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Encyclopedia > Postage stamp
A selection of Hong Kong postage stamps

A postage stamp is evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. Usually a small paper rectangle that is attached to an envelope, the postage stamp signifies that the person sending the letter or package may have either fully, or perhaps partly, pre-paid for delivery. Using postage stamps is the most popular alternative to using a prepaid-postage envelope. Image File history File links Hkstampoffenvsmall. ... It has been suggested that first class mail be merged into this article or section. ... Front of an envelope mailed in the U.S. in 1906 contains postage stamp and address. ...



The Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp

Postage stamps were first introduced in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in May 1840 as part of the postal reforms promoted by Rowland Hill. With its introduction the postage fee was now to be paid by the sender and not the recipient as heretofore, though sending mail prepaid was not a requirement. The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, and two days later, the Two pence blue, with an engraving of the young Queen Victoria, were an immediate success though refinements, like perforations were instituted with later issues. Other countries followed suit by introducing their own postage stamps; the Canton of Zürich in Switzerland issued the Zurich 4 and 6 rappen and Brazil issued the Bull's Eyes stamps in the 1843. In 1845 some postmasters in the USA issued their own stamps but the first officially issued stamps came in 1847. A few other countries issued stamps in the late 1840s, but many more started in the 1850s and by the 1860s most countries of the world had issued postage stamps. The Penny Black. ... The Penny Black. ... The Penny Black, partially obscured by a red cancellation. ... Motto Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right)1 Anthem God Save the King/Queen Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Capital London Language(s) English2 Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1801–1820 George III  - 1820–1830 George IV  - 1830–1837 William IV  - 1837–1901... Rowland Hill Sir Rowland Hill KCB, FRS (December 3, 1795 - August 27, 1879) was a British teacher and social reformer. ... The Penny Black, partially obscured by a red cancellation. ... 2d blue postage stamp; this is an 1841 printing on pale blue paper. ... Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819–22 January 1901) was a Queen of the United Kingdom, reigning from 20 June 1837 until her death. ... This pair of coil stamps clearly shows the pattern of perforation holes; also, on the left side of the pair, the stamp was torn, while on the right the perforations were cut with scissors or knife. ... The Canton of Zürich (German: Kanton ) has a population of about 1. ... The Zurich 4 and 6 was the first postage stamp issued in continental Europe. ... In Switzerland, one-hundredth of one Swiss franc is called Rappen in German. ... The Bulls Eye (Portuguese Olho-de-boi) postage stamps were a set of three stamps issued by Brazil on 1 August 1843. ... If you are looking for different meanings of this word, see Postmaster (disambiguation) A postmaster is a term used in post offices to denote the head or master of the office. ...

Postage stamp design

Stamps have been issued in other shapes besides the usual square or rectangle, including circular, triangular and pentagonal. Sierra Leone and Tonga have issued self-adhesive stamps in the shape of fruit; Bhutan has issued a stamp with its national anthem on a playable record, etc. Stamps have also been made of materials other than paper, commonly embossed foil (sometimes of gold); Switzerland made a stamp partly out of lace and one out of wood; the United States produced one made of plastic, and the German Democratic Republic once issued a stamp made entirely of synthetic chemicals. In the Netherlands a stamp was issued made of silver foil. Self-adhesive stamps were first issued in such tropical climates as Sierra Leone and Tonga in an attempt to avoid the sticking-together tendencies traditional water-activated stamps had in humid conditions. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... GOLD refers to one of the following: GOLD (IEEE) is an IEEE program designed to garner more student members at the university level (Graduates of the Last Decade). ... Lace appliqué and bow at the bust-line of a nightgown. ... Trunks A tree trunk as found at the Veluwe, The Netherlands Wood is a solid material derived from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. ... GDR redirects here. ... A chemical substance is any material substance used in or obtained by a process in chemistry: A chemical compound is a substance consisting of two or more chemical elements that are chemically combined in fixed proportions. ...

Types of stamps

1897 Newfoundland postage stamp, the first in the world to feature mining
Stamp issued by France commemorating Carcassonne in 2000. This one uses an unusual panoramic format where the stamp is of normal height but is very wide.
  • Airmail - for payment of airmail service. While the word or words "airmail" or equivalent is usually printed on the stamp, Scott (the dominant U.S. cataloguing firm) has recognised as airmail stamps some U.S. stamps issued in denominations good for then-current international airmail rates, and showing the silhouette of an airplane. The other three major catalogs do not give any special status to airmail stamps.
  • ATM, stamps dispensed by automatic teller machines (ATMs)
  • carrier's stamp
  • certified mail stamp
  • coil stamps - tear-off stamps issued individually in a vending machine, or purchased in a roll that often comprise 100 stamps
  • commemorative stamp - a limited run of stamp designed to commemorate a particular event
  • computer vended postage - advanced secure postage that uses Information-Based Indicia (IBI) technology. IBI uses a 2-dimensional bar code (either Datamatrix or PDF417) to encode the Originating Address, Date of Mailing, Postage Amount, and a Digital signature to verify the stamp's authenticity.[1]
  • customised stamp - a stamp the picture or image in which can in some way be chosen by the purchaser, either by sending in a photograph or by use of the computer. Some of these are not truly stamps but are technically meter labels.
  • definitive - stamps issued mainly for the everyday payment of postage. They often have less appealing designs than commemoratives. The same design may be used for many years. Definitive stamps are often the same basic size. The use of the same design over an extended period of time often leads to many unintended varieties. This makes them far more interesting to philatelists than commemoratives.
  • express mail stamp / special delivery stamp
  • late fee stamp - issued to show payment of a fee to allow inclusion of a letter or package in the outgoing dispatch although it has been turned in after the cut-off time
  • local post stamps - used on mail in a local post; a postal service that operates only within a limited geographical area, typically a city or a single transportation route. Some local posts have been operated by governments, while others, known as private local posts, have been for-profit companies.
  • military stamp - stamps issued specifically for the use of members of a country's armed forces, usually using a special postal system
  • official mail stamp - issued for use solely by the government or a government agency or bureau
  • occupation stamp - a stamp issued for use by either an occupying army or by the occupying army or authorities for use by the civilian population
  • perforated stamps - while this term can be used to refer to the perforations around the edge of a stamp (used to divide the sheet into individual stamps) it is also a technical term for stamps that have additionally been perforated across the middle with letters or a distinctive pattern or monogram known as perfins. These modified stamps are usually purchased by large corporations to guard against theft by their employees.
  • personalised - allow user to add his own personalised picture or photograph
  • postage due - a stamp applied showing that the full amount of required postage has not been paid, and indicating the amount of shortage and penalties the recipient will have to pay. (Collectors and philatelists debate whether these should be called stamps, some saying that as they do not pre-pay postage they should be called "labels".) The United States Post Office Department issued "parcel post postage due" stamps.
    Spanish stamp depicting King Juan Carlos I
  • postal tax - a stamp indicating that a tax (above the regular postage rate) required for sending letters has been paid. This stamp is often mandatory on all mail issued on a particular day or for a few days only.
  • self-adhesive stamp - stamps not requiring licking or moisture to be applied to the back to stick. Self-sticking.
  • semi-postal / charity stamp - a stamp issued with an additional charge above the amount needed to pay postage, where the extra charge is used for charitable purposes such as the Red Cross. The usage of semi-postal stamps is entirely at the option of the purchaser. Countries (such as Belgium and Switzerland) that make extensive use of this form of charitable fund-raising design such stamps in a way that makes them more desirable for collectors.
  • test stamp - a label not valid for postage, used by postal authorities on sample mail to test various sorting and cancelling machines or machines that can detect the absence or presence of a stamp on an envelope. May also be known as "dummy" or "training" stamps.
  • war tax stamp - A variation on the postal tax stamp intended to defray the costs of war.
  • water-activated stamp - for many years "water-activated" stamps were the only kind so this term only entered into use with the advent of self-adhesive stamps. The adhesive or gum on the back of the stamp must be moistened (usually it is done by licking, thus the stamps are also known as "lick and stick") to affix it to the envelope or package.

1897 Mining Stamp of Newfoundland This image of a postage stamp has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... 1897 Mining Stamp of Newfoundland This image of a postage stamp has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... For other uses, see Newfoundland (disambiguation). ... Image File history File links Carcassonne_stamp_2000. ... Image File history File links Carcassonne_stamp_2000. ... Carcassonne (Carcassona in Occitan) is a fortified French town, in the Aude département of which it is the préfecture, in the former province of Languedoc. ... Airmail imprint on an envelope (Thailand) Airmail (or air mail) is mail that is transported by aircraft. ... A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. ... Covers of the 2002 edition featured art on stamps. ... This article does not adequately cite its references. ... An NCR Personas 85-Series interior, multi-function ATM in the USA An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine (ATM) is a computerised telecommunications device that provides a financial institutions customers a method of financial transactions in a public space without the need for a human clerk or... Certified Mail is a class of mail available from the United States Postal Service. ... A coil stamp is a type of postage stamp sold in strips one stamp wide. ... A vending machine is a machine that provides various snacks, beverages and other products to consumers. ... The Common Man featured in a commemorative golden postage stamp released by the Indian Postal Service on the 150th anniversary of the Times of India - 1988 A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp issued to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. ... Computerized postage is the use of electronic equipment to meter and pay postage. ... Barcode example, encoding Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Datamatrix (or Data Matrix) is a two-dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black and white square modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. ... PDF417 is a 2-dimensional barcode (also known as matrix code) used in a variety of applications, including Transport, Identification cards, and Inventory management. ... In cryptography, a digital signature or digital signature scheme is a type of asymmetric cryptography used to simulate the security properties of a signature in digital, rather than written, form. ... A definitive postage stamp is a regular issue stamp that is part of a definitive issue or definitive series consisting of a range of denominations sufficient to cover all postal rates usefully. ... In most postal systems Express mail refers to an accelerated delivery service for which the customer pays a surcharge and receives faster delivery. ... A local post is a mail service that operates only within a limited geographical area, typically a city or a single transportation route. ... The armed forces of a state are its government sponsored defense and fighting forces and organizations. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... In the context of postage stamps, perfin is a contraction of perforated initials. Organizations would use a perforator to create perforations forming letters or designs in postage stamps with the purpose of preventing pilferage. ... A personalised stamp is a postage stamp where a picture or photograph can be added to the stamp by a member of the public, some non-governmental entity, or a governmental entity that is not in an official stamp-issuing capacity; it is obviously to be distinguished from personalised rubber... Postage due is the term used for mail sent with insufficient postage. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Self-adhesive stamps were first issued in such tropical climates as Sierra Leone and Tonga in an attempt to avoid the sticking-together tendencies traditional water-activated stamps had in humid conditions. ... A German semi-postal of 1972, 60pf postage + 30pf surcharge A semi-postal stamp or semipostal stamp is a postage stamp issued to raise money for some purpose (such as a charitable cause) and thus sold over and above the cost of postage. ... The Anarchist Black Cross was originally called the Anarchist Red Cross. The band Redd Kross was originally called Red Cross. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... A test stamp, dummy stamp, or training stamp, is a label resembling a postage stamp that is used by postal authorities for testing equipment and/or training postal workers. ... A war tax stamp is a type of postage stamp added to an envelope in addition to regular postage. ...


Since their inception there have been numerous innovative developments in how stamps are dispensed and sold. Usually, they can be purchased over the counter or from vending machines at post-offices or selected retail outlets, as "books" or loose stamps. They are traditionally made as a perforated sheet which is gummed on the reverse, so that the purchaser may tear off each stamp, moisten it (frequently by licking), and apply it to the envelope, but self-adhesive stamps are now commonplace. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ...

IBI "stamps"

In the United States, the introduction of Information Based Indicia (IBI) technology has allowed newer ways to sell stamps. IBI is an encrypted 2-dimensional bar code that makes counterfeiting more difficult and easier to detect, offering value beyond postage. Unlike traditional postage meter indicia, each IBI is unique. The IBI contains security critical data elements as well as other information, such as point of origin and the sender. The IBI is human and machine-readable. Information Based Indicia refers to a system used by the United States Postal Service for labels or marks to be applied to the mail item to indicate electronic postage payment. ...

Prior to IBI being introduced, postage vault devices were used on personal computers to allow postage stamps to be printed from one's computer. The postage vault device is a tamper resistant postal security device to disable postage equipment when tampered with. The postage vault can be also identified as the means to store (and keep track of) monetary funds in the postage vault. You can think of this as prepaying for the right to print postage from your personal computer. The Internet is used to reset or replenish funds in the postage vault.

In March 2001, the United States Postal Service authorized Neopost Online and Northrop Grumman Corporation to test an innovative purchasing stamp system. This self-service stamp vending system allows the consumer to peruse through a variety of denominations and quantities, select the desired purchase and swipe his/her credit card to submit a purchase order. The stamp vending system then authorizes the purchase order, prints the stamp sheet(s) and finally dispenses them to the consumer. The ability to peruse, request, authorize, print, and dispense a stamp purchase using the Internet makes these the world's first browser-based stamps. This is the first instance where IBI was utilized on adhesive labels. The product from this self-service stamp vending system is aptly named by collectors as Neopost web-enabled stamps. These stamps were available from March 2001 through August 2003 and were denominated (fixed value) stamps. March 2001 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December March 3 - A U.S. Air Force Materials Command C-23 Sherpa transport crashes during stormy weather in the U.S. state of Georgia, killing 21. ... The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is an aerospace and defense conglomerate that is the result of a 1994 merger between Northrop and Grumman. ...

In 2002 the United States Postal Service authorized Stamps.com to issue NetStamps. The NetStamps utilizes IBI technology and can be printed from personal computers with postal vaults. In 2004 the United States Postal Service introduced the Automated Postal Centers (APC). These kiosk provided non-denominated ($0.01 to $99.99) stamps. The intent of the APC is to reduce labor required to service consumers at the postal counters. Recently, personal pictures have been paired with IBI technology to provide a personalized stamp for the consumer. These stamps are customed made and require a period of time (days) to produce. For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Screenshot from www. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The push towards using IBI technology aids the United States Postal Service in finding new venues to sell stamps. It also reduces the burden of maintaining the mechanical machines to sell stamps. The United States Postal Service still relies on cosigning stamps to retailers and banks (via automatic teller machines (ATMs). They must be the same size and thickness as currency in order to be dispensed by the ATM. Outdoor ATMs may be free-standing, like this kiosk, or built into the side of banks or other buildings An automatic teller machine, automated teller machine (ATM) or cash machine is an electronic device that allows a banks customers to make cash withdrawals and check their account balances without...

Similarly, Royal Mail in the United Kingdom has recently launched a "Print-your-own-postage" service allowing the general public to purchase IBI-style codes online, and print them onto address stickers or directly onto envelopes, in leu of using First Class postage stamps. This was much remarked-upon in the press as the first time a consumer "stamp" has not featured an image of the reigning monarch. It joins the existing "SmartStamp" subscription service, which performed the same function but which was aimed at business customers. Royal Mails logo Royal Mail is the national postal service of the United Kingdom. ... A monarch (see sovereignty) is a type of ruler or head of state. ...

First day covers

On the first day of issue a set of stamps can be purchased attached to an envelope which had been post-marked with a special commemorative post mark, or a normal post mark. These envelopes usually bear a commemorative picture of the subject the stamp is created for. First Day Cover for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, issued 22nd July 1981. ...

Souvenir or miniature sheets

Postage stamps are sometimes issued in souvenir sheets or miniature sheet containing just one or a small number of stamps. Souvenir sheets typically include additional artwork or information printed on the selvage (border surrounding the stamps). Sometimes the stamps make up part of a greater picture. For example, a picture of the Royal Family with the stamps bearing the faces. Additionally a set of stamps which may be identical to that on the sheet are sometimes part of the issu and were first made in 1902 This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Main article: Stamp collecting

Stamp collecting is a popular hobby, and stamps are often produced as collectibles. Some countries are known for producing stamps intended for collectors rather than postal use. This practice produces a significant portion of the countries' government revenues. This has been condoned by the collecting community for places such as Liechtenstein and Pitcairn Islands that have followed relatively conservative stamp issuing policies. Abuses of this policy, however, are generally condemned. Among the most notable abusers have been Nicholas F. Seebeck and the component states of the United Arab Emirates. Seebeck operated in the 1890s as an agent of Hamilton Bank Note Company when he approached several Latin American countries with an offer to produce their entire postage stamp needs for free. In return he would have the exclusive rights to market the remainders of the stamps to collectors. Each year a new issue of stamps was produced whose postal validity would expire at the end of the year; this assured Seebeck of a continuing supply of remainders. In the 1960s certain stamp printers such as the Barody Stamp Company arranged contracts to produce quantities of stamps for the separate Emirates and other countries. These abuses combined with the sparse population of the desert states earned them the reputation of being known as the "sand dune" countries. A small thematic collection of stamps featuring birds Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects, such as covers (envelopes or packages with stamps on them). ... A hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit. ... Nicholas Frederick Seebeck was born in Germany in 1857. ... The 1890s were sometimes referred to as the Mauve Decade, because William Henry Perkins aniline dye allowed the widespread use of that colour in fashion, and also as the Gay Nineties, under the then-current usage of the word gay which referred simply to merriment and frivolity, with no... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ...

The combination of hundreds of countries, each producing scores of different stamps each year has resulted in a total of some 400,000 different types in existence as of 2000. In recent years, the annual world output has averaged about 10,000 types each year.

Famous stamps

See also: List of notable postage stamps and List of postage stamps

This is a list of postage stamps that are especially notable in some way. ... This is a list of postage stamps that are especially notable in some way. ... The Penny Black, partially obscured by a red cancellation. ... A Mauritian Red Penny The Mauritius Post Office postage stamps are amongst the rarest and most valuable stamps in the world. ... The Treskilling yellow The Treskilling Yellow, or 3 skilling banco error of color, is a postage stamp of Sweden, and as of 2004 the most valuable stamp in the world. ... The inverted Jenny (or Jenny Invert) is a United States postage stamp of 1918 in which the image of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane in the center of the design was accidentally printed upside-down. ... The Inverted Head Four Annas of India is a famous stamp prized by collectors. ... British Guiana 1¢ magenta The British Guiana 1¢ magenta is among the rarest of all postage stamps. ... The Hawaiian Missionaries are the first postage stamps of the Kingdom of Hawaii. ... Basel Dove 1845 The Basel Dove is a notable stamp from Switzerland. ... Uganda Cowries - first stamps of Uganda, produced on typewriter ... Scinde Dawk was a very old postal system of runners that served the Indus Valley of Sindh, an area of present-day Pakistan. ... The Gronchi Rosa is a rare Italian postage stamp. ...

See also

This is a list of entities that have issued postage stamps at some point since 1840. ... Many nations have depicted ships on stamps, since ships have long been a means of transporting the mail over long distances. ... Since 1840, when the Penny Black featured a profile of Queen Victoria, it has been a tradition worldwide for nations to honor individuals on their postage stamps. ... Contents: Top - 0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A Abu Dhabi Aden Protectorate States, Seiyun Afghanistan Aitutaki Ajman Aland Albania Alderney Algeria Andorra (Fr. ... List of all (?) stamps with Bonsai // Angola 2000 A fraudulent set of stamps. ... This is a list fish on stamps broken up by country. ... ANGOLA 1912 1914 1921 LOURENÇO MARQUES 1911 MOZAMBIQUE COMPANY NYASSA COMPANY 1901 1903 Categories: Postage stamps ... This a list of philatelic bureaus across the world. ... An 1862 US 3-cent stamp used for proprietary articles A revenue stamp, tax stamp or fiscal stamp is a type of adhesive label used to collect taxes or fees on various items. ... the pony express was made in the year 1632 16639 - The General Court of Massachusetts designates the tavern of Richard Fairbanks in Boston as the official repository of overseas mail, making it the first postal establishment in the 13 colonies. ...

External links

  • Joseph Luft's Philatelic Resources on the Web (While this is one of the largest philatelic links web sites it has not been updated since January 2003, many links are broken.)
  • Stamp Collecting News — Provides updates on new stamp issues from around the world
  • Philatelic Dictionary
  • U.S. Postal rates through the years
  • History of postage stamps and collecting of stamps
  • American Philatelic Society
  • British North American Philatelic Society

  Results from FactBites:
Postage stamp (1490 words)
The adhesive postage stamp and the uniform postage rate was devised by James Chalmers[?] around 1834.
The first postage stamp was the Penny Black issued by the United Kingdom in 1840 with Queen Victoria on the stamp.
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