What is microprinting?

Maybe you’ve heard the word Microprinting but you’re not sure what it is. Microprinting is tiny type added to a stamp’s design. The type is so small, it can’t be read without a magnifying glass or microscope. The printing is usually made up of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Microprinting is a security measure to prevent counterfeiting. The use of counterfeited stamps means lost revenue for the U.S. Postal Service. Producing and selling fake stamps is a federal crime.

When forgers try to reproduce a microprinted stamp using a scanner or photocopier, the text may appear as a solid line or blur. It’s too small to make a clear copy.

You’ll need a magnifying glass with at least 4x magnification to see the microprinting on your stamps. (See our 3” acrylic dome magnifier here. Or for portable convenience and greater magnification, get our 10X folding magnifier with built in LED light offered here.)

The first stamp to be microprinted was U.S. #2655, the 1992 Stream Violet stamp. If you look closely at the 29¢ denomination, you’ll see shading made by microscopic dots.

US #2655

The first stamps with microprinting in the design were the 1992 Christmas Toys stamps (#2711-14). In these stamps, portions of the wheels are shaded with magenta dots.

2711-14 micro print

More recent microprinting uses a combination of letters and numbers such as: USPS, 4eveR, 4evr, or 4EVR.

3752 micro print

The microprinting on US #3752 is located on the end of the second squash blossom on the right side of the necklace.  The photo on the right shows the section under magnification.

3314 micro print

The microprinting on #3314 is on the upper right petal of the flower.  It spells out the word “BOTANISTS.”

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