Imprimatur (philately)

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An imprimatur of the 1870 rose-red three halfpence stamp of Great Britain from Plate 3. In the collection of the British Postal Museum and Archive. 1870 rose-red three halfpence stamp, imprimatur of Plate 3 POST 14129.jpg
An imprimatur of the 1870 rose-red three halfpence stamp of Great Britain from Plate 3. In the collection of the British Postal Museum and Archive.

In philately the word imprimatur refers to the first stamps printed from an approved and finished printing plate. [1]

Philately Study of stamps and postal history and other related items

Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. It also refers to the collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other philatelic products. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting, which does not necessarily involve the study of stamps. It is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps. For instance, the stamps being studied may be very rare, or reside only in museums.

Postage stamp small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage

A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay postage, who then affix the stamp to the face or address-side of any item of mail—an envelope or other postal cover —that they wish to send. The item is then processed by the postal system, where a postmark or cancellation mark—in modern usage indicating date and point of origin of mailing—is applied to the stamp and its left and right sides to prevent its reuse. The item is then delivered to its addressee.

Offset printing printing technique where an inked image is transferred from plate to printing surface via a rubber blanket

Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. The modern "web" process feeds a large reel of paper through a large press machine in several parts, typically for several metres, which then prints continuously as the paper is fed through.

The term is particularly associated with British Victorian stamps as it was the practice of the printers to retain the first sheet as a record. [1]

The word is from the Latin "let it be printed". [2]

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Philatelic literature

Philatelic literature is written material relating to philately, primarily information about postage stamps and postal history.

In philately, gum is the substance applied to the back of a stamp to enable it to adhere to a letter or other mailed item. The term is generic, and applies both to traditional types such as gum arabic and to synthetic modern formulations. Gum is a matter of high importance in philately.

Penny Black worlds first adhesive postage stamp

The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was first issued in Great Britain on 1 May 1840, but was not valid for use until 6 May. It features a profile of Queen Victoria.

Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain

Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain surveys postal history from the United Kingdom and the postage stamps issued by that country and its various historical territories until the present day.

Denomination (postage stamp) face value of a stamp

In philately, the denomination is the "inscribed value of a stamp". For instance, if you visit the post office to buy a stamp to pay $1's worth of postage you will receive a stamp that has the value "$1" printed on it in words or numbers.

Indicia (philately) marking on a mail piece showing that postage has been prepaid

In philately, indicia are markings on a mail piece showing that postage has been prepaid by the sender. Indicia is the plural of the Latin word indicium, meaning distinguishing marks, signs or identifying marks. The term imprinted stamp is used more or less interchangeably, but some indicia are not imprinted stamps. One example is the handstamp, which can be seen in a photo on this page.

Royal Philatelic Society London philatelic society

The Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) is the oldest philatelic society in the world. It was founded on 10 April 1869 as The Philatelic Society, London. The society runs a postal museum, the Museum of Philatelic History, at its Devonshire Place headquarters in London.

Postage stamps of Ireland

The postage stamps of Ireland are issued by the postal operator of the independent Irish state. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when the world's first postage stamps were issued in 1840. These stamps, and all subsequent British issues, were used in Ireland until the new Irish Government assumed power in 1922. Beginning on 17 February 1922, existing British stamps were overprinted with Irish text to provide some definitives until separate Irish issues became available. Following the overprints, a regular series of definitive stamps was produced by the new Department of Posts and Telegraphs, using domestic designs. These definitives were issued on 6 December 1922; the first was a 2d stamp, depicting a map of Ireland. Since then new images, and additional values as needed, have produced of nine definitive series of different designs.

Robson Lowe British philatelist

John Harry Robson Lowe, Robbie to his friends, was an English professional philatelist, stamp dealer and stamp auctioneer.

Die proof (philately)

In philately a Die Proof is a printed image pulled directly from the master die for an engraved stamp.

Vignette (philately)

In philately, the vignette is the central part of a postage stamp design, such as, a monarch's head or a pictorial design, which often shades off gradually to the edges of the stamp.

Imprinted stamp stamp printed onto a piece of postal stationery

In philately, an imprinted stamp is a stamp printed onto a piece of postal stationery such as a stamped envelope, postal card, letter sheet, letter card, aerogram or wrapper. The printing may be flat upon the surface of the paper, or embossed with a raised relief. An imprinted stamp is also known as unadhesive stamp or indicium.

Cut-out (philately)

In philately a cut-out is an imprinted stamp cut from an item of postal stationery such as a postcard, letter sheet, aerogramme or wrapper and used as a normal stamp.

Railway stamp

In philately a railway stamp is a stamp issued to pay the cost of the conveyance of a letter or parcel by rail.

Postage stamps and postal history of Gibraltar

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Gibraltar.

Meter stamp impression made by a postage meter machine that indicates that postage has been paid

A meter stamp, or meter mark, is the impression made by a postage meter machine that indicates that postage has been paid on a letter or parcel. Meter stamps are widely used by businesses and organisations as they are more efficient than using postage stamps.

Postage stamps and postal history of Japan

The story of Japan's postal system with its postage stamps and related postal history goes back centuries. The country's first modern postal service got started in 1871, with mail professionally travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo as well as the latter city and Osaka. This took place in the midst of the rapid industrialization and social reorganization that the Meiji period symbolized in Japanese history. Given how the nation's railroad technology was in its infancy, Japan's growing postal system relied heavily on human-powered transport, including rickshaws, as well as horse-drawn methods of delivery. For example, while commemorating the 50th anniversary of Japan's postal service, the country's 1921 government released decorative postcards depicting intrepid horseback riders carrying the mail.

Postage stamps and postal history of the Niassa Company

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the Nyassa Company.

Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive

The Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive was deposited with the British Museum from the 1960s, though the first recorded deposit from the Crown Agents was in 1900. The archive consists of a range of philatelic and written material which were the Crown Agents' working records. It is the most comprehensive record of British Colonial and Commonwealth stamp issues of the last 100 years.


An underprint is anything printed underneath the main design of a stamp, banknote or similar item. Underprinting is used as a security measure to prevent forgery, or the cleaning of a postmark from a used stamp. The most common form of underprinting is burelage which takes the form of a faint pattern of lines or dots. Underprinting may also take the form of single or repeating words, for instance the word CUSTOMS at one time appeared underprinted on British revenue stamps.


  1. 1 2 Mackay, James. Philatelic Terms Illustrated, 4th edition, Stanley Gibbons, London, 2003, p.70. ISBN   0-85259-557-3.
  2. Patrick, Douglas & Mary. The Hodder Stamp Dictionary, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1973, p.115. ISBN   0-340-17183-9.