Indicia (philately)

A Bangladeshi meter stamp which includes the indicium portion at right.
An indicium from an 1894 Cuban postal card depicting Alfonso XIII at age 5
A handstamp indicium from German East Africa indicating prepayment of postage. A scarcity of postage stamps in WWI caused postal authorities to handstamp "Frankiert mit 7½ H" (plus a seal from the director of posts) on envelopes brought in by the public.

In philately, indicia are markings on a mail piece (as opposed to an adhesive stamp)[1] showing that postage has been prepaid by the sender. Indicia is the plural of the Latin word indicium, meaning distinguishing marks,[2] signs or identifying marks.[3] The term imprinted stamp is used more or less interchangeably,[1] but some indicia are not imprinted stamps (see illustration of handstamp, for example).

Forms of indicia

Indicia can take a number of forms, including printed designs or handstamps where a stamp would normally be that indicate the pre-payment of postage. Imprinted stamps on postal stationery are indicia.[4]

The term also refers to a meter stamp impression[4] or the part thereof that indicates the value or postal rate.[5]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Miller, Rick; The language of cover collecting in Refresher Course section".
  2. Room, Adrian., ed. The Cassell Dictionary of Word Histories. London: Cassell & Co., 1999, p.306.
  3. "Wunderly, Kathleen; Foreign words spice up stamp collecting in Refresher Course section".
  4. 1 2 Carlton, R. Scott. The International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Philately. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 1997, p.117. ISBN 0-87341-448-9.
  5. Mackay, James. Philatelic Terms Illustrated. 4th edition. London: Stanley Gibbons, 2003, p.71. ISBN 0-85259-557-3.

External links

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