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Stamp collecting

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Stamp lingo

Confused about any stamp terms? This section will explain the most common ones.

Many different terms are used when discussing stamps and stamp collecting. Some of the most common ones are explained below.

  • Commemorative

    A commemorative stamp is one that celebrates social or historical events of national importance.

  • Cover

    A cover is just another name for an envelope.

  • Definitive

    Definitive stamps have commonly used values (e.g. 70 cents), so they stay in circulation for a long time. These stamps are mostly used for posting standard letters.

  • Hinges

    Small pieces of paper gummed on both sides that are used for mounting stamps in an album.

  • Mint

    Mint stamps are stamps in perfect condition that have not been through the postal system and have not been postmarked.

  • Perforations

    The lines of small holes punched between stamps so that they can be torn apart easily.

  • Philately

    The study of everything relating to stamp collecting and postage (pronounced fil-at-a-lee).

  • Postmarks

    Postmarks are the official marks put on stamps to stop people re-using them. Postmarks also show when and where letters were posted.

  • Stamp catalogues

    Stamp catalogues show all the stamps ever produced by a particular country and also give their value, both in mint condition and postmarked.

  • Stamp dealers

    Stamp dealers buy and sell Australian and overseas stamps.

  • Stamp mounts

    These are used instead of hinges to attach stamps to album pages.

  • Used stamp

    These stamps have been postmarked while going through the mail.