This glossary has been compiled from various different sources. Some of the terms have been reproduced with kind permission from the Stanley Gibbons Philatelic Terms Illustrated by James Mackay. If you think a term is missing please e-mail us.
Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (q.v).
High quality long lasting paper with a high rag content.
Railway Air Services
Airmail service operated by the Railway Companies in Great Britain during 1934.
Cancellations used to indicate handling on mail vans or travelling post offices and on trains.
Railway Company Stamps
Local or semi official stamps issued by railway companies mainly to denote fees payable in respect of parcels and in some cases letters.
Railway Letter & Parcel Stamps
Stamps produced by railway companies to prepay a special railway letter fee to speed up the handling of letters between railway stations.
Railway Letter Office
A post office which received mail from or delivered to a railway station.
Impressions of the Penny Black produced in a number of different colours during 1840. This was to test various combinations of coloured inks, papers and cancellations.
Rapid Cancelling Machine
An early stamp cancelling machine operated by electricity.
(French for radius). Used to denote the distance of a place from a central point in European postal tariffs.
When a die has been extensively retouched (q.v) it is normally termed re-cut.
The strengthening of worn parts of the surface of a printing plate.
Duplication of part of a line engraved stamp design due to a first impression having been inadequately erased after stamps have been printed and thus allowing traces of its entry to appear in conjunction with the new impression.
Readers Digest Coils
Multi value strips of stamps were produced by the British Post Office on behalf of Readers Digest to facilitate reply postage.
A parcel service operated by the British Post Office similar to Recorded Delivery (q.v).
Process where the design is engraved on the printing plate, the recesses thus formed are filled with ink.
Reconstruction of sheets or blocks of stamps from singles or multiples which can be identified as they vary in some degree throughout the sheet or block.
A service of Royal Mail where a receipt is obtained from the addressee introduced in the UK in 1961 but now known as "Recorded (Signed for)". For an additional fee items are computer tracked and scanned at the item's final destination.
Recorded Message Stamps
Stamps issued by Argentina in 1939 to prepay the fees on messages recorded on discs for transmission by post.
Red Cross Message Scheme
Used for the exchange of mail between persons living on opposing sides during WW2, operated out of Switzerland.