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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions



Q. Do I need to provide my customer number when I register.

A. No. Once you have registered your account the Philatelic Bureau are notified via email and will check your registration details to see if you are already an existing customer. If you are, they will link your customer number to your website account.

Q. I am an existing customer, why do I have to open an account on the website?

A. You only need to open an account on the website if you wish to purchase items from the website. Your existing philatelic customer account is not linked to a website account. Once registered online your philatelic account will then be linked to your web account.

Q. Can I purchase items on line?

A. Yes you can, but you will need to register with us (provide a name and address etc) before you can buy anything. When you check out with your shopping basket, the site will prompt you to register with us.

Q. Why do I have to log in?

A. You do not have to log in to browse the web site but you do need to log in to make a purchase. This is to ensure that we have your contact details for your order and to keep your ordering and payment details secure.

Q. Do I have to log out?

A. You are not required to log out to leave the site but we recommend that you do to protect the security of your details, especially if you share your computer or use an Internet cafe.

Q. I am having problems registering my username or have forgotten my password?

A. If you have registered once already you will need to log in as an existing customer only. You do not need to re-register.
If you have forgotten your password simply click on the 'Forgotten your password?' button to be sent a reminder of your password via email.
If you are registering for the first time, please ensure you type your password in exactly the same way each time to confirm it.
If your problem persists please contact us.

Q. What payment methods do you accept?

A. We accept Paypal, and Credit/Debit cards for website orders (Visa, Mastercard & American Express). Any telephone/email orders can be paid for by Paypal, Credit/Debit cards, Sterling Postal Orders, Sterling Cheques or cash.

Q. Can I set up a standing order online?

A. No but you can contact the Philatelic Bureau on 01481 726241 or email us to arrange this. You can also download our standing order form here, print it out, complete it and post it to us.

Q. How soon after I place my order will it arrive?

A. Please allow 7 working days for your items to arrive. You should allow up to 14 days after issue date for new issue items. If your item has not arrived after this time please contact the Philatelic Bureau on 01481 726241 or email us.

Q. How will you send my items out to me?

A. All our items are professionally packaged. Postage is set at £2.00 for stamps and is a flat rate for anywhere in the world. Davo and Lindner Albums are £8.00 to the UK and £11.00 for international. All other binders are £4 to the UK and £5.50 Internationally. You can also register your order for peace of mind for £7.00.

Q. I am ordering from the UK, do I pay VAT?

A. No, the Guernsey Philatelic Bureau covers all VAT charges when sending out your order.

Q. My items have arrived and are damaged. Can I return them?

A. Yes, but please inform us via email before sending them back to us.

Glossary of Terms

Adhesive

A stamp affixed to envelopes by means of gum on the reverse. Some stamps are printed directly onto postcards, envelopes or wrappers. See Postal Stationery.

Aerogrammes

Lightweight postal stationery, otherwise known as Air Letter Sheets, used for the economical transmission of letters by air.

Airmail Stamp

A stamp produced specifically for use on airmail letters/parcels although usually valid for postage on any mail.

Block of Stamps

Any multiple of unsevered stamps, other than a complete pane or sheet, which contains at least two parallel rows of stamps in any direction.

Booklet

Many post offices sell stamps in small books, either over the counter or from vending machines, or both. Booklets may contain definitive, commemorative or self-adhesive stamps.

Booklet Pane

A small "page" of stamps in a stamp booklet. The panes are sometimes made up of mixed-value stamps, popular with some collectors. Some panes contain a mix of stamps and non-postally valid labels advertising postal services or products.

Cachet

A printed, embossed or (usually) handstruck inscription or device impressed on a postal packet to denote the special circumstances in which it has been posted (usually an exhibition). The cachet may be official and applied by the Post Office or one of its overseas agents.

Cancellations

A mark applied to a stamp to prevent its re-use. Usually referred to as a Postmark.

Charity Stamp

A stamp sold at a premium over its face value, the premium supporting a worthwhile cause.

Cinderella Stamps

A term used to denote all manner of stamps and labels produced by official and private postal services, which are not mainstream postage stamps as listed in the main catalogues.

Coil Stamps

Stamps prepared in rolls or coils to be dispensed by shops or vending machines.

Commemorative Stamps

Stamps designed to commemorate current or historic events and personalities and nowadays on sale for only a limited period. A Guernsey Post commemorative issue is generally withdrawn one day less than a year after its issue.

Composite Stamps

Stamps in which the design is spread over two or more stamps.

Cylinder Blocks

Printed marks appear on the stamp margin (selvedge). Blocks of stamps with the marks printed on the selvedge are popular with collectors.

Datestamps

Implements for applying a date to postal matter. The term is also loosely used to denote the postmarks made by these instruments. Stamps affixed to envelopes may bear a postal cancellation but CTO (cancelled to order) items, ie mint or unaffixed stamps, will receive a Philatelic Bureau cancellation.

Definitives

The stamps in general use, often of small size and featuring a monarch or other national symbol. Usually on sale for at least five years.

Europa Stamps

Uniform designs of the Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications Authorities were used by the member countries until 1974, when it was decided that stamps should be issued in a common theme; the interpretation of which was left to individual countries. Guernsey's first Europa design was produced in 1976. These stamps incorporate the Europa logo of CEPT.

Error

A mistake in the design of a stamp, such as an incorrect spelling or inscription, or a mistake in the printing that results, perhaps, in a stamp with a missing colour or without perforations.

Face Value

The postal value expressed on a stamp, not to be confused with the value to a collector, based on stamp catalogue valuation.

First Day Cover

A cover bearing new stamps cancelled on the day of issue, normally with a special "First Day" postmark.

Greetings Stamp

A stamp specially designed for use on greetings mail, such as birthday cards, Valentine's Day mail, Get Well cards, etc. Some countries call them "Love Stamps".

Gutter

The gutter is the blank space, usually of stamp format, between the panes of a sheet of stamps. A gutter pair consists of two stamps separated by a stamp-sized piece of the gutter.

Handstamp

Strictly speaking, the implement used to apply a postmark by hand, but often used loosely to signify the postmark itself. Historically, some overprints were applied by means of handstamps.

Imprint

The name of the printer (or designer) in the margin of the stamp. Sometimes the imprint appears in the sheet margin instead of on each stamp.

Inscription

Any printed information on a stamp, usually giving the reason for issue.

Kiloware

Used stamps on paper collected and sold by weight.

Offset Lithography

The most common form of commercial printing. Its basic principle is that oil and water do not mix. A litho-printing plate has non-image areas that absorb water. During printing the plate is kept wet so that the ink, which is inherently greasy, is rejected by the wet areas and adheres to the image areas.

Margin

The paper bordering the stamps on a sheet, as well as the blank paper bordering the printed image on the stamps themselves.

Miniature Sheet

A small sheet containing one or more stamps with inscribed or decorated border. The full, intact sheet is valid for postal use, as are the stamps removed from it.

Non Value Indicator Stamps

Stamps bearing a symbol to show the class of postage they are valid for but without a specified face value. They sometimes remain valid for full postage after postal rates have increased.

Obsolete

Stamps no longer on regular sale at post offices, but usually still valid for postal use.

Overprint

An inscription printed on a stamp after manufacture, often to commemorate an event or anniversary or a stamp exhibition.

Photogravure

Otherwise known as photographic lithography, photogravure is a photographic image produced from an engraving plate. The process is not commonly used by small companies due to the costs involved, but it produces prints that have the subtlety of a photograph and the art quality of a lithograph.

Pictorial Postmarks

Handstruck marks and machine impressions which include a pictorial element. Usually a First Day Cancellation or sponsored handstamp.

Plate Number

A numeral, occasionally with a letter suffix, usually inscribed on the sheet margins to denote the plate from which stamps were printed - for example 1A.

Postage Due Labels

Labels, sometimes loosely described as stamps but without postal validity in themselves, employed by many postal authorities to denote the charge to be raised from the addressee for unpaid or underpaid correspondence. Guernsey has issued three sets, the last were known as "To Pay Labels" and were withdrawn from sale in 2001.

Postal History

A term used to describe covers of the pre-stamp era, ie before 1840. Also used for post-1840 covers of particular interest - unusual postmarks, scarce postal rates, etc. A somewhat misleading term.

Postal Stationery

Postcards, envelopes, wrappers, etc, on which the postage stamp has been directly printed. Should be kept intact. Where the stamps have been removed they are known as "cut outs".

Postmark

A mark, applied by hand or machine, to cancel the stamp and thus prevent re-use. Also a general term for any postal markings applied to mail.

Presentation Pack

A folder containing a set of stamps with relevant background information.

Prestige Booklet

A stamp booklet that contains special panes of stamps with illustrations and descriptive text.

Proofs

An impression made during the production of stamps. For use only by printers and postal administrations, these are not available to collectors.

Reprints

Stamps printed from the original plates as a result of a particular issue selling out.

Self-Adhesive

Stamp printed on specially gummed paper that will adhere directly to envelope without moistening. The stamps are thus sold attached to backing paper, which can be peeled, from the self-adhesive paper for attachment to mail. Such stamps are normally produced in booklets or rolls.

Selvedge

The imprinted edge of a sheet of stamps.

Se-Tenant

Pairs, strips, or blocks of stamps of different values or designs printed together. Such se-tenant stamps should not normally be split by collectors.

Souvenir Sheet

A small sheet containing one of each stamp in a given issue sold alongside the set of individual stamps. They are also available in FDC and in Presentation Packs.

Sponsored Handstamp

A handstamp paid for by a private individual or organisation to mark a specific event. The handstamp remains the property of the post office.

Thematics

A popular form of collecting stamps on a particular theme or topic, such as Animals, Sport or Works of Art, rather than those of specified countries.

Traffic Lights

Term used by collectors to denote the check dots or colour dabs (to use printers' jargon) printed in the sheet margins of stamps printed by modern offset litho or photogravure methods. They assist in checking that all the colours have printed correctly. Blocks of stamps from the corner of the sheet, including the "traffic lights", are collected as a matched pair with the block showing the cylinder numbers.

Variety

Normally a fairly small printing flaw which renders a stamp different from most in a sheet of stamps. Of minor interest to the beginner, but of significance to advanced collectors.