Home Abbreviations

Addr : Addressed

Adhs : Adhesive Stamp

A.P.O. : Army Post Office

APS : American Philatelic Society
This refers to the largest stamp society and is based in State College Pennsylvania and the members will usually list their number and date that they joined the Society. This is used to show that they are members in good standing. Although, this information is only true if it has been verified.

B.A.P.O. : British Army Post Office

BC : British Colonies.
This refers to the stamps issued by the countries relating to the British Commonwealth.

B.F.P.O. : British Force Post Office

B.I.O.T. : British Indian Ocean Territories

BK4/BK6 : Block of four stamps or six stamps

BKLT : Booklet.This refers to a set of stamps sold together in booklet form in the local Post Office

BLOCK : This usually refers to a Block of 4 stamps

B.N.A. : British North America, Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, etc.

BOB : Back of Book
This refers to the stamps that you usually list at the back of your stamp album and includes, airmails, semi-postal issues, postage dues, revenues, cut-outs, special delivery, officials, registration stamps.

BP : Booklet Pane
This refers to the fact that the SELLER has a pane for sale, rather than a complete BOOKLET.

B/S : Back Stamp
This refers to the postal cancellation that was applied to the back of the envelope, usually by the postmaster at the receiving city, where the letter was sent.

B.T.B. : Believed to be
Abbreviation used by dealers and auction houses! Believed To Be: as described but cannot be guaranteed by the vendor as such.

C : Cover. This refers to an envelope

CANC : Cancellation. This is an abbreviation which refers to the type of postmark.

CAT : Catalogue

CC : Color Catalogue

CDS : Circular Date Stamp.
This refers to the cancellation, that it is round and that the cancellation has been applied, almost entirely on the stamp ( if it is alone) or if on cover, then it can be partially covering the stamp.

CERT : Certificate

CTO : Cancelled To Order.
This again refers to the cancellation and usually the stamp or cover has not gone through the POST, but rather has been cancelled, as a favor to the buyer and handed back to him across the counter at the Post Office. Also Eastern European countries as well as a few other countries are famous for CTO's. It should be noted that postally used copies from these countries command higher Catalogue Value, since some collectors shy away from these CTO stamps that never went through the POST.

CNR : Corner Piece

COMMEM : Commemorative issue

COMP : Complete

DEFIN : Definitive Issue

DOC : Document

D/C : Double circle Cancellation

EII : Queen Elizabeth II - This refers to stamps which carry that GB monarch and are issued by the BC.

EDVII : King Edward VII - This refers to stamps that carry that UK monarch.

EDVIII : King Edward VII- see above

ENV : Envelope

F : Fine. This refers to the condition of the stamp.

FACE : Face value. This refers to the postage value of the stamp(s).

FDC : First Day Cover.
This is a cover that was postmarked on the day that the stamp was issued. Very old FDC's command high prices, since very few are found. Nowadays, the Post Office creates FDC's and sells them at a premium.

FFC : First Flight Cover.
This refers to a cover that carries a special cachet and postmark and that the cover was carried on the first flight.

FU or F/USED : Fine Used.
This refers to stamps that have been postally used and carry a light cancellation.

GB : Great Britain. This refers usually to the stamps issued by Great Britain. (see also UK)

GU : Good Used.
This refers to stamps that are slightly worse that the FU stamps. This can be usually found on 19th Century stamps.

HH : Heavily Hinged.
This refers to unused stamps with original gum that are mint but which still carry a hinge on the back from when the stamp was previously mounted in a collector's stamp album.

HI VAL : High Value.
This refers to the SELLERS trying to inform you that the particular auction lot, does contain stamps that are not common and have a higher CV.

H/S : Hand stamp.
This refers to the cancellation, and indicates that rather than being postmarked by a machine postal cancellation, the postmark was applied by a person.

IMPERF : Imperforate. This refers to the stamp which has no perforations.

K : Thousand. This refers usually to the number of stamps or Rupees/Dollars in the auction lot, example: 5K = 5000 stamps or 5000 Rupees/Dollars.

KGV : King George V.
This refers to stamps which carry that monarch's portrait and are found on Commonwealth Stamps.

KGVI : King George VI. This refers to stamps which carries that monarch's portrait.

LH : Lightly Hinged. See note below under LM or VLH.

LM : Lightly Mounted. This is another way of saying that the stamp is Very Lightly Hinged and has no hinge attached. You can see where the hinge was previously applied, albeit lightly.

M : Mint.
This refers to a stamp that is unused with original gum, but one that has been hinged previously.

MNH : Mint not hinged.
This refers to the stamp and indicates that the stamp has never been hinged and is in Post Office pristine condition.

M/S : Miniature Sheet.
This refers to a Commemorative Issue which usually has extra selvage which shows the event that the issue commemorates. (see also S/S)

NG : No Gum. This refers to a stamp that is unused and does carry a postmark cancellation but it has no gum. That may have occurred when the stamp was removed from the envelope.

NH : Not Hinged. This refers to the stamp having its original gum and being without hinge trace.

NR/NO RES : No Reserve. On eBay this refers to the fact that the SELLER has not placed a hidden reserve and that if you bid at the starting price and you are the only bidder, then you will buy that item at that same starting price.

ODDS and ENDS : This is an abbreviation to tell you that this auction lot has various and possibly interesting items for sale. You will find a clearer explanation in the description of each particular auction lot. ( see also BOB).

OHMS : On His/Her Majesty's Service.
This refers to mail which was sent by the governments and can be found on OFFICIAL issues of Canada as overprints and perfins, but most Commonwealth Countries (BC) also had similar notations.

OG : Original Gum.
This refers to the fact that the stamp carries the gum that was applied when the stamps was originally printed.

OS : Official Service. This refers to the overprints and/or PERFINS that were applied to stamps that were used for official mail in Australia.

PB : Plate Block.
This refers to usually a block of 4 stamps from the corner of the stamp sheet and usually carries some kind of printer's notation. This is quite sought after by certain collectors.

PERF : Perforation. This refers to the perforation on the stamp.

PERFIN : The name is a contraction of perforated initials or perforated insignia.
This refers to stamps that have symbols/numbers/letters perforated through them. You will find them on older issues of Ceylon, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and United States. There are private and official perfins that can be collected.

PMK : Postmark

PTD : Printed

PUBLI : Published

POR : Price on request

POW : Prisoner of War

PPC : Picture Post Card

P.T.S.A. : Priced to Sell At.
A term used in auctions where stamps in a lot have been previously priced for retail or approval purposes.

QE : Queen Elizabeth

QV : Queen Victoria

REGD : Registered

SE : Straight Edge. This refers to the stamp that has one side with no perforations.

SNT : Se-tenant.
This (term ) abbreviation refers to two different value stamps which are issued side-by-side. In postally used condition, they are much rarer than if they were separated.

SG : Stanley Gibbons (Catalogue)
This refers to the Standard catalogue that is used in Great Britain and Commonwealth countries to value stamps. It is updated annually.

S/S : Souvenir Sheet. This refers to a commemorative issue with a great deal of selvage. See M/S

S.T.C. : Stated to Catalogue.
The term used by auctioneers for lots where the vendor has calculated the Catalogue value. The auctioneer does not bear any responsibility for this statement

STRIP : This abbreviation/notation refers to stamps that are attached in a row or column.

TPO : Travelling Post Office

U : Used. This denotes stamps that have been postally used.

UK : United Kingdom. This refers to stamps issued by Great Britain. See also GB.

U/M : Unmounted Mint. This refers to stamps that are MNH ( see above).

UNUSED : This is an abbreviation that refers to the fact that the stamp does not carry a cancellation but it may also refer to the fact that the stamp has no gum. (see above NG)

U.P.U. : Universal Postal Union
The UPU is an international organization of postal administrations, established in 1874 (and since 1949 a specialized agency of the United Nations Organization), which regulates international mail by establishing standards and procedures for such things as rates, accounting, and reimbursement. It is widely regarded as the most (some might say the only) successful effort at international cooperation, and is the reason you can drop a letter addressed to a foreign country into a mailbox with confidence it will reach its destination almost anywhere in the world! While its rules are not entirely mandatory, they are made with the implicit understanding that any nation that fails to obey them could have its foreign mails denied delivery.

USPS : United States Postal service. This refers to the postal authority that runs the POST in the USA.

VF : Very Fine. This refers to the SELLER's suggested grading for the stamp that he is selling.

VLH : Very Lightly Hinged. This refers to a mint stamp that was formerly hinged. see LM

WMK : Watermark

WWI : 1st World War

WWII : 2nd World War

XF : Extra Fine. This is used by the SELLER to state about the superb condition of the stamp.

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