Error Stamps

Written by Amy Hall
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Error stamps are stamps that deviate from the norm in some major way. These deviations are not intentional, but rather unintentional, and therefore they are considered errors. Errors can include missing or wrong colors, wrong watermarks, wrong paper, double impressions, missing perforations, misspelled information, the wrong facts, inverted centers on multicolor printing, and the like.

Generally speaking, error stamps have a problem with their production, as opposed to their design. Design errors can occur when the topic of a stamp is based upon incorrect information. One example of this is the 1994 Bill Pickett stamp, which was part of the Legends of the West series. The stamp was supposed to feature Bill Pickett, but instead pictured his brother Ben.

Error Stamps for Collecting

Inverts are another type of error stamp, and they have a portion of the design printed upside down. Inverts are probably the most familiar of all errors. There are also imperforate errors, which occur when no perforations exist between two stamps. Some stamps are purposefully made without perforations, so it can be difficult to tell if an imperforate stamp is genuinely an error.

Error stamps with colors missing are referred to as color-omitted error stamps. Typically, an error such as this occurs when one stage of the multi-run printing process is skipped. Again, today's stamps tend to be much more colorful and detailed, so it can be more challenging to spot a color-omitted error stamp than it was when stamps did not have as many vibrant colors.


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