American Philatelic Society

Elements of a Stamp
  1. Name of country that issued the stamp: More than 260 nations from all around the world currently issue stamps. All countries include their name on a stamp issue, except for Great Britain which only uses a picture of the Queen’s head and no text.
  2. Denomination of the stamp: this number is the cost or “face value” of a stamp issue.
  3. Topic or subject of a stamp: the design on a stamp may be a number, a famous person, or it may honor an important event, animal, plant, rock, or any theme worthy of attention.
  4. Perforations of the stamp: these small holes around the edge of the stamp make it easy to tear stamps apart from a booklet, coil, or sheet.
  5. Cancellation of stamp: this mark is put on the stamp to show that it has been used and to prevent it from being used again. It may include wavy lines, straight lines, fancy shapes, mottos, or a simple pen mark.
  6. Color of stamp: this detail often is important for iden­tifying older stamps.
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