XF (Extremely Fine) - a stamp that has all margins
clear of the design with all sides of nearly equal width. Although the
term is used to describe centering, particularly on U.S. stamps, it also
implies that the stamp is sound in every respect. "XF" should
not be used for stamps that have minor faults such as light creases, small
thins, tiny tears, or faded or dull color and should never be used for stamps with larger faults.
The early classics are given slightly more leeway in the description of
XF, since well centered stamps are the exception, and the margins need not
be huge, but in all cases the margins should be nearly equal in size.
Although the stamp at right is nearly XF in centering, the left margin is
slightly smaller than the right. Well centered stamps of this particular
issue are not rare enough to elevate this stamp to XF status. The example
is sound in all respects, no tears, thins or creases, the color is fresh
and the cancel is sufficiently light to elevate it to XF status if only
the centering were better.
A VF-XF Stamp
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