This article is dedicated to my friend Mercedes from URUGUAY
TYPES OF POSTAGE STAMPS
A postage stamp - is a means of payment for mailing pieces. We differentiate between standard stamps and commemorative ones.
Standard stamps are published in bulk issues as a payment for mailing pieces.
Commemorative stamps are published in connection with various significant events. They feature portraits, cities, buildings and natural resources. They reflect the development of science and peculiarities of culture and household activities.
A souvenir sheet constitutes one or several postage stamps printed in several rows on a special sheet of paper and surrounded with wide margins. The souvenir sheets are usually published in connection with a certain event or anniversary. The margins feature a commemorative inscription and dates. Souvenir sheets may have numbers, and then they are called numbered sheets. A stamp pulled out of the souvenir sheet can be used to pay for a mailing piece.
Postage stamps and souvenir sheets are gummed. Gumming implies covering the reverse of stamps, souvenir sheets and tops of envelopes with a gum layer.
Sheetlets. It is very popular today to publish postage stamps in sheetlets, i.e. stamp sheets with few stamps on it (from 6 to 15).
The margins of a sheetlet are usually art designed, and feature various commemorative texts. The stamps in the sheetlets may be either perforated or not. When torn, the sheetlet loses its collector values.
There is no clear-cut differentiation between sheetlets and souvenir sheets. The main differences are in the number of stamps, their composition and the margins design. Perforation implies piercing the sheet with a perforator, so that the stamp can be easily removed.
A setenant. A sheet bearing stamps which differ in picture, text, nominal cost and color but similar in their subject is called a setenant.
Quartblocks. Some people prefer collecting stamps as quartblocks. Four stamps removed from the sheet but connected to each other (two stamps in the upper row and two – in the lower) are called a quartblock. There are the following types of quartblocks: a corner quartblock (removed from the corners of the sheet; margins on both sides), a quartblock with margins (removed from the outside row of the sheet, margins on one side only). Quartblocks are very popular collectible objects in some specialized collections. They help determine the type of perforation and show the inscriptions on the margins.
Pair and tete-beche. Two unseparated stamps are called a pair. A tete-beche pair is one with the stamps upside down in relation to each other. Tete-beche pairs occurred seldom in classical stamps, but today it is intended to produce them, especially in stamp sheets designed for booklets.
A stamp with a coupon look as two stamps of similar size, placed side by side either in the vertical or horizontal row of the sheet, but they bear different pictures, and there is no nominal cost on the coupon. A coupon separated from the stamp cannot be a means of payment for mails.
Stamps with the surprint. The surprint is a text or a picture added typographically to the already issued stamps and souvenir sheets. A stamp with a surprint is considered a new issue.
Some stamps are of particular value. They are called rarities. These are the stamps of the first issues, and also those of limited edition.