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
Now that you have spent good time and money on your stamp collection, you want to take care of it! What are some of the things you should never do a stamp? Some of these points may seem basic to an experienced collector, but newer collectors may appreciate them. Here goes!
1) Never use scotch tape or a glue stick to mount a stamp on a page. This may seem obvious, but
If you are going to invest in a hobby like stamp collecting, it only makes sense to take care of it. One of the worst things you could do when sorting and handling your stamps is to use your bare hands and fingers. Even if you wash your hands properly, you still risk transferring oils from your skin to your stamps. It may not seem like such a big deal, I mean, most stamps have been handled at some point, right? However, you may not feel the same if you leave a big, nasty fingerprint on a valuable stamp.
The short answer is YES! I’m not just saying that to sell catalogues. I really believe it to be true. I was only introduced to philately in my 30’s and if it hadn’t been for catalogues I would have been lost. I learned a lot from my stamp catalogue. Here is a short list of why they are so necessary. I’ll be concentrating on catalogues for Canada stamps, such as the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps.
Now that we know what a stamp watermark is, let’s talk about how we can detect one. A previous article briefly outlined how you can use watermark detector fluid (see article FAQ-What is a stamp watermark?). Is this the only method available to stamp enthusiasts?
Here are 5 different ways to detect a watermark on a stamp:
1) Not always reliable, but certainly the simplest way, is to hold the stamp up to a bright light with the back of the stamp facing you. In some instances bright light will show through the thinner areas of the paper and reveal a watermark. You can also try laying the stamp face side down on a black surface. The darker background sometimes shows through the watermark.
Watermarks can significantly increase the value of a stamp. For example, Canada stamp #28 in Mint VF (Unitrade listing) has a catalogue value of $1,400, but the same stamp with a watermark (#28a), is listed at $6,000! Obviously, it’s a good thing to find a stamp with a watermark. It can mean the difference between an ordinary stamp and a rarity. So then, what is a stamp watermark?