Cut to shape
is a philatelic
term referring to a postage stamp or postal stationery stamp than has been cut to the shape of the design, such as an octagon, circle or oval, instead of simply cut into a square or rectangular shape
. Although stamps have most often been cut to shape by stamp collectors, some early stamps were cut to shape by the persons who affixed the stamp to the envelope. This is true, for example, for the octagon-shaped 4 Annas stamp of India issued in 1854, which is commonly found cut to shape on envelopes or pieces.
Earlier stamp collectors often cut stamps on postal stationery to shape, such as circles or ovals. Stamps cut to shape almost always have a lower value than those cut square, and sometimes have little or no value, especially envelope stamps cut to shape.
The "world's most famous stamp" -- the unique 1856 British Guiana 1c magenta -- is cut into an octagon shape and consequently has been referred to as being cut to shape, although technically that term is incorrect as the stamp was originally rectangular in shape.