What You Should Know About the Miniature Sheet
If you are new in philately and you want to get involved in stamp collecting, then you should know some of the popular terms used and tossed around by hobbyists. A little education and familiarization of the terms will not just help you build your stamp collection, but it will also help you learn the story behind every stamp released. One important term that every serious collector should know is the ‘miniature sheet’.
What is a Miniature Sheet?
The miniature sheet or souvenir sheet refers to a sheet containing a number of postage stamps, all stamps still attached together. Souvenir sheets can be classified as regular issues that are printed in small and early batches, or as special issuances by postal offices to commemorate a national celebration, event or other day of significance to a country. Occasionally these sheets are printed as part of a government program or policy. There is no rule on the exact number of stamps included in one sheet - some sheets will have only one stamp, while others may carry 25 stamps.
Other important details about the miniature stamp sheets
The stamps can either be perforated or imperforated. In some editions of souvenir sheets, the selvage or the margins of the stamp sheets will have additional printing details, for example they may carry information about the specifics of the holiday or event, or they may also show off the full picture of the stamps. The margins will also occasionally feature ornamental designs, logos and other intricate details that are not part of the original stamps.
Another difference with the regular issues is that the stamps on the souvenir sheets are in se-tenant positions while those in regular issues are not in se-tenant positions. Although stamps in miniature sheets can be used for mailing, they are most commonly acquired by stamp collectors and hobbyists as part of their collections. There are some stamp sheets that are also used as philately covers, and some end up in exhibitions and personal showcases.
Miniature stamp sheets are now made and printed in different countries around the world, but according to enthusiasts, it was in Luxembourg where the first souvenir stamp sheet was printed. It was the single 10-franc stamp that was printed in 1923. The printing was made in honour of the birth day of Princess Elisabeth. The United States also issued its own version of the miniature sheet in 1926 and also produced some sheets in the 1930s. The United Nations also printed miniature stamp sheets to commemorate important events and agreements. Some of these stamp sheets are of high value and best collected, but most of them are available in large quantities, and therefore don’t command a high market price.