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The Eight Possible Orientations for the USPS Watermarks 

The following orientations for the position of the USPS watermark are possible when viewed from the back of the stamp with the top of the stamp up, the way most collectors look for watermarks in a tray of fluid. All orientations other than "normal" are possible if the paper the stamp was printed on was not placed in the printing press with the watermark facing up and reading normally. The same orientations apply for the single-line USPS watermarks. 

The "rotated left" and "rotated right" orientations are only possible when the paper was printed sideways with regard to the watermark. This can be of large importance in ferreting out spurious coils made from booklet stamps. The lower denomination stamps, which include most of the coil stamps, were printed using the horizontal, that is "non-rotated" watermarks illustrated below. Booklet stamps, and some higher denomination stamps, were printed on smaller sheets with the watermarks sideways ( the "rotated" stamps below). Thus a one or two cent coil with a sideways (vertical) watermark has a high likelihood of being a fake made from a booklet stamp.


Double-line USPS - stamp printed normally - viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed with paper rotated left - viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed "upside down" - viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed with paper rotated right - viewed from back
"normal" "rotated left" "upside down" "rotated right"


Double-line USPS - stamp printed reversed- viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed reversed rotated left- viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed reversed upside down - viewed from back Double-line USPS - stamp printed reversed rotated right - viewed from back
"reversed" "reversed rotated left" "reversed upside down" "reversed rotated right"


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