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Notes / Abbreviations / Philatelic Terms

Notes:

  • All covers are unaddressed unless otherwise noted
  • The size of a cover will be noted if it is other than a U.S. regular size:
    1. A U.S. regular size is commonly called a #6 envelope and it measures approximately 6-1/2 x 3-3/4 inches.
    2. A U.S. business size is commonly called a #10 size envelope and it measures approximately 9-1/2 x 4-1/8 inches.
    3. European size covers are the size commonly collected in other parts of the world and it measures approximately 6-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches.

Common List Abbreviations:

The abbreviations listed below are common to most lists. Additional abbreviations may be defined on individual cover lists

ABRES Advanced Ballistic Reentry Studies
AE Air Envelope
ADD Address
AIR Airmail
AP Apollo
AU Autograph
FDC First Day Cover
FDoI First Day of Issue
FMF Name of a cachet (Abbreviation for Fort Myers, Fla.)
HC Hand Cancel
JJF Joseph J. Frasketi
LA Label Address
M Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of FDCs
MC Machine Cancel
NC No Cachet
NIM Not in Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of FDCs
OFF Official
PC Postal Card
PICT Pictorial Cancel
PRC Printed Cachet
RSA Rubber Stamp Address
RSC Rubber Stamp Cachet
SS Secret Satellite
TA Typed Address
TLA Typed Label Address
USPS U.S. Postal Service
VIP Very Important Person
W/ With

Standard Cancel Location Abbreviations
  • The CANCEL LOC (location) column gives a quick look abbreviation of the cancel on the cover (see the abbreviations listed below). If the cover has two or more cancels on it one of these abbreviations will appear in the CANCEL LOC column:
    • DBL = Double cancelled cover
    • TRP = Triple cancelled cover
    • MTL = Multiple cancelled cover
    and the cancels will be described in the descriptive text.
  • If a set of covers is offered as one item, the following abbreviation will appear in the CANCEL LOC column:
    • SET = Set of two or more covers.
    and all the covers will be described in the descriptive text.
B Barstow, California (location of the Goldstone Tracking Station)
C Cape Canaveral, Florida
CB Cocoa Beach, Florida
DC District of Columbia - Washington DC
E Edwards Air Force Base, California
EG Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
F Foreign cancelled cover
GB Greenbelt Maryland (location of the Goddard Space Flight Center)
H Houston Texas (location of the Johnson Space Craft Center)
HL Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico
HN Hampton-Newport-News, Virginia
HU Hunstville, Alabama
K Kennedy Space Center, Florida
L Lompoc, California
M Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville Alabama
MF Moffett Field California (location of the Ames Research Center)
MI Merritt Island Florida
MV Mountain View California (location of the Ames Laboratory)
P Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
PA Pasadena California (location of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
PC Port Canaveral, Florida
PL Palestine, Texas (location of NCAR, National Center for Atmospheric Research)
SB Satellite Beach Florida (located near Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center Area)
T Astronaut Trail Station, Titusville, Florida (location in Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center Area)
UN United Nations, New York
V Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
WI Wallops Island, Virginia
WP Wapakoneta, Ohio
WS White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

Philatelic Terms:

The terms listed below are categorized as: General, Covers, Cancels, Cachets, Addresses, Envelopes, and Miscellaneous.

General... --------------------------------------------------
Cachetmaker A person who makes his/her own cachets for covers, either for his/her own collection or for sale to others.
Commemoratives Special issues honoring important people, places, or events
First Day The day on which a stamp is officially sold for the first time by the Post Office
Philatelist A person who enjoys collecting/studying stamps, covers, or other postal items
Covers... --------------------------------------------------
Combination Cover A cover which has more than one stamp affixed and together the stamps tell a more complete story about the events being commemorated.
Covers Another name for an envelope that has a special postmark (either First Day or Commemorative) that may also have a cachet. The envelope may or may not have been sent through the mail system.
Event Cover A cacheted cover prepared as a souvenir of a specific event or of an anniversary of an event.
First Day Cover An envelope with a new postage stamp and cancellation which shows the date and place where the stamp was first issued.
Hand Made Cover A cover which is made by hand, such as folding a sheet of paper to resemble an envelope.
Historical Cover An envelope that is cancelled with reference to an historical event (e.g., the inauguration of a new president). See also event cover
Inaugural Cover Generally a cover which is cancelled on the day a president is sworn into office. However, it can also refer to an inaugural flight of an aircraft.
Cancels... --------------------------------------------------
Bulls Eye Cancel A hand cancel that is comprised of just the circle marking that includes the city, state, zip, and date.
Cancel/Cancellation/
Postmark
The marks applied by postal authorities which may indicate one of the following: date, rate, route, or place of mailing.
Double Cancelled A cover that has two cancels on it.
Fancy Cancel A cancel which is a design or includes a design
First Day Of Issue Cancel A special cancel applied to stamps on the day of issue of the stamp. The cancel will read "First Day of Issue" in the bars of the cancel.
Hand Cancel A cancel applied individually by hand to a stamp or stamps or on an envelope
Local Cancel A cancel that is applied by someone other than a U.S. Postal Service employee. This term usually applies to local post items.
Machine Cancel A cancel applied by machine to the stamp on the envelope.
Multi Cancelled A cover that has more than two cancels on it.
Official Cancel A cancel at a location specified by the U.S. Postal Service where a new stamp is being issued.
Pictorial Cancel A cancel which contains a pictorial design
Plugged 9 Cancel A back dated hand cancel from Cape Canaveral, Florida that appears only on a certain dealer's covers. The 9 in the zip code in all the cancellations has the appearance of being filled up, so that the top part of the 9 is "plugged". These are not fake cancels. The dealer was allowed to use the U.S. Postal Service cancellation device to cancel his own covers and he changed the date of the device for the older dates that he wanted. However, since the 9 was plugged up, it appears on the covers he cancelled. A collector can tell which are the back dated covers by looking for the plugged 9 in the hand cancellation.
Postal Meter Cancel A cancel which is applied by a postal meter machine, which shows the location of the cancel, the date, and amount of postage to mail the particular item. The cancel is usually colored red and may or may not be illustrated or have a descriptive text.
Show Cancel A special cancel that is applied to covers at a stamp show or philatelic exhibition. The stamp show name will be indicated in the show cancel.
Unofficial Cancel A cancel at a different location from where a new stamp is being issued. It is also a term used for FDCs such that it is a different cancel from the first day of issue cancel, even though the city names are the same. (Many cities have different cancels available).
Cachets... --------------------------------------------------
Add-on Cachet A cachet design which is added to a cover which was originally not cacheted
All Purpose Cachet A cachet which contains a general design which can be used for many different stamp subjects or events.
Cachet A design found on a envelope and which describes an event or is related to the event.
Collage Cachet A design that is composed of gluing various different pieces of material together on the envelope. (Pieces such as photographs, maps, stamps, tickets, etc.)
Engraved Cachet A printed cachet which appears to have the design slightly raised above the surface of the envelope.
First Cachet The first cachet which is commercially produced by a cachetmaker for a First Day Cover.
Hand Colored/Painted Cachet A printed hand drawn or hand made cachet to which coloring or hand painting has been applied
Hand Drawn Cachet A cachet which is applied individually to a cover by hand with one of the following: pen, pencil, brush, or other art media
Hand Made Cachet An original, individually made cachet which is applied by hand to a cover by adding one of the following: seal, paste-up, collage, or like material.
Label Cachet A design that is printed on another piece of paper which is then attached to the envelope.
Marked Cachet A cachet that has an identification mark that tells who the cachet maker is. It can be a symbol, initials, trade name, or name of the cachet maker. Sometimes this information is on the back side of the cover.
Metallic Cachet A design printed on a thin sheet of metal that is then attached to the envelope.
Over All Cachet or All Over Cachet A design that covers all of the face of the envelope. The design may even be on the back of the envelope.
Photo Cachet A cachet which consists of a photograph (either in part or totally)
Pictorial Cachet A cachet that has a picture or drawing in it, as opposed to a text cachet.
Printed Cachet A cachet design that is produced by printing, using any one of many methods
Raised or Thermograph Cachet A design on an envelope that is made by first applying a rubber stamp impression, then it receives a resinous powder and then heated. The heated powder raises the rubber stamp impression and takes on a glossy appearance to the final design.
Rubber Stamped Cachet A design that is applied to the envelope with one or more rubber stamp devices.
Silk Cachet A cachet type with a pictorial design printed on a piece of fabric which has a silk-like finish
Text Cachet A cachet that is comprised of only words.
Unmarked Cachet or Unidentified Cachet A cachet that has no marking to identify who made it. Usually rubber stamp cachets are not marked. Many cachet makers have a particular style that can be identified as theirs even though it is unmarked.
Addresses --------------------------------------------------
Rubber Stamp Address An address that is applied to an envelope using a rubber stamp device.
Label Address An address that is on a label and the label is affixed to the envelope.
Pen Address An address on an envelope made by using a pen (ink, felt tip, etc.)
Pencil Address An address on an envelope made by using a pencil.
Typed Address An address that is typed onto the envelope.
Typed Label Address An address that is typed on a label and the label is affixed to the envelope.
Envelopes... --------------------------------------------------
Air Envelope An envelope that has airmail postage affixed and the envelope may be marked "airmail" or have an airmail border.
Airmail Border Envelope A red only or a red and blue series of markings printed around the border of an envelope which indicates it is an airmail envelope. The envelope may or may not be marked "Airmail".
Govt. Imprinted Envelope An envelope issued by the U.S. Postal Service whereby the postage stamp is printed directly on it. (This is one item of postal stationary.)
Imprinted Envelope An envelope that has a stamp applied to it either by printing or using a rubber stamp device. This term usually applies to local post items.
Miscellaneous... --------------------------------------------------
Cinderella A term that applies to all non-postal items that are collected: such as local stamps, bogus and phantom issues, Christmas seals, registration labels, Exhibition labels, coupons, Charity seals, savings stamps, advertisement labels, etc.
Descriptive/Illustrated Filler A filler/stuffer that has additional text about the event being commemorated. It may also be illustrated. Sometimes the filler/stuffer card can be a source of identification to the cachetmaker or where the cachet originated.
Embossing The process of impressing a design in relief into the paper of an envelope
Expertizing *
Filler/Stuffer A stiff piece of paper or cardboard which is inserted inside a cover and which helps prevent bending of the cover while in transit.
First Day of Use A term that is used mostly with local post stamps and cancellations. When a local post stamp is first issued, it might just be only issued at another city and not at the city where it originated. It would receive a first day of issue cancellation. Then when it is issued at the city of origination, it would receive a first day of use cancellation.
Local Post An independent mail system or service, not connected with the U.S. Postal System, for delivering mail. However a local post may work in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. Such a local post can issue its own local post stamps and have local post cancels. Today most local posts are philatelic in nature, but are a lot of fun if you have one.
Peelable label/Peelable address label A label that one can apply to an envelope. The label can easily be peeled off once the envelope comes back from where its been and thus the cover will then be unaddressed.
Ties/Tied/Tied On
Tied To
Refers to the link between a cancellation and the stamp. The cancel extends beyond the stamp and onto the cover, thus tying it to the cover.
Toning/Toned Toning is where the envelope is starting to turn a different color, usually brown. Toned is where the envelope has already turned colors. Usually toning occurs where the glue was on the envelope flap or at the seams, the old glue bleeds through the envelope causing a discoloration. If the envelope is a cheap grade of paper or is an old envelope all of the paper may discolor and this would also be toning/toned.
Notes / Abbreviations / Philatelic Terms


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