The four printing methods most commonly used for the production of postage stamps are: Line-engraving (widely referred to as recess-printing); Typography (letterpress); Photogravure; and Lithography (nowadays more usually offset-litho). Since some issued have been printed by more than one process, it is useful for the collector to learn to distinguish them. In a line-engraved stamp the ink 'stands up' on the paper; the merest touch with the finger tips is usually enough to detect it. A photogravure stamp is also easy to distinguish; apart from the general impression it gives of a reproduction of a photograph, the fine screen of dots of which the design is composed can be clearly seen with the aid of a magnifier. A typographed stamp and lithographed stamp are less easy to tell apart, but in general the ink of a lithographed stamps lies extremely flat on the surface and lacks the 'bite' of typography. The latter is often evidenced by the impression of parts of the design, the lettering in particular, showing through on the back of the stamps.
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's EncyclopaediaPublished 1966Posted March 6, 2000
Index of 508 Notes from the Past
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