Stamps (Philately)/Tagging


How does one differentiate between "untagged" and "tagging omitted" on stamps?

Hi Russ,
  Tagging is a phosphorescent mark that may cover all or part of a stamp, depending on the stamp, and when they issued them.  It was originally used in conjunction with mail sorters to make it easier and faster to sort mail, but also has some use as detecting authentic stamps.
  Like anything in philatelics, when there is a process that involves more than one step in producing the stamp, there is the possibility for human error to occur.  Tagging Omitted stamps are those which should have been tagged, but got missed in the process.  Untagged stamps are those that were never tagged to start with.  Untagged stamps are from the same era, but the post office, for whatever reason, didn't apply tagging to them (so they will all be untaggeed).
   So that leaves us with three possibilities:
   Tagged - A stamp that was tagged with phosphorescent marking
   Untagged - A stamp that was issued specifically without tagging (during the tagged era)
   Tagging Omitted: A stamp that should have been tagged, but slipped through the process.

So if you look at the Scott #1909 in the catalog it is noted as "Untagged" and therefore there are no "Tagging Omitted" categories.  While the #1931 (b) has a "Tagging Omitted" possibility, because it is a Tagged stamp.  Also, not all Tagged stamps have a known "Tagging Omitted" entry.  It may mean that none were produced, or it could mean that they are yet unknown.
Then there are some special cases you have to look carefully at.  The 2149 is tagged, untagged and tagging omitted.  However, the "untagged" applies only to the special case of bureau pre-canceled stamps.  So if the stamp is not pre-canceled, then you have the possibility of either Tagged or Tagging omitted.  If the stamp is pre-canceled, then they were all finished as untagged.

So check your Scott catalog carefully for mention of Tagging and Untagged.  Only Tagging identified stamps will have a "Tagging Omitted" error possibility.

One last note, if you're not aware, the way to identify tagging is with a black light.  Short mm is best (so a higher number like 285mm versus a lower 180mm).  Make sure the room you are in is low light (in some cases I even step into a closet and close the door when looking with a black light, but that's usually more for removed cancels).  Also make sure the stamp is NOT in any protective mount (like a showguard or a dealer card).  The plastic over it will make the luminescent area invisible to the black light).  They will illuminate in either green or red, and it will be quite obvious when you see it.
Hope that helps,

Stamps (Philately)

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Scott Payton


My expertise is in US, but I have a lot of exposure to worldwide, and with wide reference material, I will do what I can to answer questions about global stamps. In US I have extensive experience in all aspects (does include Administrative overprints for Cuba, China, Puerto Rico etc.). Also, Hawaii general issue and Revenue (pre-statehood). Of course still building knowledge but have been collecting since 1980. Air Mail is a favorite area, but not a limitation. Two specialty areas are Large Banknote issues, and Washington/Franklin identification. Strong experience in Carrier & Locals, Private Die (Also known as M&M for "Match & Medicine" but also includes some playing card and perfume stamp issues.) Recently have been building more back-of-book experience, especially around Official, Newspaper, Revenue and tax editions. Some covers, and cancellations, but not my strong suit. Another area I'm recently diving into. What I can't do: Anything non-US, as it's just not an area I focus on.


30+ years of learning the hard way. A lot of passion for collecting and dealing (as I do both). I don't consider it a hobby... I consider it a serious pursuit that I'm able to do in the hours I'm not occupied by annoying things like sleep. I work closely with some of the global leaders in the expertizing and identification field. Have co-authored several papers (with Mr. William Weiss Jr.) related to identification, as well as tool set to help with quickly identifying the more challenging areas of Washington Franklin. Strong experience in paper types and coil validation.

Member of APS #222356.

1870 - 1879 Large Banknote Issues - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr). Washington-Franklin - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr.) Detecting Fakes, Alterations and Counterfeits (APS Summer Session Expertizing Session materials with William Weiss Jr.)

Thousands and thousands of hours of pouring over hundreds of collections. 30+ years as a collector-to-dealer, avid student of philatelic study. Pre-1900 variation is fascinating, and it seems even after all these years, that I make some discovery every time I look at a new example. APS Summer Session - Fundamentals of Expertizing 2014

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