

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.

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Top 5 FAQ for stamps

Top 5 FAQ on stamps
Top 5 FAQ on stamps

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.

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FAQ-Should I repair or restore my stamp?

Do not repair stamps yourself!
Do not repair stamps yourself!

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 its members must identify a stamp that has been repaired or restored with an indelible ink mark—so that future buyers will know exactly what they are getting.

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FAQ-How to preserve your stamps

Stamps are a major investment!
Stamps are a major investment!

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,

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FAQ: What is my stamp worth?

What is my stamp worth?
What is my stamp worth?

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.

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