Notes from the Past

Stamp Booklets

A stamp booklet is a small booklet containing one or more panes of stamps and sometimes may be obtained from a vending machine.  Stamp booklets should not be confused in the US with the small, privately produced folders containing loose stamps that are obtainable from vending machines in some stores.

Stamp booklets contain small, specially printed panes of stamps that are affixed inside a card cover either by stapling, stitching, or, more recently, by gluing the pane's tab to the cover.

When taken apart and mounted in a collection, booklets are said to be "exploded."  When this is done, all parts of the booklet are usually retained, even including the staples or thread.

When booklet panes are collected as separate items, they are considered more desirable when the tab is left attached.

The first stamp booklet is believed to have come from Luxembourg in 1895.  The US issued its first booklet in 1900.  The latter item came in three types, with 12, 24, or 48 two-cent stamps.  The production of booklets has resulted in many different and unusual sheet arrangements, including tête-bêche and se-tenant arrangements.  Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Israel, Turkey and Japan, among others, offer such arrangements.

In many cases, booklet panes are cut so that the stamps are imperforate on one or more sides, and some collectors like to "reconstruct" panes from used single stamps.

Canada has issued booklets containing strips of three stamps, with the end stamp imperf on three sides.  The other two stamps in such panes are imperf at top and bottom and are often confused with similar appearing coil stamps.  However, they may be identified by the gauge of their perforations.

The great majority of stamp booklets contain definitive stamps, but a few countries have released commemorative stamps in booklet form to accompany the usual sheet-format stamps.

Sweden has, for a long time, issued many commemorative stamps only in booklet format including several different designs se-tenant. 


- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume One A-F
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted November 12, 2000

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