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Stamp Errors: A Quick Guide

August 12, 2018

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As a rule, most collectors hunt for individual stamps, which differ from their standard form because of a typographical or some other error. Stamp auctions at which error stamps are sold attract the greatest attention.

At this point, it is important to differentiate between errors and freaks. Error stamps are those stamps that were issued not as intended. It means they have evident (or minor) visual mistakes that have occurred during the printing process. Error stamps are rare and the rarer an error stamp is, the more it costs.

Freaks are a different category. They can have either minor or serious variations or imperfections. Such stamps cannot be used due to these defects (one-time errors). Freaks rarely increase the value of a stamp to a significant degree. 

Below is the full list of stamp errors:

• Design error

• Denomination error

• Omission error

• Overprint error

• Inverted overprint

• Missing overprint

• Wrong overprint

• Double impression

• Invert error

• Color error

• Color shift error

• Missing color error

• Watermark error

• Inverted watermark

• Paper error

• Imperforate error

• Imperforate between

• Horizontally imperforate

• Vertically imperforate

• Misperforation

• Tête-bêche error

• Blind perf error

• Offset error

• Over-inking

• Under-inking

• Ink smear

• Albino error

• Phosphor band error

• Gum error

• Miscut

• Unprinted areas

In one of our next articles, we will explain each of these errors in detail. So, stay tuned!