Not too long ago, I went to a local auction that had quite a few stamps for sale. There were some stamp collectors and dealers there talking about “changelings” and even an “album weed”. It made me think—what are some of the terms that you’ll run across when you collect stamps?
Album weed—this refers to a forged stamp, and it also refers to unusual items that resemble postage stamps but were not intended to pay postage. This is something like publicity labels and bogus issues.
Album Weeds—this is the title of a reference book series that is on forged stamps. It was written by R.B. Earee.
Changeling—this is a stamp whose color has been changed (either intentionally or unintentionally) by contact with a chemical. This can also happen with the exposure to a light.
Encased postage stamp—this is a stamp that was inserted into a small coin-size case. The case comes with a transparent front or back to see the stamp. These were circulated as legal coins during periods when coins were scarce in the 1860’s.
Handstamp—this is a cancellation or overprint that was applied by hand to either a cover or to a stamp.
Obliteration—there are two main definitions for this term. The first is a cancellation that was intended solely to deface a stamp (this is also called a killer). The second is an overprint intended to deface a portion of the design of a stamp (such as the face of a deposed ruler).
This is just a few of what you’ll hear when talking about stamps. What terms have you heard?