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.
Diagonal white lines which cross the outer corners of stamps printed from the reserve plates.
Half Tone Process
A photo mechanical method of representing light and shade by dots of varying size, extensively used for the reproduction of illustrations in newspapers and magazines.
Colour applied to a stamp by hand after printing.
Paper made by hand in moulds and thus in separate sheets instead of machine-made continuous rolls.
Implement used to apply a postmark by hand.
Handstruck Postage Stamps
Marks made by a handstamp direct on to postal packets to show pre-payment of postage.
A means of perforating whole sheets at a single stroke.
Name given to the reaper design stamps of Hungary.
Series of shading lines usually parallel and close together.
Clear plastic strip with adhesive backing used to hold mint stamps on an album page without wetting the gum.
One of a pair of plates used for printing key type designs. The head plate is used to print the portrait.
Stamps bearing a premium for combating disease.
Heathrow World Distribution Centre
Located at Langley (Bucks). Most mail leaving or entering the UK is processed here.
Method of printing from a gelatine base which holds a design in a special dye.
A chemical substance of the zinc sulphide group added to printing ink to facilitate electronic sorting of mail.
Mail carried by Helicopter.
French term for photogravure.
Date of production of postage stamps concealed somewhere in the design.
High Value Packets
Parcels of banknotes and security documents sent through the post on behalf of the clearing banks 1970-73, sometimes distinguished by red labels inscribed HVP (q.v.).
Highway Post Office
Motor vehicle used in USA to operate a postal service in rural areas.