Monday, July 27, 2009

"Female Versus Male" Stamps

Bob Allen of was interviewed on the Collectors Weekly website by Maribeth Keane.

They had a very long and interesting chat from the looks of it.

Bob and Maribeth talked about a number of things including the history of United States stamps, their design and production processes, regular issues and commemoratives, and special features such as perforations, watermarks and secret marks.

Bob was also asked what female vs. male stamps were.

Bob's response...
There was a little experiment done back in the late 1860s where they were trying to keep people from taking stamps off the envelope and reusing them. There were people that figured out a way to dissolve the cancellation ink and make the stamp look unused so it could be reused.

To keep people from doing that, they decided to emboss indentations into the stamps so the ink would be absorbed when they canceled them. They’re called grills. It’s like a waffle iron pressing into the stamp and creating an indentation. When viewed from the back of the stamp, if the grill points are up it is called a male grill and if they point down it’s considered female.

They were only used for about five or six years, and then they said, “No, this just isn’t working.” That’s pretty much the way a lot of things were done with stamps. They would try something and then they’d say, “No, this isn’t working. Let’s try this.” Or somebody would come up with a better way, so they’d discontinue it.

Shown above, a stamp with a grill.
Click here to read the entire article.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM