We have provided the philatelic terms on this page as a simplistic jargon buster. However, this barely scratches the surface. For a comprehensive listing of philatelic terms spread over 170 pages with useful illustrations we recommend our Philatelic Terms Illustrated publication.
click on a letter to see the terms beginning with that letter
A perforation which has not been punched out.
A group of four or more unseparated stamps.
A spurious, pretend stamp.
A small book containing 'panes' of stamps.
A leaf or page of stamps from a booklet.
A commemorative marking, usually applied by rubber stamp.
Any authorised defacing mark on a stamp.
The position of a stamp design within its perforations e.g. 'well centred' or 'off centre'.
Stamp paper coated with a chalky solution for security purposes. Attempted removal of the postmark damages the surface of the stamp.
One bearing a premium or surcharge for charitable purposes.
One from a roll of stamps used in vending machines.
A tab uniting two sections of a roll of stamps.
A stamp issued to mark a special anniversary or event.
A postally used envelope, letter-sheet or wrapper.
number Letters/numerals in sheet margins identifying printing cylinders. Normally collected in 'Cylinder block' of six stamps. (See also Plate number).
The denomination of a stamp, expressed on its face.
A genuine stamp doctored in some way to deceive collectors.
First Day Cover
A cover bearing stamps postmarked on their day of issue.
A fortuitous blemish on a stamp, a printing fault.
A fraudulent copy of a genuine postage stamp, overprint or postmark.
Stamp intended for use on birthday or other greetings mail.
on the back of adhesive stamps. Not 'glue'.
The narrow space between stamps in the sheet permitting perforation.
The blank margins dividing a sheet of stamps into panes.
Stamps printed and issued without perforations, deliberately or in error.
The name of the printer or issuing authority inscribed on the stamps or in the sheet margins.
Stamps other than adhesives, printed direct on postal stationery items (postcards, envelopes etc).
The central design ('vignette') or portion of a stamp printed upside-down in relation to the frame, or vice versa.
The name given to G.B. definitives, first issued in 1967 bearing the Queen's head designed by Arnold Machin.
The unprinted edging surrounding or dividing a sheet of stamps. See also 'Gutter margin'.
A small sheet of one or several stamps, usually with a decorative margins, issued as a souvenir for collectors.
A stamp in it's original pristine state, with full gum (if so issued), when it is said to have it's 'original gum' ('O.G') 'Unmounted mint' stamps have not been hinged. Also see 'Unused' .
Two unseparated stamps, joined as originally issued.
A formation or group of stamps within the sheet. Also see 'Booklet pane'.
Holes punched between stamps in sheets to enable easy separation.
Stamps overprinted or coated with phosphorescent materials recognised by high technology letter sorting machinery.
Letters/numerals in sheet margins identifying printing plates. (See also Cylinder number).
Any mark cancelling the stamp and recording an item's passage through the mails.
A trial impression taken from an original die or printing plate.
A stamp, usually overprinted or surcharged, issued for temporary use.
Stamps remaining in official stocks after becoming obsolete.
Stamps printed anew after being withdrawn. The printing of additional supplies of current stamps is best described as 'new printings'.
Stamps separated by a series of cuts instead of perforations.
Gummed stamps (with protective backing) which do not require moistening.
Stamps of different design or face value etc. joined together.
Sample stamp usually with 'specimen' overprinted or perforated on it.
Three or more stamps joined in a row.
An overprint which specifically changes a stamp's face value.