Random questions about stamps

FSFFSF Posts: 378 ✭✭✭

I don't know a whole lot about stamps so I'm going to just ask a few questions off the top of my head.

What does it mean when the term "thin" is used? And can it apply to a part or the entire stamp?

What is the significance of colored cancellations, red/blue/etc.? Does that make them better/rarer/more expensive?

Would it be fair to assume that a cancel mark encompassing a lot of the surface area is less desirable than one that is less obtrusive?

I get what a grill is. But what generally should one be aware about them?

Not sure if anyone can ballpark but what would it take to buy a complete set of used 19th century stamps, with the least or no varieties? Not exactly even sure what the question fully means in my mind.


  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 17,092 ✭✭✭✭✭
    1. A thin is an area on the stamp, usually the back, where the paper has been partially lifted off due to mishandling. Thins vary in size from pinhead size to the full stamp. They are a big negative and greatly reduce the value of the stamp. Avoid them.

    2. Colored cancellations can have many meanings. Some are commemorative in nature but most were just what a particular post office happened to be using at the time. Some add value to a stamp or cover but many do not. It just depends on the issue involved.

    3. Heavy cancels are a negative unless they are very neat "socked on the nose" cancels of cities/post offices that are of interest to specialist collectors. There is no general rule as to value. I would avoid stamps with heavy cancels.

    4. "Grill" stamps have often been faked. It is best to buy only authenticated copies or just avoid them.

    5. A complete collection of 19th century stamps would be expensive but I have no idea just how much. Don't pay much attention to catalog values. Check actual stamp auction results.

    The stamp market has been trending downward for a long time. Don't be generous when you are buying. Avoid damaged stamps. Damage in the stamp world is a "fault."

    All glory is fleeting.
  • FSFFSF Posts: 378 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the thorough response!

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