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Railway Post Office (RPO) and Railway Postmarks

A portable post office that sorts and processes mail in transit.

Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson

The New York security firm that in 1847 printed the first U.S. Postage Stamps. The firm s initials "RWH&E" may be found in the bottom margin of each stamp.

Receiving Mark

A postmark usually applied to the back cover of the mail indicating the name of the receiving post office, the date and sometimes the time of arrival.


A plate or die on which a portion of the original design is altered. This is sometimes done to strengthen the worn areas on the plate. Stamps from such re-engraving create new and often collectible varieties.


A re-entry is a plate repair to fix a defective entry or to extend the life of a worn plate by re-rocking the transfer roll over the defective impression. The re-entry is detectable only when it is not perfectly aligned with the existing impression.

Registered Mail

The most secure way to send mail, with each postal employee that handles it signing a receipt.


A stamp that has had gum added in an attempt to fool collectors into thinking the stamp has original gum. Since the gum can easily be removed, a regummed stamp is considered as an NG (no gum) stamp for valuation purposes. However, the presence of undocumented regummed stamps will lower the value of a collection, all things considered, since it is considered either an outright attempt to deceive or shows a lack of diligence on the part of the collector.

Regular Issue

(a.k.a. "definitive" or "ordinary issue") A stamp issued for an unspecified period and in non-predetermined quantities. Note that commemoratives have a limited lifespan and are issued in limited quantities.


Stamps which were sold to dealers for philatelic purposes; are often punched.


A stamp that has had perforations added to one or more sides to defraud a collector. At one time it was a common practice, and not considered entirely unethical (as it is today), to add perforations to the natural straightedge side of a stamp to make it more pleasing in appearance.

Ribbed Paper

A paper that clearly shows fine parallel lines running through it. Ribbed paper is found on many of the Bank Notes. In fact, the presence of ribbed paper on a single copy of the twenty-four cent Bank Note, is the source of one of the great controversies in U.S. philately, US164, the twenty-four cent Continental.

Rotary Press Stamp

Stamps printed from curved plates fastened around a cylinder on a continuous roll of paper as opposed to the flat plate press which printed only one sheet of paper at a time. Rotary press stamps are slightly stretched, that is longer or wider, as the roll of paper is pulled through the press.


A perforation that involves making short dash-like slits in the paper between stamps without actually removing any paper. Rouletted perforations are commonly found on Revenue stamps.

Rural Free Delivery (RFD)

A service of the US Post Office, begun as an experiment in rural West Virginia on October 1, 1896, that provided free mail delivery to homes, primarily farmers, outside of the urban areas.