Definitions

stamps across

Postage stamp booklet

A postage stamp booklet is a set of one or more small panes of postage stamps, usually totalling about 10–20 stamps, folded over and placed in a cardboard cover. Smaller and easier to handle than a whole sheet of stamps, in many countries booklets have become a favored way to purchase stamps.

Booklets of telegraph stamps are known to have been issued by the California State Telegraph Company in 1870, and by Western Union in 1871, and on 14 October 1884 an A.W. Cooke of Boston received Patent 306,674 from the United States Patent Office for the idea of putting postage stamps into booklets.

However, Luxembourg was the first country to issue booklets, in 1895, followed by Sweden in 1898. The idea became popular, and spread worldwide shortly in the first part of the 20th century.

Originally booklets were produced manually, by separating sheets into smaller panes and binding those. These are not distinguishable from the sheet stamps. Later, the popularity of booklets meant that it was worthwhile to produce booklet panes directly; printing onto large sheets, then cutting into booklet panes each with a small number of stamps, and perforating between the stamps of each pane. These kinds of stamps usually have 1, 2, or 3 straight edges, although some booklet panes have been printed 3 stamps across, and the middle stamps will have perforations all around.

Some countries, such as Sweden, routinely issue a single stamp design in coils, booklets, and sheets. The complete stamp collection will contain examples of each of these. Some collectors specialize in collecting the booklets themselves, or whole panes from a booklet; these often sell at a premium over the equivalent number of stamps. The oldest types of booklets were not much noticed at the time, nearly all used for postage, and intact booklets are quite rare today.

See also: miniature sheet

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