How is a postage stamp authenticated?
November 13, 2006 11:00 AM Subscribe
How is the authenticity of a postage stamp verified in the normal mail delivery process?
posted by odinsdream to technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When mail is delivered, how is a stamp validated? There are so many thousands of stamps from so many different years, all of which are valid postage. Combinations can be made of different stamp types and values. I assume the valuation is done through OCR or image-matching with known stamps. Verifying whether it's a real stamp, though, must be an additional step.
Why can't I print any picture at all on glossy sticker paper and cut it out with "stamp edge" scissors from an art store? Or, if I can, why do people buy stamps?
The point of this question is not to figure out how to fake stamps - it's to better understand how the mail system works, and was prompted by the recent FPP about the absentee ballot stamped with the alleged 100k stamp. Differentiating between rare stamps and very good counterfeits isn't really what I'm curious about; just everyday verification.