Why Your Answers to the Puzzle were RIGHT or WRONG


1. To start collecting postage stamps, of course you need some stamps. You do not need lot's of money because there are many ways to get started with stamps from around the house, from friends and relatives, and even from a nearby stamp store. There are thousands of stamps available for free or for a few pennies each. If you join a stamp club, many of them have kids' programs where you can meet others who have stamps to trade with you.

As for the squirrel - well, I enjoy mine wild and free, in my back yard where I can watch him while I play with my stamps.

2. If your grandpa or anyone else gave you a stamp collection, you should first find out if its a bunch of fun stamps that you can go crazy with, or if it includes some stamps that are very valuable. You will have to ask for some help to find that out. When you know for sure that there are some special stamps, then you should ask for advice on how to keep them safe.

I hope you knew it was a joke about cutting the pointy edges - YIKES!! Those pointy edges are called perforations, or "perfs", and they are part of the stamp - don't cut off those edges, even if the stamp cost you only 2 cents !!

As for the cats, well cats have to have fun too, so get them something fun to play with, but not your stamps !!

3. When you decide to try out the hobby of stamp collecting, you will find that there are no rules - except the ones you would follow doing anything else! So, you can decide for yourself what kinds of stamps you want to collect. And, you can change your mind as often as you want! Of course, it doesn't hurt to eat your veggies, either. Hmmmmm, what about a collection of stamps with vegetables on them?


1. A collector of stamps is cometimes called a "philatelist" and a collector of coins is sometimes called a "numismatist". You can collect both stamps and coins - so, what would that be? A philanumist? Uh uh! We don't know if Homer Simpson collects stamps - let us know if you find out!

2. A stamp that has not been used for postage, and still has its original gum on the back is called "mint". A stamp that was issued before they punched holes (perforations) to make it easier to remove stamps from the sheets they were printed in, is called "imperforate". If it is a single stamp, it will have been cut from a sheet with scissors and all sides will be straight with no "perforations".

Is it possible to have a mint imperforate stamp? Of course, it is - when people bought stamps that had no perforations, they had gum on the back before they were stuck on envelopes. As soon as they licked the stamp, stuck it on an envelope and mailed it, it stopped being "mint" and became "used".

There are no "unwanted" stamps. Even if your favourite stamp is creased and is missing an edge cause it fell into the blender, you can still treasure it. You might find a better copy later.

3. There are two RIGHT answers to this question. If a stamp has a cancellation on it, you know it was once "used" for postage and was "cancelled" in a post office. Also, the cancellation might tell you a little story. It might have the name of the town it was posted in, and the date that it was cancelled. This is a fun part of collecting stamps because sometimes you can't see all of the cancellation mark. It might say RONTO, which suggests that it was posted in TORONTO, if it is a Canadian stamp. Some detective work might be needed.

If it says ATHENS, you should first look to see if it as a stamp from Greece. If it is a stamp from the United States, however, then the fun begins. Why? Well, because several States in the USA have towns called Athens. The postmark should also have the State written in it, if it is from the USA. Is it GA (Georgia), or OH (Ohio), or another State?

While you are watching Star Wars, have your atlas handy - to look up towns during commercials.


1. You already know what a "perforation" is and that it can be called a "perf". The perforation gauge is usually a plastic or cardboard thingy that has rows of dots, with different spacing between the dots of each row. You place the stamp on the gauge and see which row of dots the perforations fit. If the perfs line up exactly with the dots labelled "12", then your stamp is "perf 12". Try it!!

The machine that makes the perforations in a sheet of stamps is called "the machine that makes the perforations in a sheet of stamps". There is no machine or thingy that tells how many stamps have perforations.

2. Great Britain is the nation that does not put the name of the country on its stamps, simply cause it was first to make postage stamps - so there! Great Britain includes England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Bechuanaland was a country in Africa that once was a land protected by Britain - it is now independent and called Botswana. So, if you find some stamps from Bechuanaland, you can put them with your stamps from Botswana, if you have any. Canadian stamps have always had Canada written on them, although some provinces once had their own stamps.

3. Ummm ... what was the question? Well, just cause two stamps look alike, sometimes you need to take a second look to be sure they are the same. Sometimes countries issued stamps that are alike, but have different writing on them - maybe the country uses two different languages, and used one language for one stamp, and the other for the other!!

Another thing to look for is the perforation sizes, but only if your catalogue tells you that the stamp was issued in more than one perforation size. Why waste time measuring perforations if only one size was used for that stamp?

When you get very serious about stamp collecting, you might become interested in small mistakes made in the making of a few stamps. Usually this requires using a magnifying glass to find the small errors. There have been some humungous errors that have become famous! Both Canada and the United States have made stamps where a part of the picture on the stamp was printed UPSIDE DOWN!! These very few weird looking stamps have become quite valuable, and are worth many thousands of dollars!

So, spend some time looking carefully at your stamps - who knows what you might discover!

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