British Stamps News & Articles

Judge the Condition of British Stamps Before You Buy

British stamps are usually advertised in the following condition grades:

UM or MNHUnmounted Mint
or Mint Never Hinged
Stamps should be in pristine condition as issued originally by the Royal Mail with full gum showing no signs of a previous hinge being applied and all perforations intact.
LMM or LHMLight Mounted Mint
or Light Hinge Mint
The same quality as UM/MNH stamps but with light hinge mark disturbance evident on reverse, gummed side of the stamp.
MM, AVM or HMMounted or Average
or Heavy Mint
Good collectable mint stamps but which possess minor defects that affect value if not always appearance. For example there may be a gum crease, heavy hinge mark, incomplete gum, a small perforation fault affecting the stamp.
VFUVery Fine UsedUndamaged stamps cancelled with a light circular or special first day of issue postmark leaving the majority of the stamp's picture design visible.
FUFine UsedUndamaged stamps not far off being graded as VFU except perhaps for a slightly heavier or non-circular date stamp.
AVU or GUAverage Used
or Good Used
Sound and collectable stamps but with heavy commercial cancellations or VFU but perhaps somewhat off centre or displaying a minor perforation defect.
Defective or
Mint or Used
but damaged
Stamp may appear as any of the mint or used grades but with defects such as thins (a graze or rub thinning the stamp's paper), small tears, creases, chopped perforations or substantially repaired previously. The value of such stamps are usually only a fraction of what better quality examples command. For particularly rare GB stamps this grade is still collectable (at the right price) as an alternative to paying extreme prices for better examples.


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Judge the Condition of British Stamps Before You Buy

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