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Stamp Errors Review: Part I

August 18, 2018

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Errors discussed in the review can make a stamp incredibly rare and valuable. Therefore, every collector or auctioneer willing to purchase items at online stamp auctions or some other events should be aware of those errors and know how to recognize them. In this article, you can find the most important factors affecting stamp price.

More in Part II


1. Design error.

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An example of a design error. Georgia so-called "Rotated Shield" error.

A mistake, which appeared during the design production phase. Such errors include misspelled inscription, wrong maps, missing letters and so on. Sometimes, even a wrong picture can be placed on a stamp; however, such occurrences are extremely rare (which means that such a stamp may be extremely valuable).

2. Denomination/value error. 

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Carphato-Ukraine stamp with wrong "200" value.

A mistake, which occurred during the printing process (wrongfully printed denomination). It includes cases when a stamp has a high-denomination value while it should be lower or the reverse.

3. Omission error.

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Russian Empire and two Wenden stamps with missing part of the picture.

 This a mistake in stamp design when part of it is missing. Most often missing a central part or background of a stamp.

4. Overprint error. 

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Russia, Germany and Ukraine stamps with various overprint errors.

An error, which occurred after the printing phase. As a rule, this error implies that an extra layer of text/design has been placed on a stamp.

5. Inverted overprint.

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Inverted overprints: Belgian Congo, France Legion set, Russia Fantasy "Denikin", Russian Levant and Local Rozniava stamps.

As it comes from the image above, this is a mistake when overprint (the name of a stamp) has been placed upside-down.

6. Missing overprint. 

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Russian Civil War period stamps with the missing value. This period is characterized by the greatest number of various errors and variations.

Often enough, stamps are accepted only when overprinted. When the overprint is missing, this is considered an error.

7. Wrong overprint. 

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Ukraine Mariupol issue. Overprint 35 kop from the right side placed on the wrong stamp.

When a stamp has an overprint intended for another stamp type.

8. Multiple impression / printing.

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Examples of multiple impression / printing.

This error is where part (or all of a stamp) is printed repeatedly. The fundamental difference between double impression and transfer is that in the second case, the old entry was only partially erased before the new one.

9. Invert printing error. 

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Examples of inverted printing.

When one or more elements of the design have been printed upside-down. Variations:

·        Inverted frame orientation

·        Inverted center (central piece)

10. Color error. 

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When a stamp has been printed in the wrong color. The “Treskilling Yellow” is one of the most famous examples of this error. You can read about it here.

11. Color shift error. 

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Examples of shifted colors.

When several colors on a stamp overlap, causing a color shift error.

12. Missing color error. 

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Well known error called "No Sky". 1947 USSR 30 Kop issue.

If one or several intended colors are missing. Some of the design elements may be omitted because of this error. This error type can be quite frequently met in contemporary pieces due to the use of multiple colors when producing stamps.

13. Watermark error. 

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Shifted watermark. 1858 Russia 10 Kop Perforated First issue.

When a watermark is missing or it is printed/shifted sideways. 

14. Imperforated varieties.

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Group of Russia (USSR) and Germany (Third Reich) imperforated stamps.

Imperforated stamps can be both errors or varieties of the perforated issue. The cost of such stamps is usually very high.

15. Perforation error.

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Group of Russian (USSR) and German (Third Reich) imperforated stamps.

When perforation (series of small holes or apertures) on one or several sides is missing. N.B. Perforation errors should be collected in pairs/blocks or sheets only.

16. Inverted watermark. 

When the watermarked paper was used upside-down.

N.B. Many of the Victorian era items may have inverted watermarks because there were no requirements in regards to orientation (which means that the inverted watermark will not affect stamp value).

17. Paper error. 

If a wrong paper type (wrong color/thickness/watermark) was used.

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stamp errors