Definition: Se-tenant Stamps

Se-tenant means two or more different stamps printed on the same pane or sheet of paper. They can be stand-alone designs or part of a larger work of art.

Japan 2013

Japan’s 2013 se-tenant pair of 80-yen stamps celebrating the 120th Anniversary of Volunteer Fire Departments • Courtesy div_style via eBay.com

In the example above from Japan, the two stamp designs are complimentary but not necessarily part of a greater work of art. Notice how the artist is careful not to carry the costumes from one subject into the stamp frame of the other. The art is truncated before it runs into the perforations, with only the background colors tying the two designs together.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s 1986 se-tenant strip of five 25-cent commemoratives marking the 100th Anniversary of Police • Courtesy delcampe.net

In the second example above, this time from New Zealand, designs in the strip of five commemoratives run together, crossing the perforations that divide one stamp from another. Each stamp forms a part of the greater work of art.

Se-tenant (pronounced see-TEN-ant) stamps are fun to collect and some philatelists make them a speciality.

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