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.
Stamps originally issued for use on telegrams.
A stamp which has been used to prepay postage.
The Postbus services operating in the UK since 1967 use distinctive tickets often with the value indicated by means of adhesive stamps (q.v).
A type of postal stationery comprising of small sheets of pasteboard or cardboard which can be sent by post usually at a lower rate that letters.
Postage stamps specially prepared for prepaying postage on postcards.
A group of numbers or a combination of letters and numbers devised to translate an address into a code which can be used for automatic sorting.
Postcode Address File
The Royal Mail database for all postcodes.
Posted on Board
Persons on board ship are entitled to send mail prepaid by means of stamps of the country in which the ship is registered.
Term used to describe labels, resembling miniature posters, often perforated to advertise tourist attractions, special events and company products, but with no postal validity.
Nickname for the definitive issues of Norway since 1872.
Marks applied in manuscript, handstamp or machine to mail to indicate the place and time of posting.
Issues made by postmasters usually during an emergency to prepay postage on local mail.
Type of postal stationery introduced in 1982 by British Post Office.
Pre Sorted Mail
Mail sent to the Post Office already sorted which attracts a reduced rate of postage.
Pre Stamp Cover
Covers dating from before the introduction of adhesive postage stamps.
A piece of mail posted before the advent of postage stamps.
Adhesive labels sold at hotels and shops in Spain and the Canary Islands for use on tourist mail.
Stamps issued by the post office with cancellations already applied. They are sold in quantity to business firms.
A philatelic souvenir containing a set of stamps and a description on folder.
A full uncut sheet of miniature sheets as originally printed.