So you’ve decided to start stamp collecting…congratulations! The mark of any good collector is a thorough knowledge of the object of his interest. You will find that learning about postage stamps and all their difference aspects is something that can keep you busy for years to come, but it’s good to understand the basics. So, let’s start at the beginning-what makes up a postage stamp? What stands out under close examination?
In our last article we discussed what perforations are. If you remember, perforations are the tiny punched out holes that permit us to tear our stamps from a stamp sheet. Sometimes, two stamps may seem identical, but actually have a different perforation measure. This can mean that one of the stamps is more rare than the other and worth more money. So how do you measure the perforation of a stamp?
First of all, you absolutely need a perforation gauge. This handy and inexpensive little tool will enable you to measure your stamps effectively and relatively simply. There is a little skill involved, but with some practice you’ll be a pro in no time.
One of the aspects of correctly identifying your stamps which requires a bit of skill is measuring perforations. Before we get to that however, it’s a good idea to understand what stamp perforations are.
In our last article we learned that engraving was the method of choice for printing early Canada stamps. However, in the 1950’s, Canada Post also introduced printing by lithography. While lithography has been around for a long time, it was only in those years that it started becoming really popular in commercial printing-mainly because it was fast, less expensive than engraving and produced a crisp, clean image.
One way lithography differs from engraved printing is that it is a « planographic » printing method. In other words, printed from a flat or smooth printing plate surface, as opposed to the recessed, grooved lines that engraving produces.
If you examine the description of each Canadian stamp in your Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps, you will notice that the printing method of each issue is always stated in the heading. Many different printing methods exist; this article will explain how engraved stamps are printed. However, let’s start with a little history lesson!
So you’ve inherited a stamp collection from Uncle Bob and you don’t know what to do with it? How to sell my stamp collection? Well, don’t despair! This article will help you to decide the best way to go about selling the stamps (if you decide you don’t want to become a collector yourself, of course).
In addition to collecting individual stamps, many people also specialize in collecting different forms of postal material. One form of postal material is a First Day Cover. Although interest in collecting modern First Day Covers has somewhat diminished nowadays, it is still quite popular in many circles. So, what is a First Day Cover (FDC)? What is the difference between a FDC and a regular cover?
Probably one of the most common ways of collecting stamps is individually, as singles. However, many collectors also like to collect blocks of stamps. Stamp blocks make for an attractive display in a collection and in some cases, even turn out to be a valuable investment. Several different types of stamp blocks exist and this article will help you to understand the difference between a regular block, a plate block and an inscription block.
Another question that collectors often ask is: What is the difference between a full pane (sometimes just called a pane) and a souvenir sheet? Granted, it can be a little tricky sometimes to tell the two apart. For the purposes of understanding the differences, this article will compare a full pane to a souvenir sheet that Canada Post issued for the same stamp: Canada stamp #1813 (full pane ) and #1813i (souvenir sheet).