Peel and stick stamps are rather new to the postal service and it can be peeled off the non-stick paper. No licking is needed.
Not all self-adhesives can be soaked properly (France, Germany, Iraq).
The Netherlands issued some self-adhesives:
- December 1995 (2 x 55 cent, Christmas stamps)
- December 1996 (4 x 55 cent, Christmas stamps)
- Verhuispostzegel 1997 (80 cent, Removal stamp)
- Honderd voor uw zaken 1997 (80 & 160 cent, Hundred For Your Business)
- December 1997 (6 x 55 cent, Christmas stamps)
- December 1998 (20 x 55 cent, Christmas stamps)
All Dutch peel and stick stamps can be soaked easily.
A set is a complete collection of single stamps of an issue. These stamps are of different design or denomination and may be issued together or over a period (definitives).
Publishers of catalogues play an important role in determining which stamps belong together. Collectors and dealers trade use this information and often stamps can only be bought and sold as a set as stated in the catalogue used.
Dealers usually prefer selling sets, because not only the difficult ones but also the easy to get stamps (stamps most collectors already possess) are sold.
Two or more stamps, which are different in design or value are called se-tenant. Stamps that are attached to an advertising strip or margin are likewise called a se-tenant.
Sometimes on the gum side of a stamp a reflected image (lightly printed) of the stamp can be found.
During the printing process sometimes ink "sets-off" from one sheet to another, because the ink is still wet. Because this error finds its origin during the process of printing it is a so called printer's error.
A letter which bears markings that the letter was sent by ship. In the early days letters were handed to the captain of the ship who delivered the letter at the post in the port of arrival. A fee was paid to the captains for prompt handling of the letters they carried.
In some harbours special handstamps were made to stamp the letters. In English harbours those letters were marked with cachets showing port of arrival and the words "ship letter" or "LRE".
In The Netherlands letters from the West Indies were stamped with the "GWC"-postmark on arrival from 1718 till 1747. A "VOC"-postmark was used on despatch for letters sent by ship to Asia from 1789 till 1805. The "VOC"-mark was used at the offices in Amsterdam, Middelburg, Delft, Rotterdam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen.
The name on the bottom of the stamp of an artist, engraver or printer is called signature.
John Dickinson in Nash Mills (England) manufactured paper in which silk threads were woven. This security paper was used for stamps and envelopes in Great-Britain, Bavaria, Switzerland and some other countries.
The silk treads appear usually vertically in the stamps. Paper mixed with silk thread in the pulp gives the paper a mottled appearance and is easily spotted on the back. The production process was a secret, because these silk threads were meant to prevent forgery. Because perforating paper with silk threads is very difficult this paper was not used for stamps after the introduction of perforation.
Before you are going to soak stamps, sort the stamps by colour of the paper they are on.
Cut off all the extra paper around the stamps. Take a small bowl and fill it with warm water and add some salt to the water. Salt helps to maintain the original colour.
Take the stamps and place the stamps facing down onto the water so the water can soak the paper faster and peeling becomes easier.
Be careful when soaking old stamps (the ink might vanish) or self-adhesives (do not always come off easy). If you have a particularly nice letter with an interesting postmark or so, it is recommended to keep it as it is. In that case do not remove the stamp by soaking.
Be patient and wait till the stamps get loose from the mail paper. You easily damage your stamps if you are too hasty. After 30 minutes most of the stamps are soaked off. The soaking time depends on the gum used on the particular stamp. For older stamps you have to be more patient.
Always use a tweezer to hold the stamp. Carefully take the stamps out of the bowl and put the stamps on a non-stick paper and pressure it down with a book or something that is quite heavy so the stamps flatten nicely.
Now all you have to do is to wait till the stamps are dry.
A souvenir sheet is a small sheet of stamps with a special commemorative inscription or decorative border.
As distinct from sheets, stamps from souvenir sheets are not sold per stamp. In general you can buy complete souvenir sheets only.
A specialist is a collector who limits his collection to one or a few countries, or even one issue which he seeks in all its varieties. A thematic collector can be called a specialist too, when he limits his field of collecting.
The opposite of a specialist is a general collector.
Stamps overprinted with the word "specimen" are generally used on stamps distributed through the International Bureau of the Postal Union to postal administrations of all countries to show what stamps have been issued. In this manner the members of the U.P.U. are informed which stamps are valid in other countries.
Some countries use a similar term in their own language: "malli" (Finnish), "muestra" (Spanish), "Muster" (German), "saggio" (Italian), etc.
Stamps with "specimen" marks are applied on other occasions too, e.g. for stamps distributed with press releases. In France specimen stamps were issued to inform postal employees about new releases.
After collecting stamps a while you may consider to join a stamp club. Here you meet other people with that peculiar habit. You learn a lot from other collectors and you can trade stamps with them.
Joining a stamp club saves you a lot of time. There you learn the basics of stamp collecting.
Some clubs will give you free stamps, catalogues, or a stamp album. But most important is the fact that they will advice you how to collect. Usually you have to pay an annual membership, which allows you to attend their meetings and often you get periodically a copy of an interesting stamp-magazine too!
Stamp Act of 1765, British
In 1765 the Stamp Act passed the British Parliament. The aim of this act was to raise revenue in the American colonies. All legal documents, newspapers, contracts, pamphlets, playing cards and licenses had to carry a tax stamp.
The colonists were not happy. Violence broke out in the colonies and businessmen agreed to stop buying British goods. This conflict is considered one of the chief causes of the American Revolution.
This is a book with shallow pockets in which you can store stamps. In a stock-book you store stamps awaiting your attention.
The most suitable place for your collection is an album. A stock-book is a suitable place for your doublets. Never keep your stamps in a box! Use always materials designed for the job.
Storage of your collection
Every collector has to be concerned about the proper handling and storage of his collection. There are a couple of things that you can do to ensure that your stamps, postcards and souvenir sheets will last in good condition for many years.
Preservation starts at the moment you inspect a potential purchase. Do you see any signs of staining, mould or water damage? If you do so: do not buy!
When you buy check out the paper and colour of the stamp. If you see pollution of some kind then do not buy.
Simple rules for handling stamps:
- Use always your stamp tong in stead of your fingers.
- Store your stamps in a room where you don't smoke, drink or eat.
- Use products that are designed for stamp storage.
The enemy of your collection is water in the atmosphere. Depending on the kind of climate you live in, you may need to either increase or decrease humidity in the room where you store your collection. Take the time to go through your albums once every year even if you are not currently using them. This allows the stamps to air.
A strip consists of three or more stamps that have not been separated. Generally a strip is made up from stamps from the same row of a sheet, but this term is also used for stamps from a roll. Especially strips of classics can be very expensive, because only few survived.
A surcharge is an overprint that changes the denomination of a stamp from its original face value.
Surcharges are commonly used when many stamps are on stock when the postal rates are changed.
In the past surcharges were also used when a country had to deal with a long delivery time such as the Dutch colonies Surinam and Netherlands Indies. When a shortage of a certain value occurred other stamps were used "surcharged".