Worldwide Illustrated Stamp Identifier

The purpose of the Worldwide Illustrated Stamp Identifier is to assist in identifying the country of origin of particularly challenging stamps. These stamps include those that have no country name written on them, and those where the country name is inscribed using a non-Latin writing script. The stamps have been grouped into the following categories: No Country Name, Arabic Script, Cyrillic Script, Chinese Characters, Asian Writing, and Other writing systems including Greek and Hebrew. Please note that there is no cultural or scholarly basis for the arrangement of stamp issuing countries into these few arbitrary divisions. The groupings are designed solely for stamp collectors who are accustomed to the Latin alphabet to be able to identify the country of origin visually.

To begin using the tool, select the grouping of stamps that appears to be most similar to the unidentified stamp. This will bring you to a page with more examples from that grouping. Should you find you've gone down a blind alley, back-out and try again. The country of origin (or a good guess) for most stamps with non-Latin characters can be quickly identified using this method.

To Begin Choose an Option Below


Chinese Characters

Arabic Script

Asian Scripts

Other Writing Systems

Stamps With No Country Name

Stamp Collecting Articles

Introduction to Stamp Identification
Minor variations in collectible stamps can mean the difference between a common item and a great rarity. This introduction to the art and science of stamp identification covers provides an invaluable overview to the field covering such topics as finding your stamp in a catalogue, design variations, watermarks, printing methods and papers.

Understanding Stamp Values
The subject of stamp valuation is a deceptively complex one. While at first glance, determining the value of a stamp might appear to be a simple matter of turning to one of the many available reference catalogues, in fact the stamp catalogue is just the beginning of the process. This overview presents some of the major topics in stamp valuation, setting you on course to making confident purchases and understanding the ultimate worth of your collection.

The Grinnell Missionaries - Stamp Collecting's Greatest Controversy
First seen in 1919 when high school teacher and stamp collector George Grinnell claimed to have discovered dozens of rare early Hawaiian stamps, the Grinnell Missionaries have become perhaps the longest running controversy in stamp collecting. To this day experts and collectors alike still debate whether they are clever forgeries or the find of a lifetime.

The Hradcany Issue - Czechoslovakia's First Stamps
Issued beginning December 1918, the first stamps of Czechoslovakia offer an affordable treat for the philatelic specialist. Known as the Hradcany issue, there are five basic types accompanied by a wealth of variations in color, paper types, perforations and plate flaws.