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Identifying Your Stamps

Stamps come in all shapes and sizes. They are issued by a lot of countries, some of which don't even exist anymore. This section will help you make sense of your stamps and make sure you are putting them in the right place.

2009 Harris US BNA/Stamp Catalog
H.E. Harris 2009 US/BNA Catalog

Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps - 35th Edition (2008)
Review of The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps

UltraOptix Lighted Wallet Lens Review
Review of UltraOptix Lighted LED Wallet Lens

UltraOptix Magnfier Loupe Review
Review of the UltraOptix Linen Tester Loupe

Complete Illustrated Guide to Stamps & Coins by Dr. James Mackay
A review of The Complete Illustrated Guide to Stamps & Coins by Dr. James Mackay

A thorough and detailed site for identifying U.S. stamps. It covers the years 1847-1970. It also has information for specific types of issues, and issues that have numerous varieties.

Former Soviet Union Issues
An online catalog of the latest issues from the nations of the former Soviet Union as well as Soviet issues. The stamps are organized by country and year. Individual entries are very detailed, including designer, perforations, size, sheet composition and Michel catalog number.

Israel Phliatelic Federation
An umbrella organization for stamps and stamp collecting in Israel. Offers a great deal of information on Israeli stamps, including online catalogs for stamps and cancellations.

ISWSC Stamp Identifier
A very thorough listing of text, overprints and symbols found on stamps and the countries to which those stamps belong.

Stamp Forgery Identifier
A nice site for separating actual stamps from illegal copies. Organizes things by country and year.

Avoid Cachet Confusion When Buying First Day Covers
Covers from earlier days, especially the 30s through the WWII era can sometimes fool collectors into thinking they are first day covers. It is important to know the difference between event covers and first day covers. It often comes down to the cachet.

A Brief History of U.S. Space Stamps
The United States has issued a great variety of space stamps and related philatelic items over the years, giving good support to NASA's space program as well as exciting collectibles for the space stamp topical collector.

Understanding Philatelic Research
Philatelic research is important to fully know your stamps and covers, as well as being able to present them in a way that allows a viewer to appreciate their meaning. There are many levels of research, from using the basic catalogs, to going to specialty publications and prime sources to allow the collector to put their philatelic items into...

Solving Stamp Mysteries
What to do when you find a stamp that isn't listed in any catalog.

Enjoyment of Stamp Collecting Has Scientific Foundation
While you identify with your philatelic pursuits through your stamps, the foundation of the hobby may be more scientific than you think.

Overprinted Stamps Reflect History's March
Overprints are put on stamps for a number of reasons, from changing denomination, to making money for charity

Commemorative Stamp or Propaganda Label?
Some stamps from the past seem to be more about advertising than commemorating events.

Stamps with Expiration Dates Not a Science Fiction Story
Stamps collectors must face the changing face of future stamps.

Ephemera Labels Are Not Stamps
Ephemera can be added to a collection to add interest and meaning to a collection of stamps.

Unrecognized Smithsonian Balloonist Cover Brings Spirited eBay Bidding
The seller didn't know that the rather ordinary Smithsonian cover was tied into major personalities and events of the Civil War. But two bidders did.

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