This article is about stamps. For bookbinding, see Dos-à-dos binding.
Tête-bêche pairs of the Swiss "William Tell's son" design of 1910 are relatively common.
Tête-bêche layout required that the 1921 overprints of Switzerland were arranged to match.

In philately, tête-bêche (French for "head-to-tail", lit. "head-to-head") is a joined pair of stamps in which one is upside-down in relation to the other,[1] produced intentionally or accidentally. Like any pair of stamps, a pair of tête-bêches can be a vertical or a horizontal pair. In the case of a pair of triangular stamps, they cannot help but be linked "head-to-tail".

Mechanical errors during the process of production can result in tête-bêches. During the printing of stamps for booklets, the pages of stamps are usually printed in multiples from a larger printing plate. This can result in tête-bêche pairs. It is unusual for these pairs to find their way into the postal system, as they are cut into individual booklet pages before binding into the distributed booklet. A block of 24 5d Machin stamps, which should have been guillotined into four booklet pages, includes four tête-bêche pairs. This was sold in 1970, in the normal course of business, by the British Post Office and is exhibited by a member of the Royal Mail Stamp Advisory Committee.[2]

See also


  1. Room, Adrian. (2000) Cassell's Foreign Words and Phrases. London: Cassell & Co., p. 360. ISBN 0304350087
  2. Tony Walker exhibit page (retrieved 17 September 2006) Archived here.
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