International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/Glossary, Abbreviations and Symbols

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Item description format[edit | edit source]


A1. Hasler "F88" (MV), 1956. [$5] Catalog number. Meter manufacturer and "model", (basic meter type), earliest known year. [catalog value]
Horizontal rectangular frank with panel at top, country name in top panel description
and meter no. at bottom center.
A. Meter number with “H” prefix sub-types
B. Meter number with “R” prefix
TM: DC, SC town mark types
V/F: 00.00 (A,O) 000.00 (O) value figure formats and (font styles)
a. Date only, without town mark circle or town name varieties
b. Printed in green rather than red

Below are explanations of the terms and symbols used in the listings.

Glossary[edit | edit source]

  • Bank: a wheel with numbers on the rim which is rotated to impress part of the postage amount on Multi Value meters
  • Denomination: the amount of postage shown by the Value Figures
  • Die: the solid print head of a non-digital meter.
  • Digital: a meter that uses thermal, laser or some other digital technology instead of a die to apply the Stamp
  • Fixed Value: a meter with Frame and Value Figure carved out of a single die. A Fixed Value meter can print either a single denomination stamp or has a small set of different denomination stamps.
  • Frame: that portion of the Frank surrounding the Value Figures
  • Frank: Noun: that portion of the Meter Stamp showing the Denomination and (nearly always) the country name. Often a currency indicator ($, b, ¥, etc.) is shown along with “POSTAGE PAID” or similar statement.
Verb: to apply a postage stamp to a piece of mail
  • Greater Border: a frame surrounding a large portion of the Impression often including the Frank, Town Mark and Slogan. This is a feature found on many early Italian stamps but is otherwise quite rare.
  • Identification Number: a meter identification number assigned by the postal authority
  • Impression: the entire imprint including the Stamp (Frank, Town/Date Mark), and, if present, Serial number, Slogan, Slug, Greater Border, etc.
  • Indicia/Indicium: same as Frank (noun)
  • Key Letter: same as Prefix
  • License Number: a number the postal authority assigns to the mailer (rather than to the meter)
  • Limited Value: a meter that has one Frame die with a slot into which several Denomination dies can be rotated
  • Mailing Machine: a device which processes outgoing mail. It can contain a feeding mechanism, an envelope sealer and a sorter as well as a postage meter.
  • Meter: for the purposes of this catalog, same as Postage Meter
  • Meter Number: an identification number assigned by the meter manufacturer
  • Meter Stamp: a postage stamp impressed by a Meter
  • Multi Value: a non-digital meter that can print any postage value within a specified range. The machine uses Banks of wheels with numbers on the rims that are rotated to make the correct postage value appear in the stamp.
  • Panel: An area within a frank bordered by an outer frame line on two or three sides and an inner frame line on the fourth side
  • Permit Number: same as License Number
  • Postage Meter: a machine that prints a postage stamp and maintains a record of the total amount of postage printed
  • Prefix: a character or characters (usually alphabetic) preceding a Meter Number, Identification Number or License/Permit Number
  • Relief Machine: a Postage Meter lent by the distributor or dealer to a customer while the customer’s machine is being serviced
  • Serial Number: a counter of Impressions or strikes made by the Meter, unrelated to the amount of postage used
  • Setting: same as Spacing
  • Slogan: a verbal or pictorial message of a non-postal nature printed by the meter. A slogan typically promotes a product or cause supported by the mailer.
  • Slug: similar to a Slogan but the message is for postal purposes. Examples are FIRST CLASS, BULK RATE, PARCEL POST, AIRMAIL, RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED.
  • Spacing: the distance between the Town Mark and the Frank. It is usually measured from the right edge of the Town Mark to the left edge of the Frank, but with some stamps, mostly from Francotyp A, B and C models, measurements are from the center of the date figures to the center of the Value Figures.
  • Stacked: a word or number with each letter or digit placed one above or below the other
  • Stamp: the Frank plus the Town/Date Mark
  • Tape: a Meter Stamp impressed on an adhesive paper strip meant to be affixed to a parcel or mail-piece that is too thick to be fed through a postage meter
  • Town/Date Mark: that portion of the Meter Stamp that contains the post office name where the meter is licensed and (usually) the date of mailing
  • Town Mark: same as Town/Date Mark
  • Value Box: a small rectangle immediately surrounding the Value Figures in some Franks
  • Value Figures: the numbers and symbols that make up the postage value
  • Vertical: a word or number reading up or down

Abbreviations[edit | edit source]

  • A: Angular font style (See under Value Figures in the Introduction)
  • BIC: circular town mark with Broken Inner Circle
  • C/V: Catalog Value
  • DC: Double Circle town mark
  • FV: Fixed Value meter, single denomination
  • FV-n: Fixed Value with ‘n’ number of different stamp dies. FV-5 indicates a fixed value meter that can print five different value stamps
  • G: Gothic font style (See under Value Figures in the Introduction)
  • ID number: Identification Number
  • L#: License number
  • LV-n: Limited Value meter with ‘n’ different postage values
  • M#: Meter number
  • MV: Multi-Value meter
  • NOR: circular town mark with No Outer Rim
  • O: Oval font style (See under Value Figures in the Introduction)
  • S#: Serial number (impression counter number)
  • SC: Single Circle town mark
  • SL: Straight Line town mark
  • TM: Town Mark, Town/date Mark
  • V/F: Value Figures

Symbols[edit | edit source]

These symbols are used to depict non-numeric elements in the Value Figures:

 : 4-point star
 : 5-point asterisk with arms pointing inward
 : solid 5-point star, arms pointing outward (can be thick or thin, upright or with vertical arm pointing down)
 : hollow 5-point star
 : 5-point starburst (sometimes appears to be a dot with five smaller dots around it)
 : solid 6-point star
 : 6-point star with horizontal and diagonal arms
 : 6-point star with vertical and diagonal arms
 : 8-point starburst
 : 12-point starburst
 : Maltese cross
≈ : double tilde
 : three stacked wavy lines (sometimes called a triad or triple tilde)
= : two stacked straight lines
 : three stacked straight lines
 : four stacked straight lines
 : solid diamond (sometimes appears as a large dot)
 : hollow diamond
 : solid circle
 : quartered solid circle (~ Phillips screw head)
 : split solid circle (~ slotted screw head)
 : outlined square