Gum Types

Sheets of stamps were delivered to Manila from Spain with gum.

There are distinct gum types of the 1890-1897 Philippine issue. The identifcation of the gum type can assist in providing evidence of the dates of the issues and can also be used to differentiate between issues where colour is not reliable.

The gum is generally applied horizontally but in the large format sheets comprising 150 or 200 stamps it is applied vertically.

Unfortunately the gums are difficult to represent in scans, the best way to distinguish is to compare issues from the different years and use the descriptions below to establish your own reference.

Gum was applied by hand, using a brush or roller. The gum of the 1890 to 1992 issues (Gum Type A) was applied by brush and occasionally hairs from the brush can be found preserved in the gum on the rear of the stamp. 

Historically, Peterson (PPJ 1989-3) described three major gum types, termed Types A, B and C. However, I prefer to include a forth variety (Type D) which is commonly found in addition to Gum Type C on the 1896 and 1897 issues.


Type A:

Yellow to yellow-brown in colour, often with small brownish or "rust" spots. The gum is usually uniform, and was applied either vertically or horizontally.

Found only on the 1890 to 1892 issues.

Type B:

 White to yellow in colour with a distinctly wavy or interrupted appearance. The gum was usually applied horizontally, although it occasionally occurs vertically. Found only on the 1893 to 1895 issues.

Type C:

White in colour, uniform, and usually has a distinctly “crackly" appearance.

Found only on the 1896 and 1897 issues.

Type D:

 White in colour with an interrupted appearance. It can appear crackly or crystalline but not in the same, crazed pattern seen in Type C. The gum may be a variation of Type C, but it is sometimes mistaken/described as Type B due to the interrupted appearance forming lines. In the 1m and 1/8c impresos issues the gum is applied vertically. Found on the 1896 and 1897 issues, in particular the 1896 'impresos' issues. (This gum type is sometimes found on the 1894 'impresos' issues and may represent a later printing of the issue).

Gum C
with colours adjusted
Gum D
with colours adjusted


Palmer (1912) describes some additional gum types (normally associated with issues on thin semi-transparrent paper):  

1891 issue of 25c dull blue has a colourless gum

1892 issue of 25c dull blue is described as having thick white gum

1891 issue of 10 pale claret has a thin white gum evenly spread and non-streaky








Gum Types

Paper Types

Sheet Formats