The Ultimate Guide To Philatelic Terms – Part Nine

Illustrative Example Guide of Philatelic Terms

Dear Readers,

How are you? I hope you have been enjoying the King of Hobbies in the quarantine zones around you. Picking up from where we left, this will be the final in the series of Guide of Philatelic Terms. I hope my efforts have been able to do the desired justice. My apologies for being a little sluggish in coming up with new posts regularly but I have been caught up with too many things (including the uplifting of front and backend of this digital property). So let’s not wait anymore. Get your reading hats on!!


Is the acronym for the French word “Taxe”. This was hand-stamped and indicated that the particular stamp was a “Postage Due”. While when used on a cover it meant that the due amount for postage has been charged.


This was a technique involving the printing of stamps using a luminescent paper or luminescent ink. The objective was to facilitate the process of automated mail processing where they can be recognized by ultraviolet light for smoothening the process sorting and subsequent cancellation. This also helps in the anti-counterfeiting of stamps. The fluorescent compound used for the purpose is called as Taggant.


These are the pointing tips as seen above in the picture found at the outer edge of a perforated stamp when it is removed from its pane or block.

Telegraph Stamps

These stamps were used as Prepaid instruments for sending telegraphs. The sender had to complete a form with payment to the clerk at the postal window before sending their telegraphic message. The clerk would then apply the stamp and subsequently, cancel proving that the payment has been made. These stamps are considered collectibles by many philatelists.

Telegraph Stamp Example. Guide Of Philatelic Terms


This is a French word meaning “Head to Tail”. It is a kind of an error involving a pair of joined stamps where one stamp is inverted and the other one is straight. These can be either horizontal or vertical.

Illustrative Example. Guide of Philatelic Terms.


This is a philatelic connotation with Greek origin. The meaning of the term is “Three Fold” in Greek. This pertains to the art world implying three panels hinged together in the context of three “Se-Tenant” Postage Stamps that form a part of the same design.

With this, we now move on to the next section of the Guide of Philatelic Terms.


Acronym for Universal Postal Union. This is an international organization that came into existence because of the “Treaty of Bern” in 1874. It is an entity of the United Nations that regulates the postal policies and the postal system among the member countries. At the time of signing the treaty 21 members were its members of which 19 were EU countries. After the foundation of the United Nations it became a specialized agency of UN in 1948. Today it has 192 members.


The term pertains to those stamps that have not been used for postal purposes and do not have a cancellation mark. The gum could be fully intact or partially intact. This term is interchangeably used with Mint quite often. One big differentiator between Mint and Unused is that Mint stamps retain their original pristine condition as they were at the time of printing.


In Philatelic parlance, the term refers to the central design of the stamp design where there are faces of famous personalities or a pictorial design that gradually fades off in the surrounding area of the border. In some of the cases the central vignette is printed separately from the frame and it can have a different color.

Vignette Example. Guide of Philatelic Terms.

Vending Machine Perforations

These are the perforations that have been applied by private players to imperforate stamps. These stamps were sold as coil stamps via vending machines. Some of the known players in this arena were the Attleboro Stamp Company, the Brinkerhoff Company, the Farwell Company, the International Vending Machine Co., the Mailometer Co., the Shermack Co., and the U.S. Automatic Vending Co.

We now will read about more terms in the rest of this section of the Guide of Philatelic Terms.

Water Activated Adhesive

The term is self-explanatory. These stamps were used before 1963. The gum used in these stamps was so designed that it had to be made wet with water before sticking it onto an envelope.

Wing Margins

These could be observed in the late 19th century British stamps. Specifically, these can be found in the watermarked garter series, watermarked emblem series, and the watermarked spray of rose series. On the surface printed, the sheets of stamps all have a wide gutter down the middle.  The center of the gutter is perforated vertically so that the sheets can be separated into smaller panes for sale to the public.  When these sheets are torn into panes, the horizontally perforated area of the stamps adjoining the gutter is about 5 mm wider than the other stamps in the pane.  These stamps are called “wing margin” stamps. These wing margin stamps are actually much scarcer than the normal-sized stamps in each pane.

War Emergency Rate

This was a type of tax that was introduced during the WW I in the United States to help pay for the war. These rates remained in force till July 1919.


This was a flat sheet of postal stationery having an imprinted stamp at one end. These were used to wrap around a Newspaper or Periodical for mailing to the respective subscribers.

Zemstvo Stamps

Zemstvo was a unit of local government during the reforms that started in 1861 known as the Emancipation Edict introduced by Alexander II. Hence a Zemstvo Stamp was a Russian local stamp used widely in rural areas since 1865. These stamps ceased to exist during the Russian revolution in 1917.

Zeppelins (Zepps)

These were issued in 1930. They were a set of three stamps commemorating Graf Zeppelin airship. This was a German passenger-carrying aircraft that used hydrogen gas. It operated from 1928 – 1937. These stamps were exclusively issued by the USPOD (United States Post Office Department) and were meant for the delivery of mail carried aboard that airplane. 93.5% of the revenue generated from the sales of these went the manufacturing company of these aircraft Zeppelin Airworks Germany. Because of the high cost of stamps and the great depression these stamps were discontinued and only 7% were sold. These are highly-priced and scarce to find making them a prized collectible.


Illustrative Example Zepps. Guide of Philatelic Terms

With this, we come to the conclusion of this series of Guide to Philatelic Terms explained. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed researching, writing, editing and publishing it. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Life. See you around next week.


Rohit Mittal

Self Taught Techie, Father to a budding philatelist son and a Global Business Professional Having Traveled across four continents. I have helped European and Indian Businesses to turn around and realize business objectives in 180 to 270 days. Reading & Writing is my second nature. I rekindled my childhood passion for stamps after forty years and love to collect European Pre 1960s MNH OG stamps majorly from France, Germany, and Italy.
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