Isle of Man Stamps and Coins
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Glossary of Terms

How to collect? The choice is yours...

There are a number of ways to collect our stamps - seasonally in line with our stamp issue despatches or annually with one of our great Year Collections or just as and when you please!

Here is a set of definitions of our stamp products, all are available as 'standing order' items.

Mint Stamps

Mint stamps have not been used for postage and accordingly bear no cancellation. They should be in pristine condition having full gum and perfect perforations.

Cancelled To Order (CTO)

Mint stamps that have been cancelled while still in sheet format prior to being separated into individual or blocks of stamps.


Gutter Pairs

Produced from sheets containing two panes of stamps separated by a blank horizontal or vertical margin. Some sheets may have decorative gutter margins and are collected in complete strips.


Variable Value Definitives (VVDs)

Also known as Variable Rate Definitives (VRDs)

Self Adhesive date-coded stamps issued from Post Office kiosks. The first three digits of the transaction code identifies the kiosk, e.g. 220 is Ramsey P.O.

Also available as sheets or half sheets but with no variable value.


Self Adhesives

Stamps issued on backing paper from which they can be peeled off and re-affixed to mail without moistening.


Miniature Sheet

A miniature sheet contains a single stamp, or a set of stamps, with inscribed or decorative borders. They are sold intact at Post Office counters.

Our criteria for determining if an item is a mini sheet is whether or not it will fit onto our standard FDC and into our standard Presentation Pack – if this is not the case it is considered a sheetlet


Overprint Miniature Sheet

Miniature sheets additionally inscribed with exhibition/event emblems.



Sheetlets differ from Miniature Sheets in that the individual stamps are intended to be purchased separately at Post Office counters.


Complete Sheets

The number of stamps in a complete sheet varies from issue to issue.


Label Sheets

These sheets have labels attached to the stamps and relate to the stamp theme.


Presentation Packs

Packs containing a set of stamps or miniature sheet inserted within a clear acetate mounted black card. The outer card covers contain details of the stamps and a short narrative of the issue subject.


First Day Cover

A specially designed envelope on which a full set of stamps, or a miniature sheet, is affixed and cancelled on the first day of issue. They usually feature a pictorial postmark.


Cachet Cover

A mark applied to a first day cover or commemorative cover to indicate a special event, exhibition or a date in connection with the stamp theme. The mark does not cancel the stamp(s).


Philatelic Numismatic Cover (PNC)

A first day cover or commemorative cover containing an encapsulated coin, medal or token relating to the theme of the stamp(s).


Definitive Booklets

Contain the most common denominations, normally ten stamps.


Prestige Booklets

Contain stamps (and miniature sheet if issued) in panes of the same design, or additional designs, and values as the sheet stamps in various combinations. They have additional panes containing subject matter.

Some prestige booklets may contain self adhesive stamps as these may vary slightly from the ordinary issue of stamps.


Stamp Card

A pictorial postcard with the design taken directly from the stamp. May or may not have the stamps description, royal cipher and value.


Maximum Card

A stamp card with the related stamp being affixed to the front of the card and cancelled accordingly.


Pre Paid Stamp Card

A pictorial postcard with a design relating to the theme of the stamp issue but which has a stamp either affixed to, or printed directly on the back of the card. Can be uncancelled or cancelled.



A reprint of an existing stamp.



A special stamp, or stamps, issued as a symbol of co-operation between post and telecommunication administrations throughout Europe.


Europa First Day Cover

The special stamp, or stamps, cancelled with a special first day of issue Europa cancel.


Plate Blocks, Traffic Light Blocks & other Sheet Markings

These are normally collected in blocks of 4 stamps.



Packs containing pages of related descriptive text together with stamps (singles, part sheets or complete sheets) and other various items – covers, coins, cards etc.


Year Set

A pack containing the calendar year's stamps and miniature sheets, includes a brief explanatory text for each issue.

Year Presentation Pack Collection

The calendar year's presentation packs supplied in a complementary binder.

Year Book

Contains all stamp designs in a selection of stamps, sheetlets and miniature sheets from the calendar year. The book gives full information about the stamp designs, designers and the issue subject matter.

If you require any assistance, please contact us and we will be very happy to help.


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