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ad4400ad4400 Posts: 2,026 ✭✭✭✭✭
In a prior post, a member pointed out that one of the drawbacks to using older commemoratives for postage is that the stamps are not tagged, which results in the mail being 'rejected' until it is manually verified, which can add to delivery time.

Can someone offer up an explanation of what tagging is, and when it started. Specifically, what year or demonitation (.08, .10, .13 cents) did this start. I have a mountain of these types of materials and need to know at what point I may start encountering problems by using these for postage (w/o adding some modern postage, which was mentioned as the easy work around).


  • I read the same thing and here's what the deal is. Don't worry about it. Seriously. I use every denomination from all different years. EVERY SINGLE letter that leaves my house has multiple stamps. Every single package...or anything needing extra postage, except registerred goes into the mail with gobs of stamps on it. And I MEAN GOBS! I'll cover the front, sides, and back if I need to. I get them in the same way. I've even written on the front stuff like "Additional 42 cents on back" Then I'll put the stamps across the seal seam!

    I just take the boxes etc to the P.O. and the lady weighs them and let's me know how much addtional postage to stick on. Here's the trick. All mail weighing more than 16 ozs has to be see by a clerk at the receiving P.O....meaning where you mail it from. After I have the proper postage affixed, she then puts a machine generated postage label for $0.00.......or any minor amount I don't have exact stamps for....and sticks that somewhere on the package. The ONLY time I had a problem is when she didn't stick one of those P.O. generated postage labels on. And of course she hand stamps all the stamps. I like to take a whole sheet and poke out the middle stamp. And that's where I write the address!

    Tags are the extension paper to a stamp that has a plate nr, blank, or a printers name on it.

  • Tagging refers to a phosphorescent substance applied to stamps starting with certain Liberty Series issues to the present. It can be viewed under UV light.
    Selvedge is the paper border that carries the plate #, or whatever.
    2000 Gallery PPI Registry Set
  • Thanks for the info 1977topps. Is the substance used for the tagging just a line or the whole stamp? I've never held a stamp under an UV light. Think I'll do it.

  • Sometimes its the entire stamp. There is also a block tag, in which a rectangular block is tagged within the stamp. I have also seen a "mottled" tag which looks random under UV light.
    2000 Gallery PPI Registry Set
  • Thanks for the info. I don't know why but I have called selvedge tags without ever thinking about it.

  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    > Can someone offer up an explanation of what tagging is

    From the _Official Stamp Collector's Bible_ by Stephen Datz:

    "Ultraviolet light is used to detect luminescent coatings on stamps. Since the late 1960's, the Postal Service has utilized a variety of luminescent coatings on stamps to trigger automated facing and canceling equipment. All current U.S. stamps, except those of small denomination, contain some form of luminescence, either in the paper or printed atop the design. This invisible coating, referred to by collectors as tagging, is visible under ultraviolet light. Untagged varieties of some issues are more valuable than their tagged counterparts. Ultraviolet light is also useful in detecting some kinds of tampering.

    Obtain a portable model that fluoresces both longwave and shortwave ultraviolet light. Savvy collectors favor the type used by gem and mineral collectors."

    Hope this helps image

  • ColinCMRColinCMR Posts: 1,482 ✭✭✭
    UncleWiggly what coin is that in your avatar??
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