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Hi, Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Will and if you have questions
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Finding the Grill on stamps

The "Grill" on a stamp is an interesting thing. It was a tactic used by the US Postal service for a short period of time in order to prevent stamps from being used over and over.

The Grill is a very small series of triangular embosses in a stamp. It would allow the ink from cancellation of a stamp to absorb into the fiber of the stamp. This way the ink couldn't easily be washed out and the stamp re-used. The ink would stay, showing that the stamp was used.

Grilling was used between 1867 and 1871. I have put together a list of what stamps have grills by the Scott Number.


Grilled Stamp Scott numbers:

79, 80, 80a, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 85a, 85b, 85c, 85d, 85e, 85F,
86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, - 96, - 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 112-122, 134-144


Finding a grill is an excellent way to help identify a stamp correctly. But grills are small and the stamps that have them are very old. So sometimes it can be difficult to see a grill.

3 cent locomotive stamp with grill

We are going to take a look at one particular stamp. This is a 3Cent locomotive stamp. And it could be the Scott #114 that was issued in 1869. If it is this stamp it has a grill on it. And it is worth maybe around ten dollars. But, the same stamp was also re-issued in 1875. But this time without the grill. And this stamp is typically worth thousands of dollars!

So. discovering whether or not this stamp has a grill is important.

A grill on a stamp

We are in luck with this stamp because looking at it at different light angles brings out that grill. And it is nicely centered on the stamp. You can see it there in the middle. It looks like a waffle pattern.

Grills aren't always nicely placed in the center like this though. And sometimes you can't see them from the back but you can see them from the front of the stamp.

lighting is poor

This is the same stamp in a different light and you cannot see any trace of the grill pattern.

Soak to see the grill

And you can also use watermarking fluid and a watermarking tray to bring out the grill in a stamp. The grill is easy to see now.

Wet Grill stamp

Here is the wet grilled stamp. I picked it up to observe it in diffrent light and the grill shows up very nicely.

Here is another stamp that I have with a grill on it.

A Grill Stamp


A little bit more about Grills on stamps:

There are ten different grill patterns. And they are identified by letters. For example if a stamp has a full grill on it, covering the whole stamp, it is a grill pattern "A".

Here is a chart for the grill types:

Grill Type Grill size in MM Number of Points Points up or down
A All of stamp n/a up
B 18x15 22x18 up
C 13x16 16to17 x 18to21 up
D 12x14 15x17 to 18 down
E 11x13 14x15 to 17 down
F 9x13 11 to 12 x 15 to 17 down
G 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 12 x11 to 11 1/2 down
H 10x12 11 to 13 x 14 to 16 down
I 8 1/2 x 10 10 to 11 x 10 to 13 down
Z 11x14 13 to 14 x 18 down



A Note from Will: I seem to be developing a real affinity for Grilled Stamps. There is just something about them that I like. They are quite different and unusual. And they vary quite a bit. They also scale quite a bit in value. I have purchased some for two dollars and some grilled stamps go for thousands of dollars! I haven't purchased any of those!



A stamp collection

New Article: What is your stamp collection worth?- So, you have come into a stamp collection. Maybe you inherited it or somebody gave it to you. You don't know anything about stamps but you are wondering if the collection is worth anything. I have seven tips for you to assess if the collection is valuable. And you don't have to know anything about stamps. Is your stamp collection worth anything?