The Arlington Stamp Company


The Stamp Collecting Glossary

A-B | C-D | E-F | G-L | M-P | Q-S | T-Z

Adhesive: Another word for stamp in particular a gummed stamp. Not as commonly used in the United States as in other English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Admirals: Refers to three British Commonwealth definitive series depicting King George V in naval uniform: Canada, 1912-25 (Scott 104-34); New Zealand, 1926 (182-84); and Rhodesia, 1913-19 (119-38).

Aerophilately: The specialty of collecting airmail stamps as well as covers and other memorabilia related to the transport of mail through the air.

Aerogramme: The official Universal Postal Union designation for an airletter sheet. Aerogrammes are written on and then folded to form their own envelope. They are delivered for less than the airmail rate. No enclosures are permitted.

Airmails: Stamps denominated at the airmail letter rate specifically for use on airmail letters.

Album Weed: Album Weeds is the title of an early and important reference book on forged stamps. The term usually refers to forged and other non-stamps, but can also be to describe generally undesirable material.

Aniline: An unstable ink that was used in printing some stamp issues to prevent the erasure of cancellations and reuse.

APO: Army Post Office. An official United States post office for use by U.S. military units abroad.

Authentication Mark (also Expert's Mark): Markings on the back of a stamp indicating that an expert has evaluated the stamp for authenticity. The mark is typically quite small and often the expert's initials. It may be either handwritten of rubber stamped. This practice was once quite common and authentication marks will be found on many older stamps.

Back-Of-Book (abb. BoB): The stamps that appear after the regular catalog listings for a country. Includes all manner of stamps that have a function other than regular mail service, such as airmails, postage dues and special deliveries, as well as postal stationary and sometimes non-postal revenue stamps.

Backstamp: A postmark applied to the back of an envelope by the receiving post office or by a post office handling the piece while it is in transit.

Batonne: A wove or laid paper with watermark like lines added in the papermaking process as a guide for handwriting.

Bisect: A stamp cut or perforated in half and used to pay a fraction of the face value as postage. For example a 2 cent stamp cut in half to pay 1 cent in postage. Sometimes in history, the use of bisects has been officially authorized during shortages of commonly used denominations. At other times bisects, although unauthorized, have passed through the mailstream either because the Post Office failed to notice or because Postal officials were willing to bend the rules a bit. To demonstrate that the stamp was actually used as a bisects, they are typically collected on cover or piece with the stamp tied by a cancel.

Bishop Mark: The earliest postmark, introduced by Henry Bishop in England circa 1661 to track how long it was taking mail to be delivered. The mark indicates the month and day that the mail was delivered to the Post Office by the customer.

Black Jack: Various U.S. two-cent black Andrew Jackson stamps issued between 1863 and 1875.

Blind Perforation: A minor class of error in which the perforating pins do not fully penetrate the stamp paper, but mark it with a faint impression.

Block: An un-separated grouping of at least four stamps forming a rectangle or square. Most commonly "block" alone refers to a block of four. It is otherwise more common to refer to a "block of six," "block of twelve," etc. see also Plate Block, Strip and Multiple

Blue Paper and China Clay Paper: The result of experiments with different rag content by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Post Office Department to deal with quality control problems being caused by paper shrinkage.

BoB: see Back-of-Book

Bogus: In stamp collecting the words "bogus," "fake," and "counterfeit" each have very different specific meanings. Bogus describes a non-stamp intended to deceive collectors, counterfeit describes a non-stamp intended to deceive the government or general public, and fake describes a genuine stamp that has been altered in some way in order to be more desirable to collectors.

Bond Paper: A high quality paper, saw some use in early stamp printing.

Booklet: A unit of one or more small panes attached to a card cover which is bound together by stitching, staples, or glue.

Booklet Pane: A full sheet removed from a booklet.

Bourse: A stamp marketplace where multiple dealers setup tables or booths. Usually used to describe an event where there are no exhibits, but occasionally a stamp show will advertise "Exhibits and Dealer Bourse" or something similar.

Burelage: A security feature. Fine, intricate lines printed as either part of the stamp design or separate from the design.


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