Illustrated Glossary

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War Emergency Rate

A tax, in the form of increased postage rates, to help pay for a War. In the US during WWI, the rate for letters was increased from two cents to three cents per ounce, and the rates for postcards from one cent to two cents. The war emergency rate remained in effect from November 2, 1917 until July 1, 1919, when the pre-war rates were restored.

War Savings Stamps

US stamps issued by the Treasury Department during both World Wars, redeemable for War Certificates in WWI and for Defense Bonds or War Bonds during WWII.

Washed Cancel

A used stamp that has had its cancel removed, sometimes chemically, either for illegal reuse or to deceive collector.

Waterbury Cancels

Fancy, often pictorial, cancels used in Waterbury, Connecticut from 1865-1870. They were the artistic creation of its postmaster.


A design, letter or letters embedded in paper during the paper manufacturing process, often used in securities to distinguish counterfeits.

Wet Printing

Engraved printing on paper that has been moistened to render it soft and pliant in order that the paper will press into the engraved lines of the plate under less pressure, thus facilitating the transfer of ink.

White Plains Sheet

The first souvenir sheet (SS) issued by the U.S., honoring the Battle of White Plains. The White Plains stamp was a normally issued commemorative stamp of 1926.


A sheet of postal stationary with an imprinted stamp-like design that can be folded around a newspaper or periodical and sealed for mailing.