Legend of Common Philatelic Terms Used in EzStamp

Some of the most commonly used terms in Philately (the study of stamp collecting) are used in EzStamp and are explained below.

• Most Common Grade Designations

VG Very Good
F Fine
VF Very Fine
XF Extra Fine
An excellent grading guide is provided by PSE

• PLATE BLOCKS: refers to a block of 4 or more stamps with a Plate or position # in the selvedge Click Here for Examples
UL   Upper Left Plate Block
UR   Upper Right Plate Block
LL   Lower Left Plate Block
LR   Lower Right Plate Block

• MH  Mint Hinged ( Mounted Mint )
MNH  Never Hinged ( Unmounted Mint ). The stamp has never been hinged and has the original gum as issued by the Post Office

• FDC   First Day Cover
PNC   Plate Number Coil is usually a US stamp with the # of the Printing plate at the bottom of COIL stamp. The plate # can be comprised of Letters & Numbers in Different colours. They can come as singles, strips of 3 or 5. Click Here for Example
PNB   Plate Number Block
FDC Cachet   A design of words & pictures which relates specifically to stamps on a FDC (First Day Cover).  Designs are usually found on the front, left side of the cover. They may be printed, rubber stamped, individually hand created, or pasted-on. The purpose of a cachet is to enhance the meaning and appearance of the cover. Many collectors seek  FDCs with various cachets by different artists.
S/S: Souvenir Sheet
Watermark: A watermark is an identifiable image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light (or when viewed by reflected light, atop a dark background), caused by a deliberate thinning of paper during its manufacture (wet pulp stage of manufacture) to produce a semi-translucent pattern thickness or density variations in the paper.  The purpose is largely to prevent forgery. Click Here for Example
CTO: CTO or Cancelled To Order are stamps that are machine cancelled but have not seen postal use & usually have full gum on the back. Many Warsaw Pact countries ( DDR, Poland, Russia as well as most Trucial States have issued CTO’s. CTO’s are sold to collectors by dealers who make stamp packets & many of the CTO issuing entities sell these stamps at huge discounts below face value. CTO’s are easily identified by the presence of gum on the back & by the presence of a sharp, well defined cancel on one of the corners of the stamp. Most CTO’s are worth a fraction of the value of postally used examples. Click Here for Example

Syncopated Perforations refer to the irregular shaped perforations as indicated in the examples below
Click Here for Examples
Loc’n Location
S.P.G. Stamps Per Grade Type (ie for PB, SPG = 4 )
Mint / Used Line Pair (Coils): a joined coil pair of stamps with an inked line between the two stamps
Click Here for Examples
COIL Stamp with Imperf margins at Top & Bottom OR Left & Right sides
Imperforate Stamps with NO perforations on all sides
Tagged Refers to the phosphorescent chemical printed on stamps to facilitate the automatic cancellation of stamps. The chemical glows under UV light
Click Here for Examples
Hairlines Very fine lines across the design of stamps caused by cracks in the printing plate
Overprint Any design element, text or numerals added on to a stamp thereby creating a new stamp. The overprinted stamp may have a different denomination & may even be intended for use a different country than the issuing country Click Here for Example
Precancel A postage stamp that has been cancelled before being affixed to mail. They are used for mass mailings only.and the general public cannot buy them or use them again on other mailings Click Here for Example
Se-Tenant French term meaning joined. Refers to two or more stamps still joined together but having different designs. Many se-tenant stamps are blocks of 4. Se-tenant blocks can also be PLATE BLOCKS.  Click Here for Examples
S/A Self Adhesive Postage Stamps
Topicals A branch of stamp collecting where collections are formed with stamps related to a single topic or theme, such as trains, airplanes, birds
Blind Perf: A perforation that does not show on the reverse side of the stamp or one that is still in place on the from side of the stamp. Click Here for Examples
B/P Booklet Pane
Graphite Lines These were used in British stamps during the 1950’s as an experiment to automate the sorting process of mail. Click Here for Examples
Grill  A grill on a postage stamp is a series of tiny pointed indentations/embossing designed to lightly break the paper fibers on a stamp to prevent reuse of the stamp. The idea was that when the ink from a cancel was applied to the stamp, the ink would penetrate and soak both sides of the stamp & make it difficult to remove  Click Here for Examples