Offset Stamp Printing

This is a variation of the lithograph process in which the design is transferred from the printing roller to a rubber roller and then, "offset" to the paper. It is a particularly rapid process and one that has seen considerable improvement in the last generation. It was used by the United States Government in 1918 for the production of one-cent, two-cent and three-cent stamps to relieve the Bureau of Engraving and Printing of the enormous amount of work the war had forced upon it. These stamps are really identified by their absolutely flat and "messy" appearance. They furnish collectors with a healthy group of varieties for study and are one of the most interesting interludes of our postal history.

There are, of course, a great many processes of printing that come under the general heading of relief or letterpress printing, many of which have been used to produce postage stamps. Techniques of operation differ in different countries and in different printing establishments. It is pointless to try and review them all here even if the author were qualified to do so. There is, however, one process that requires explanation for the collector of United States and other stamped envelopes. This is called "embossing."