Used 20th Century US Postage Stamps

Most cancelled, or used, 20th-century U.S. stamps are worth less than the paper they're printed on. But used stamps are priceless in the way they tell the story of America, through images of its presidents, technological achievements, prominent citizens, and natural wonders. These cancellations, which are called killers among collectors, often tell stories of their own, too, pinpointing a letter, postcard, or parcel in a particular time and place.

Cancellations range from machine-canceled stamps to Railway Post Office, or RPO, cancels, which are often collected by those interested in railroadiana. A bullseye cancel, also known as a SOTN, which stands for ‘socked on the nose’, means the entire postmark is readable on the stamp, allowing collectors to see the time, date, and location where the stamp was used.

First day issues and covers usually feature fancy cancels, but these stamps are not considered used, per se, since they were never intended to be mailed. Instead, the cancellation simply serves to verify that the cover was purchased on the stamp’s first day of issue.

Some people collect used stamps by the state they were cancelled in, others prefer used stamps that were very lightly cancelled, which allows one to collect stamps such as those in the Washington and Franklin series of 1908 to 1922 for a good deal less than they would have to pay for uncancelled examples.

Used air mail stamps are also popular, as are cancelled duck stamps, commemoratives, and other types of postage.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

Don Schilling's long-running, in-depth blog on stamp collecting and postal operations. Schilling stays up on all th… [read review or visit site]

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

If you're into postal history or collectibles, check out the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. This extensive s… [read review or visit site]

R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries

R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries

This auction house site offers an extensive online database of US stamp information. Includes PDF catalogs of past … [read review or visit site]

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise showcases Hawaiian postal history from the years before Hawaii became a part of the United … [read review or visit site]

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Bob Hohertz's impressive database of U.S. Private Die Proprietary stamps from the Civil War and Spanish American Wa… [read review or visit site]

Alphabetilately

Alphabetilately

First shown in 2008 to celebrate the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's 15th anniversary, Alphabetilately is esse… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Nystamps X Old Us Washington Franklin Stamp Collection Stock PageLisasgang: Us Scott Catalog # 313Nystamps S Large Old Us Pre Cancel Stamp Collection Scott AlbumScott#480 $5 Marshall 1917 UsedNystamps X Large Many Mint Old Us & Bob Stamp Collection Stock Book X3Nystamps G Large Old Us Pre Cancel Stamp Collection Scott AlbumScott 547, Used Washington-franklin, Jumbo Gem! Pse Cert! E$150/$200Us Scott # J58 Pref 10 50 Cent Postage Due Cv$865.00 Nystamps G Old Us Washington Franklin Stamp Collection Scott Album PageAn Old Off Paper Precancel AccumulationUs Scott # J37 Used 50 Cent Postage Due Cv $384.00Lisasgang: Us Scott Catalog # 312 Massive U.s. Off Paper AccumulationUsed U.s. Stamps - Lot Of 100 + Recent Issues (2011 - 2015) - Lot #nf69The Very Rare Buffalo N.y. 600-61 3 Cent Coil No Post Mark Bureau Precancel !!#4800 A-j, Made In America, Building A Nation, Used Set Of 12, On PaperPrecancels New York 280 Different Dated's ( Albany - Utica )Buffalo Stamps, Scott Usa #595 Coil Waste Issue, F/vf W/ Nice Cancel, Cv = $305Us Scott 4379 $17.50 Old Faithful High Value Used V63Scott#524 $5 Franklin 1918 UsedUss Arizona Memorial, Sc 4873, Used And Off PaperLisasgang: Us Scott Catalog # 313Nystamps Us Stamp # 353 Used $220 WashingtonNystamps S Many Mint Old Us Stamp Collection Scott Album#480 Used $5 MarshallNystamps S Us Large First Day Issue Stamp Souvenir Page Collection With BetterUs Scott523 Or 547-1918-1920 Used $2.00 Red&black Franklin-good Centering#4825 Harry Potter, Used Set Of 20, Forever, On PaperScott 479 $2 Madison Deep Blue Perf 10 Regular Issue Used Sound (tt23) Us Old Vintage Stamp Collection Lot Used/mint (dd380)#3997 A-j Happy (chinese) New Year, Used Set Of 12, 39 Cent, Off PaperCkstamps: Us Stamp Collection Scott#500 Washington UsedBig Collection Of 95 Different Hawaii Precancel Types !!!Nystamps Us Stamp # 404 Used $75Ckstamps: Us Stamp Collection Used Large MarginsNystamps Us Stamp # 387 Used $140 FranklinUs Used 1918 "curtiss Jenny" Airmail - C3 24c Carmine Rose & Blue - CenteredScott 347, Used Washington-franklin, Choice/pretty! $38343 Used 1c Franklin Attleboro Mass Private Vending Coil Stamp Cv $1000 4h1413Big Collection Of 765 Different Kansas Precancel Types !!!Big Collection Of 688 Different Iowa Precancel Types !!!Nice Collection Of 281 Different Washington Precancel Types !!!Nice Collection Of 211 Different West Virginia Precancel Types !!!Nystamps Us Stamp # 500 Used $240 WashingtonKentucky Bicent Precancel Collection - Catlettsburg To PaducahLisasgang: Us Scott Catalog # 404Us #331-340, 343-346, 376-382 Used ; Scv $130.00Modern Art In America, Set Of 12, Sc 4748a-l, Used And Off PaperCkstamps: Us Stamp Collection Scott#423 $1 Franklin Used1953-2002 State Birds & Flowers Complete Used Set Of 50 StampsScott#311 $1 David G. Farragut 1903 UsedUs Scott 323-327 Old 1c-10c Louisiana Purchase Expo Complete Set U/f-vf Cv $100Nystamps Us Stamp # 524 Used $35 FranklinThe Springfield, 20 Cent 476-33 Experimental Bureau Precancel !!!Nystamps Old Us Washington Franklin Stamp Collection Scott Album PageU.s. Scott #313 Very High Value $5 Marshall---has FlawsK221 # 491, Used 2c Type Ii - Vf-xf Rare Gem WithLisasgang: Us Scott Catalog # 31114 Used Sheets, Including $1.00, See ScansGa Precancels - Town & Type - Nicholls 492 - 1c Defense