Examples of Used Stamps

A stamp has been defaced on its face in some
manner, usually by a cancel as shown below

Typical cancel

A pen cancel. Look carefully at your
stamp, the pen cancel could be just a
trace of pale brown where someone
has attempted to remove the cancel
by washing the stamp.


Two examples of pre-canceled stamps, which also can be classified as used.
These are canceled at the post office before the stamp is applied to the envelope.
These were usually reserverd for bulk mailings.


This stamp has been perforated with holes, usually in
the patter of letters. These are called 'perfin' stamps
and are classified as used.


This is not a used stamp, it is an overprint
If it is says HAWAII 1778-1928 or
MOLLY PITCHER it is an overprint.


This stamp has a heavy cancel, sometimes called a 'killer' cancel
These are worth much less than stamps with cancels that
show the design clearly.


Although it is desirable to have a clear cancel
and often to have that cancel clear of the face
to have a cancel that is centered in the middle
of the stamp actualy increases the value of the
used stamp, although not by much. Such
cancels are called 'Socked on the Nose' (SON)


Fancy cancels are almost always created with a
cork which has been carved into a pattern.
Patterns that depict objects, animals, symbols
etc command much more than simple geomatric
patterns as shown above.


Steamboat cancels are rare and significantly enhance
the value of the stamp, it is usual to see only
part of the word STEAMBOAT.


Another factor that can increase the value of
a cancel is the fact that it is not black.
Blue cancels are so common that the
difference is very small, red cancels
usually indicate the mail was sent to
a foreign destination. It also makes a
small difference. Violet, magenta, green
and the very rare yellow cancel
add value to the stamp. Above
is shown a example of a green cancel.


Unlike the steamboat cancel the PAID
cancel only adds a little to the value
of the stamps, nevertheless it does
make a difference and its desirability
is greater than a regular cancel.