If the back of an envelope has been postmarked this is called back-stamped. The dated postmark of arrival or despatch stamped at a post office is usually found on the back of a cover.
Nowadays postmarks are rarely used at the back of a cover.
In The Netherlands an envelope is only back-stamped when it has been sent to the wrong post office these days.
Ballon Monté is a French expression; it means "balloon with pilot". It can be found on mail during the siege of Paris (1870-71). For this a higher rate of postage was charged. Balloons were used because there were no other way to leave the city, because Germans had surrounded the town.
For mail sent by balloon without pilot "non monté" a cheaper rate was charged, but this was not a great success. These balloons found their way depending on the direction of the wind.
Cancelled with bars to render stamps invalid for postal use. Usually stamps with a barred cancellation are worth considerably less.
Such stamps have been cancelled by the postal authorities to be sold to collectors and very often these types of stamps with a "real" postmark are rare.
Batonné paper is watermarked with lines not close together, but as if ruled for guidance in writing.
Benzine is used to examine watermarks. You buy benzine at your local chemist. Do not go for it to a petrol station, because the benzine for a motor car is of a different kind.
Pour a little benzine in a watermark tray and place the stamp (upside down) in the tray. When the stamp has absorbed the benzine the watermark can be clearly seen.
By using benzine there is a risk that it will effect the stamp. Nowadays other optical instruments can be bought to examine watermarks such as the Safe Signoscope. This optical instrument works with a light-bulb, which shines through the stamp and it is provided with a lens. Other damages or a repair can be traced with this apparatus too.
Berger Levrault, Oscar
One of the first collectors was Oscar Berger Levrault. In 1861 he owned a collection of 671 different stamps. In the next three years his collection grew to 1142, 1553 and 1857 stamps.
Perhaps these numbers will not impress you, but you have to keep in mind that in those times only few stamps were issued. In The Netherlands only three different stamps were issued in 1861.
You probably will not share his vision on how to collect stamps. Oscar believed a stamp was damaged when the original perforation was cut. From a block of nine stamps Oscar cut out the middle stamp in such a way that the original perforation was reserved. As a result of his method the other eight stamps were severely damaged.
A stamp cut in half (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) usually for use at half the face value of the whole.
The bisection by public may be sanctioned by postal authorities during a shortage of stamps of the lower denomination. Sometimes the bisection is done, and accompanied by a surcharge, by the issuing authority.
Do not soak bisected stamps, because after soaking it will not be clear that you own a genuine bisected stamp.
Collect bisected stamps as a cut-out.
In Curacao in 1918 stamps were used bisected due to a shortage of stamps.
Henry Bishop (1605-'91) became the first English Postmaster-General in 1660. He paid 21.500 pounds for the privilege of collecting and keeping the postal fees. It was his task to speed up deliveries and to reorganize the postal system.
To record the acceptance of letters he introduced marks. These circular handstamps are forerunners of the present day stamps. These stamps had two segments. The upper segment indicated the month and the lower the day, or vice versa. Bishop marks existed in various forms.
At first these stamps were used in London, but later mail throughout the whole of Britain was stamped with this mark until 1787.
Blind perforation is a perforation whereby a hole (or several holes) was not punched out completely, leaving the paper intact but marked.
Blunt pins in the perforation comb are usually the cause of this error.
Generally considered to be a minor variety with a small extra value.
A not separated group of stamps, not fewer than three but usually four or more are named "block".
This word has a typographical meaning too: A printing block is a unit for typographic printing (e.g. woodblock, line- or half-tone block, stereo, zinco or electro).
A bogus is a label that, while purporting to be a postage stamp, never had any genuine existence as such. A genuine stamp may have a bogus surcharge (added without sanction of authority).
Stamps issued in handy booklet form are printed in large sheets. For convenience these sheets are cut and put into booklets.
From 1964 onwards booklets were used in vending machines in The Netherlands. The first Dutch booklets however, were issued in 1902. They were cut out normal sheets. Up to 1922 one had to pay one cent extra for the booklet-form. These booklets are very rare.
Some other countries which issue stamps in booklet-form are: Great Britain, France, Germany, United States of America and Sweden.
A booklet sheet is the full sheet that has not been cut up. A booklet leaf is one of the small leaves (or blocks) of stamps of which a booklet is composed. Some countries have added advertisements pages (postal or non-postal) in the stamp booklets.
Some collectors are only interested in booklets.
Complete sheet of postage stamps with slogan or advertisement labels from a booklet is called a booklet pane.
Sometimes stamps printed on both sides are errors, but more often they are due to economy in the use of paper. The printer, finding his sheet inadequately printed, turns the sheet and prints a better impression on the other side.
A bourse is a gathering of a group of dealers and collectors at which stamps, first day covers, supplies and other philatelic materials are sold or traded.
Some bourses are held specifically on stamps, but more often other collectibles are traded or sold too.
A handstamp or printed marking in the margin of a postage stamp sheet, surrounded by a rectangular lined frame is called boxed.
The first stamps of Brazil (1843) are named Bulls Eyes, on account of the oval shape of the design of these stamps.