Headings in orange can be clicked on to search for examples within the Zeboose superstore...


Tools used by stamp collectors like tongs, hinges, albums...

A gummed postage stamp or the gum itself

Postal stationery; specially stamped sheet designed to be a letter and envelope in one

Collecting that focuses on stamps relating to airmail

An un-inked impression

Holds stamps and covers

Stamps sent by a dealer to a collector for examination and either purchased or returned within a specified period


A postmark applied on the back of mail in transit to show date and time of receipt at a receiving post office

An unseparated group of stamps at least two stamps high and two stamps wide

A small folder containing stamps

Booklet Pane
A small sheet of stamps specially cut to be sold in booklets


A postmark; a mark placed on a stamp by a postal authority to show that it has been used

Cancelled to Order (CTO)
Stamps are cancelled to order (CTO) when they are overproduced and cancelled at the time of production or prior to sale, usually in full sheets, and not sold as postage but at a large discount to dealers

Catalogue Value
Valuation based on a stamp catalogue like Pierron’s, Stanley Gibbons, Scott or Michel

The position of the design on a stamp

A document usually signed by one or more experts recording the authenticity (or otherwise) of a stamp or other philatelic item

Any stamp-like label without official postal value or use

Stamps issued in rolls for use in dispensers or vending machines

Colour Shift
Occurs when colours are printed out of line with others. Shifts occur in any direction, with any number of colours and by almost any amount. The results range from subtle to spectacular

Stamps issued to celebrate anniversaries, important people, special events, or aspects of national culture

An envelope that has been sent through the mail

Cylinder Block
Block of stamps with printer cylinder numbers in the attached margin. Each cylinder number corresponds to a specific colour and usually appears in the colour it refers to. If a printer cylinder is replaced during printing, the cylinder number is usually changed as well


Dandy Roll
Wire roller which bears down on paper pulp resulting in watermarked paper

Regular postage stamps often sold over long periods of time and in various values to cater for all postal needs

The postage value appearing on a stamp

Die Cut
The scoring between self-adhesive stamps that allow stamps to be separated from one another

Double Transfer
Results in part or all of the design being printed twice during printing

Dry Print
Stamp or overprint deficient in ink


Any major repeating mistake in the production of a stamp. Printing errors include imperforate or part-perforate varieties, missing or incorrect colours, and inversion or doubling of part or all of the design  

The act of certifying or authenticating philatelic material


Face Value
The monetary value or denomination of a stamp

First Day Cover (FDC)
An envelope with stamps cancelled on the first day of issue

An abnormal, usually non-repetitive occurrence in the production of stamps. Most paper folds, over and under-inked stamps, and misperforations are freaks. Regularly occurring abnormalities are called varieties or major errors


Glue on the back of an unused stamp


Small strips of gummed material used by collectors to affix stamps to album pages


Stamps without perforations or rouletting between stamps. The earliest stamps were imperforate, but after about 1860, most stamps were perforated. Imperforate errors are usually collected in pairs (ie, two stamps paired horizontally or vertically) or greater as single stamps can be trimmed. All traces of perforations must be missing. A single indentation (known as a blind perforation) disqualifies the stamp as being an imperforate error

Imperforate Between
Stamps with perforations missing along one edge and a margin or another stamp

Proofs produced for approval and/or archival purposes. They're not intended for circulation and as such are usually imperforate, often without gum and sometimes differ in colour or design to the end product. In 1985 the National Postal Museum released a small number of imprimaturs via auction. A further tranche was released in 2013 by the British Postal Museum & Archive 

The earliest method used for printing postage stamps. Encompasses printing techniques in which the image is incised into a surface, known as the matrix or plate, and the incised line or area holds the ink

Any instance in which one portion of the design is inverted in relation to the rest


British stamps with a design based on a plaster cast profile of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin. Often used to refer to pre-decimal and decimal definitive stamps issued from June 1967 to date

Miniature Sheet
A stamp or block of stamps with a margin on all sides bearing some special wording or design

A stamp in its original state of issue; ie, unused and unmounted. Please note we use the following acronyms to describe the condition of mint stamps:

  • MNH – Mint Never Hinged
  • MLH – Mint Lightly Hinged
  • MMH – Mint Moderately Hinged
  • MHH – Mint Heavily Hinged

Describes stamps that have been badly cut so that parts of adjoining designs or marginal markings appear in the space usually occupied by one design. Most often associated with booklets

Poorly aligned perforations which result in unusual shaped stamps 

Missing Colour
Any stamp with one colour or more missing from the design. The results may be subtle or highly visual. Be wary of colour changelings. These are stamps faked to look like missing colour errors and are usually produced by chemical, sunlight or other means. Partial missing colour errors exist, but command less than complete missing colour errors

Multiple Impression
Doubling or greater of part or the whole of a stamp's design. A single colour, several colours or all colours may be affected


In strict printing terms this refers to a printing process that transfers an inked image from a plate to a roller. The roller than applies the ink to paper. However, in error collecting terms, it means the transfer of part or all of a stamp design from one sheet to the back of another before the ink has dried. Confusingly, the printing term, set off, is also used. Offsets or set offs usually appear on the gummed side and in reverse

Additional printing on a stamp which was not part of the original design


A full ‘sheet’ of stamps as sold by a post office. Typically several panes make up an uncut printers' sheet

Two unseparated stamps

Paper Join
The term used when a printer fixes (usually very crudely) a tear or other damage to paper prior to printing

Stamps with 'perforated initials'; pin-hole markings applied by businesses and governments for branding purposes to deter theft or misuse

Perforation Guage

A tool used to measure the number of perforations in two (2) centimeters

The lines of small holes cut out between rows of stamps making them easy to separate

Perforation Shift
Movement of perforations in any direction which causes the stamp design to be off centre

The collection and study of postage stamps and other postal materials

A photo-mechanical printing process

Stamps depicting an image or scenery

Plate Block
A block of stamps with the margin attached displaying the plate numbers used in printing. Similar to a cylinder block

Postage Due
A stamp issued to collect unpaid postage

Marks on envelopes or other mailing pieces showing the date and location of mailing

Printers' Waste
Misprinted, misperforated or misgummed stamps designated as waste. Such material should be destroyed, but occasionally finds its way to the market through carelessness and theft



The marking of stamps with a phosphor or similar coating for security and/or sorting purposes. Tagged stamps may be either fluorescent (glow under UV light), phosphorescent (have an afterglow when exposed to UV light), or both

Collection based on a theme rather than country

Tweezer-like tools with rounded or flattened tips for handling stamps


A stamp without hinge marks

Unmounted Mint
An unused stamp without hinge marks. See MNH

A stamp that has not been through the postal system; that is, uncancelled

A stamp that has been through the postal system and cancelled


A variation from the normal stamp. Anything other than a normal stamp can be considered a variety. For instance, imperforates, inverts, colour shifts, missing colours, perforation shifts... In short, freaks, flaws and errors are all varieties


Wants List
A list of philatelic material sought by a collector

An image or pattern in paper which appears as various shades of lightness/darkness due to thickness or density variations in the paper


The Stamp Store! Also the term for an extraordinary-looking beastie that's part Zebra and part Moose