|Extremely Fine (XF)|
The design of the stamp is perfectly or almost perfectly centered within the boundaries of the outer edge. The designs of very early perforated stamps are completely clear of the perforations and appear balanced. This grade commands a premium over the catalog price.
|Very Fine plus (VF+)|
The design may be slightly off-center on one side, but overall the stamp presents a very well-balanced appearance.
|Very Fine (VF)|
The design may be slightly off-center on one or two sides, overall appearance is still well-balanced. This is the condition assumed by most catalog pricing.
|Fine plus (F+)|
The design is noticeably off-center on one or two sides, overall appearance of this grade is acceptable to most collectors.
The design is noticeably off-center on two sides, design may be close to perforations on modern stamps or almost touching the perforations on very early issues.
The design touches the perforations on one or two sides, perfs cut into design a little on very early issues.
|Anything less than AVG is 'Fair'. If the perforations cut 20% or more into the design, it is a production error commonly referred to as a 'Freak'.|
The term 'SUPERB' is sometimes used to refer to an XF stamp while a 'GEM' usually refers to a stamp which is XF and has larger than normal margins and no faults.
At Eaglestamps.com, we frequently provide the centering grade of our stamps with XF representing the highest grade possible.
|CTO||Cancelled To Order (usually has original gum)|
|FDC||first day cover|
|LL, LR||lower left, right|
|LS, RS||left side, right side|
|LP||(joint) line pair|
|MNH||mint, never hinged|
|PB||plate number block|
|PNC3||plate number coil strip of 3 (also common in strips of 5, 8 and 9)|
|PNS||plate number single|
|UL, UR||upper left, right|
|UPU||Universal Postal Union|
|USPS||U. S. Postal Service|
|Microprinting||A security feature being incorporated into some U.S. stamps which may spawn a specialized topical collecting area. The offset screen printing process developed by Graphic Security Systems Corporation of Lake Worth, FL known as "user definable screen" printing was used to print at least four stamp issues.|
The first stamps printed using microprinting were the 29¢ American Wildflowers of 1992. More recently, the Florida statehood stamp of 1995, the 32¢ Padre F. Varela, the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and the Classic Movie Monsters issues contain microprinting.
For the Varela stamp, the letters USPS replace the dots in the image. You can only see the letters under a minimum of 10X magnification. On the Florida statehood stamp, the word FLORIDA is in the alligator's back.
|Postal cards||A "POSTCARD" is privately produced while "POSTAL CARDS" are government-produced.|
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