Stamp Collecting Encyclopaedia Letter C Philatelic Terms
Cachet is a French word; it is a design found on an envelope describing an event. This can be an important expedition, a particular air flight or an exposition. A cachet is also used to denote the first day of use of a stamp or a particular anniversary or event.
The cachet may be official or private.
Cancelled by complaisance
Stamps postmarked to oblige collectors. Also known as "cancelled-to-order".
Many countries have cancelled stamps to satisfy collector's demand and sometimes sold more cheaply than unused. These stamps are not always distinguishable from postally used stamps. Only when a special postmark has been used these stamps can be identified.
However, stamps with postmarks and full gum can not be used postally and are cancelled-to-order.
Today, many Postal Services sell "used stamps". Such a subscription may be comfortable, but it does not bring in a nice collection!
In some countries more stamps are printed than letters can be written by their citizens (e.g. Dominica, Gambia, St. Vincent). Postally used stamps of these countries can be scarce!
These Postal Services are only interested in your money. Collectors all over the world finance these economies by buying their stamps. Perhaps there are other interesting stamps to collect!
Any mark applied on a stamp to prevent the re-use of a stamp: Postmark, Pen-cancellation, Overprint (specimen, sample, inutilizado), Punched with holes.
A mute cancellation is a postmark without inscription, letters or numbers (also known as "killers").
Postage stamps issued by cantonal administrations prior to the general adoption of the system by the Swiss Confederation.
These cantons were: Basel, Geneva, Zurich.
In the early days of mail delivery in the United States of America (1842-'59) letters were only delivered as far as a post office. Private or semi-official arrangements were made with people who took care of the delivery of letters to or from post offices; they were called carriers.
In that period, in many parts of the country there was no house-to-house delivery or collection of mail. The carriers provided a link between the post-office service and the addressee.
The Eagle and Franklin stamps were Government issues for such deliveries, but also other stamps provided by the local postmasters were used. Carriers were used in other countries too.
Catalogues of postage stamps serve collectors as comparative guides to the value of stamps. A catalogue is an illustrated list with the prices of the different postage stamps issued by the countries of the world. The illustrations help you to identify your stamps. With the help of a catalogue you can order your stamps and find out which stamps you want to acquire.
The first catalogue was published in September 1861 by Oscar Berger-Levrault in Strasbourg. From this book "Timbres-Poste" 40 copies were made The book described 973 different stamps.
The first catalogue with prizes was printed in July 1863 by Zsiesche & Köder as a supplement with their magazine. The first catalogue with prizes issued as a book was published later that year by Arthur Maury in Paris. Two years later Stanley Gibbons published his first catalogue.
These first catalogues were price-lists published by dealers. Nowadays they are more than that: they give approximate prices, based on transactions or other available information. It is an encyclopaedia which compresses every vital fact of dates of issue, descriptions of designs, methods of printing and so forth.
Without a good catalogue we would be completely in the dark about the stamps we may hope to acquire. Nearly all of us need to know something of market values, and this is one reason why a catalogue is indispensable.
The "catalogue value" is commonly used when catalogue price is meant. This value can only be used as a rough guide, because other factors (such as condition) are very important too.
Types of catalogues: World, Country, Topic or theme.
Important catalogues: Michel, Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Yvert et Tellier.
Catapult mail is mail flown by an aeroplane, which is launched from a ship on sea to speed up delivery time.
Catapult mail was introduced by the French postal authorities in 1928. An aeroplane was catapulted from the "Ile de France". The letters were specially inscribed and an extra air fee had to be paid.
German ships used this method of speedy delivery too. In general the aeroplane was launched from the ship's deck about 1000 km from land. On 22 July 1929 the first German catapult mail flight to New York took place from "S.S. Bremen" while the ship was about 500 km from the seashore.
Catapult mail was abandoned in 1935, because Zeppelins and aeroplanes were used more and more on long distance mail flights.
A stamp is well centred when the impression lies evenly between the perforated edges on all four sides. The antonym is "off centre".
The cause of off-centred stamp can be: Perforation not placed at the right spot, Stamp has been cut out of a sheet in a sloppy way.
To prevent forgery in Russia an underprint of intersecting lines of chalk was applied on paper used for stamps. The chalky underprint prevented cleaning of used stamps to be used twice and photographically forgery of the stamps.
Chalk was used because it dissolves in water. Paper handled in this matter is called chalky paper.
Chalky paper is a sort of paper that has been coated on the printing side with a solution of chalk and gum. It gives a more brilliant but more fugitive colour impression.
Stamps printed on chalky paper should not be put into water, because chalk dissolves in water and the colour of the stamp will fade.
Postage stamps have been printed on this specially treated paper to receive a good printing impression and to resist the removal of cancellations.
The Austrian jubilee series, a few French, Russian and English colonial issues have been printed on this paper. The paper is unsuitable for colour printing and therefore not used anymore.
A stamp whose colour or shade of colour, or paper, has been changed by chemical or other reaction. The change may be accidental (some inks change colour in water) or at times fraudulent.
Charity stamps are sold at a higher price than the face value. The difference is generally paid to charity organisations such as: catastrophe funds, philatelic organisations, children's welfare, red cross and war victims. Charity stamps are often referred to as semi-postals.
Sometimes an extra print is added on the stamp for this purpose. Stamps bearing such an overprint are called surcharges.
In The Netherlands charity stamps are issued on the subjects: Red Cross, Children's welfare and Social relief and charity organisations.
In the corners of early British stamps letters were arranged in double alphabetical sequence throughout each sheet. No two stamps on a sheet bore an identical combination.
At first only letters were used in the lower corners. Later the upper corners were provided with letters that were the same as those in the lower corners but in reverse order.
The main reason to do so was to prevent forgery and second usage of stamps. Many people cut two partial postmarked stamps and fixed those on their outgoing mail. The check letters prevented this form of deceit.
The first Christmas stamp was issued in Canada in 1898. On this stamp with the Mercator map the words "XMAS 1898" were inscribed. Collectors had to wait till 1964 before Canada commenced a regular run of Christmas stamps.
The first Christmas stamps: Canada (1898), Austria (1937), Brazil (1939), Hungary (1941), United States of America (1962), The Netherlands (1987).
Christmas stamps are issued in many countries today and often Christmas greetings can be sent at a lower postal rate.
In 1987 the Dutch PTT Post were forced by local postal services to issue Christmas stamps, because in the former year in several cities many letters and cards were delivered by private services at much lower costs than PTT rates.
Thin almost transparent paper often without gum like the paper used for stamps of Latvia in 1919 is called cigarette paper.
Stamps issued in the 19th century are usually referred to as "classics," although some consider stamps from the period 1900-1940 in that category as well. Philatelists specialising in this era refer to themselves as "classic collectors."
There are still plenty of low cost classic stamps available, but it doesn't take long to get into the expensive ones.
Quality or condition of classics is always an issue. Faults always reduce prices, sometimes dramatically, for things such as poor centring, damaged gum, re-gummed, short perforations, faded colors, etc.
I would advise anyone buying expensive early classics to have them expertise and or authenticated. Expert forgers have reproduced so many good forgeries that even experts differ on opinions at times.
A stamp that has had its first cancellation removed by chemical or other way is a "cleaned stamp". This implies fraudulent means. Fiscal stamps, especially of high denominations or stamps which have been used a short while, are often cleaned and provided with forged postmarks.
Collectors must be aware of stamps which have been cleaned and offered as unused too. Often those stamps are also provided with gum by the forger.
Coil stamps are issued on a roll. Many countries issue stamps in these form, because they are easier in use at the post office or because they are used by automatic affixing machines.
Often on the gum every fifth or tenth stamp bears a number. In this way it's easy to determine how many stamps are on stock at the post office.
In The Netherlands coil stamps are also supplied with a discount to companies for usage at publicity mail. Those stamps often bear the "PTT Post" postmark instead of the normal postmarks which are in use at that time.
Coil stamps are printed on wide reels, which are then mechanically slit into single-width ribbons, and are coiled up on separate spools to the required length and sealed. Stamps issued in coil form often present differences from the like stamps issued in sheet or booklet form.
Proofs in colour are made by stamp printers for experimental purposes or to enable officials to make a suitable selection of colors. Those prints are called colour trials.
A vertical line of stamps in a sheet is called column. The horizontal line is a row.
A combination cover is a cover that has been prepaid with stamps of two or more countries.
In the early days stamps were not always valid beyond its own borders and stamps of the country of destination were affixed on the letter too.
Nowadays these problems are solved by the U.P.U. and combination covers are only made on special occasions (for instance: joint issue).
A stamp issued in commemoration of some event or anniversary. Commemorative stamps are more colourful and often bigger than definitives. Commemoratives usually honor important persons or famous events and subjects.
Commemoratives only stay around for a few months (compare: Definitives).
At first only stamps with designs of portraits and symbols were issued, but pictorial designs were more and more used towards the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century commemoratives were created and these stamps became very popular. By using commemoratives important messages could be brought to the attention of the public. Sometimes stamps were even issued to influence people.
The most important thing to remember is that the value of your collection is dependable on the condition the stamps are in.
A perfect stamp has: No weak spots, No tears, No fading colors, No crease or a stain, No loss of gum in case of an unused stamp, No excessively heavy postmark, when used.
Of course, some older varieties hardly exist in perfect condition and they do not have to be in perfect condition. How newer the stamp, the more perfect it should be.
Stamp conditions are often described as: Superb, Good, Very Fine, Fine
Used stamps are often described as: Light Cancel, Medium Cancel, Heavy Cancel.
A corner block is a block of stamps with margins from the corner of a sheet. It is of interest when those stamps are abnormal, or when the margin shows a control, plate number or date.
Costerus Prize for Philatelic Publications
The Costerus Prize is the highest award for Dutch philatelic publications and is rewarded by the Dutch philatelic association (N.B.F.V.) The prize is named after W.P. Costerus (1874-1951).
A cover is the envelope or wrapper. In the early days of postal history no covers were used. The letter was simply folded together and often a seal was affixed to the letter to prevent unintended reading. In the 19th century the envelope was developed.
A stamp retained on the whole envelope is called "on original cover" or "on entire". If only a portion of the cover remains, the stamp is described as "on piece". An envelope or wrapper that has been carried by air mail is a "flown cover".
Cubiertas are large labels affixed to insured letters in Colombia and several Colombian states during the years 1865 - 1909.
Two types of cubiertas excisted: Value not declared, Value declared.
About 100 varieties were catalogued, but they are not strictly postage stamps.
Impressed stamps cut out from envelopes, wrappers, postcards or other printed postal stationery, for use as ordinary stamps or for collecting purposes are called cut-outs.
If adhesive stamps are of peculiar external form, e.g. round, oval or octagonal, these are at their best when cut square.
Bisected stamps are collected as a cut-out too! Never soak bisected stamps!
Cut to shape
A stamp of unusual form (e.g. round, oval, octagonal, etc.) trimmed close to the conformation of the impression.
Stamps that have been cut in this way are relatively valueless compared with those that have been cut square.
Cut-outs are usually cut square or rectangular and not close round the design. If adhesive stamps are of peculiar external form (e.g. round, oval or octagonal) these are at their best when cut square.
Dutch stamps printed by rotary photogravure from cylindrical plates often bear small characters in the lower right corner of the sheet denoting the numbers of the cylinders and the letters "L" (links = left) or "R"(rechts = right).
Normally on a cylinder two sheets are printed together (left and right sheet). For each colour a printing plate exists and so for each colour you find a cylinder number in the lower right corner of a sheet of the sheet.
On British stamps the cylinder numbers are found in the left margin. Many collectors take a special interest in cylinder numbers.
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