27 Different Types of Stamps (Master List)

By | March 9, 2020
Types of Stamps
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Stamps have come in all different types, shapes, sizes, colors, and features. Stamp Collectors may specialize in one kind of stamp, or collect stamps from all sorts of categories. Not all stamps are alike, and they serve various purposes. The different types of stamps include:

  • “Regular Issues”
  • Commemorative
  • Airmail
  • Precancels
  • Perfins
  • Official
  • Postage Dues
  • Semi-Postal
  • Postal Tax
  • War Tax
  • Parcel Post
  • Registered Letter Stamps
  • Certified Mail Stamps
  • Special Delivery
  • Express Mail
  • Newspaper
  • Telegraph
  • Military
  • Revenue
  • Postal Fiscal
  • Provisional
  • “Forever Stamps”
  • Occupation
  • Local
  • Personalized
  1. “Regular Issues” are found on the majority of mail, and are released by postal admins for extended use. One of the most common regular issues in the United States is the stamp of the American Flag. Postal admins can release stamps of this category in the form of booklets or coiled rolls.
  2. Commemorative Stamps are released to honor and celebrate a person, place, thing, or event. These are often larger than standard issues.
  3. Airmail stamps were used to pay fees for transporting letters and packages. Airmail stamps are being phased out, but sometimes used internationally.
  4. Precancels are stamps showing, “Cancel,” prior to sale or use. These are used for bulk shipments and let the postal worker know there is no need to postmark them.
  5. Perfins are stamps that display initials or a design perforated into the vignette, or design area. These stamps are used by businesses and governments to prevent employees from taking them for personal use.
  6. Official stamps may display the words “OFFICIAL, SERVICE, O.S., or OHMS,” and are used by authorized government agencies.
  7. Postage Dues are used when the current postage is not sufficient enough. The receiver is required to pay the difference displayed on the due.
  8. Semi-Postal stamps carry an additional, voluntary fee that is collected and sent to a charity. Causes that have received donations via this stamp are prisoners of war, restorative efforts, famine relief, and the refugee fund.
  9. Postal Tax stamps are obligatory tax paid to send a letter or package.
  10. War Tax stamps allow post offices to collect revenue for government funds to pay the price of fighting in a war.
  11. Parcel Post stamps allow the sender to pay a decreased rate for specific packages. They are difficult to find. They were used in the early 1900s for a short duration of time.
  12. Registered Letter stamps ensure that a letter or package will be compensated for in the moment of loss or damage. Each letter stamp can be tracked and provides receipts for mailing and signature of the recipient upon delivery
  13. Certified Mail is similar to letter stamp but without compensation for loss or damage.
  14. Special Delivery stamps require immediate delivery of the letter or package.
  15. Express Mail stamps guarantee next day delivery.
  16. Newspaper stamps offered a reduced rate for news companies because of the benefits to commerce and development
  17. Telegraph stamps are prepaid fees for sending a telegram. In the United States, these services were privately owned and operated as opposed to being under the post office’s control.
  18.  Military stamps give personnel a reduced rate.
  19. Revenue stamps have no postal function but can be used for taxes from different sources, including deed registration, cashing bank checks, or stock-related actions.
  20. Postal Fiscal are like a cross between revenue and postage stamps. These pay for fees and taxes of other services like imported good tax and licensing fees.
  21. Provisional stamps were used as a temporary fix during a time of a postage rate increase. They do not have a denomination but were suitable for postage.
  22. “Forever” stamps cover the specified class of mail regardless of postal rate increases.
  23. Occupation stamps were created by reusing stamps of the occupied country or the country doing the occupying. A large portion of occupation stamps was provisional.
  24. Local stamps can be used in certain regions with limited postal service. The Wells Fargo Pony Express is a well-known example.
  25. Joint Issue stamps can honor a person, event, or interest. These are similar or identical stamps released by two or more postal admins on the same day or within days of each other.
  26. Key Plate stamps are the original joint issue stamps. The design was composed of a portrait of the reigning monarch, a blank tab for the name of the nation, and another empty section for the stamp value. These were created in excess for British colonies, where country name and denomination could be added later on by using “Duty plates.”
  27. Personalized stamps are created using a picture supplied by the consumer. These can only be made by one of the three approved companies in the United States. Only they have the right to produce and distribute them. They are sold at an increased rate.
The following is USPS pre-approved for custom stamp creation.
Create Custom Mail, Stamps, & Envelopes
Klug, Janet. (2008). What to Collect – Types of Stamps. Guide to Stamp Collecting (pp. 35-51). New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

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