Mint stamp

Mint stamp
This mint stamp of the 1918 Russian revolution era is much less commonly found used.
A mint high value 100 Rupee key type stamp of Ceylon valid for postage or revenue use and vulnerable to tampering to remove a fiscal cancel to make it appear to be a more valuable unused stamp.

In philately, a mint stamp is a stamp which is in its original state of issue, is unused, has never been mounted and has full gum, if issued with gum.[1][2] The term applies equally to postage stamps and revenue stamps.

Contents

Variations

Variations of the term mint include:

  • Mint hinged (MH) - the stamp is unused but has been previously hinged. Remains of the hinge or gum disturbance are visible.
  • Mounted mint (MM) - the same as Mint hinged.
  • Mint no gum (MNG) - the stamp appears to be unused but has no gum. It might have been used but not cancelled, or have been issued without gum.
  • Unmounted mint (UM) - the stamp is unused and has never been mounted.
  • Mint never hinged (MNH) - the same as unmounted mint but with an assertion that the stamp is not a formerly mounted stamp that has been tampered with to remove traces of mounting.

The hinging referred to in these terms is mounting of the stamp in a stamp album by the application of a stamp hinge to the back of the stamp. The highest grade is unmounted mint or mint never hinged. The term mint never hinged has developed to provide reassurance to buyers that the stamp has not been tampered with to remove traces of mounting, as the term unmounted mint was thought to be ambiguous. Strictly speaking, however, both UM and MNH have the same meaning.

Value

Mint stamps are often more valuable than used stamps as in many cases fewer mint stamps survive. A mint stamp may also be in better condition than a used stamp which has passed through the mail. Sometimes, however, used stamps may be more valuable than mint ones where higher numbers of mint stamps have survived, perhaps because large numbers of mint stamps were bought by collectors but few used on letters.

Tampering

Differences between mint and used values for the same stamp has led to a small industry in removing, or adding, postal cancellations to stamps. Another common practice is to attempt to remove fiscal cancellations, which are often pen cancels, in order to change a stamp used fiscally (for tax purposes) to one apparently unused. Stamps available for both postage and revenue (fiscal) purposes are usually worth more unused or with a postal cancellation.

See also

References

  1. ^ Mackay, James. Stamp Collecting: Philatelic Terms Illustrated. 4th edition. London: Stanley Gibbons, 2003, p.88. ISBN 0852595573
  2. ^ Youngblood, Wayne L. All about Stamps. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 2000, p.109. ISBN 0873419634

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