Beginner’s Section

Philatelic Glossary

ADHESIVE: A postage stamp intended for affixing on letters and other mail.

AEROPHILATELY: The collecting, preservation, and study of airmail stamps. Catalog Designation: “C”

AIRMAILS: Stamps issued specifically for use on airmail letters.

AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY: Printed U.S. stamps from 1879 until 1894 as well as the Overrun Countries and other issues. Continue reading

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Owney the Postal Dog E-book

US #4547 Owney the Postal Dog

US #4547
Owney the Postal Dog

Chances are you’ve heard about Owney the Postal Dog.  Now you can enjoy the tale of the terrier mixed-breed dog with your young friends with this eBook from the National Postal Museum.


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Mystic’s Best-selling Album

Mystic’s Hingeless American Heirloom album was an instant hit… one that took more than two decades to create!  But the story of why it was created goes back over 50 years.  Here’s how a beginner was inspired to make the perfect stamp album…

You could say stamp collecting is in Don Sundman’s blood.  His dad was Maynard Sundman, who founded Littleton Stamp Company right after World War II.  Don began collecting as a child, with the encouragement of legends like his dad and H.E. Harris.

But as much as he loved collecting, Don was often frustrated with stamp albums – especially the post style that is so hard to work with.  Years later, as president of Mystic, Don decided he’d had enough.  It was time to design the ideal stamp album for himself and his customers.  Continue reading

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Stamp Collecting via the NPM


Produced by the National Postal Museum, this video stars Don Sundman and Bill Gross as they discuss their passion for collecting.

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How to Identify a Die Cut Perforation

Die-cut perforations are cut by a metal device to produce perforation-like wavy lines for separating stamps.  Self-adhesive stamps are die-cut.

Die Cut U.S. #4750

Die Cut U.S. #4750


Water activated stamps are not and have regular perforations that need to be physically torn to separate the stamps.

#299 is not die cut

#299 is not die cut

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Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • In the Central American countries of Bolivia and Paraguay, stamps actually provoked a war!  The conflict began when Bolivia issued a stamp claiming an undefined and long-disputed area of wilderness.  This stamp was simply a map with this territory’s possession clearly labeled.  Enraged by this bold claim, Paraguay countered by issuing a larger stamp, which even more clearly showed the territory and labeled-in Paraguay’s name.   Also on the stamp were the words, “Has been, is, and will be.”  Soon afterwards a vicious war over the territory began.  The war raged for many years with Paraguay eventually proving to be the victor.  Several stamps were then issued proudly proclaiming the territory as Paraguay’s.
  • The world’s longest-lived mail delivery system exists to this day in India.   Called the Dak or Dawk system, this organization can be traced back to Roman relay runners.   Dak runners carried the mail over long distances by inserting it in a stick, split down the middle.   A torch bearer helped guide the runners at night, and another ran along beating a drum to scare off dangerous animals.  Sometime during the seventeenth century, the job of carrying the torch and tom-tom were combined.  The East India Company ran the system while Britain controlled India.   During that time, postal inspectors were employed, and time keepers kept the runners on schedule.
  • The first recorded stamp collector was John Bourke, who served as Receiver-General of Stamp Duties in Ireland.
  • Dr. John Edward Gray of the British Museum became the first collector of adhesive stamps when he purchased a block of Penny Blacks on May 1, 1840.

Continue reading

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