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stamps or labels are printed from the same plate and sheet and adjoin one another, unsevered in a strip or block. They differ from each other by design, color, denomination or overprint
An overprint is an additional layer of text or graphics added to the face of a postage stamp or banknote after it has been printed. Post offices most often use overprints for internal administrative purposes such as accounting but they are also employed in public mail...
. They may have a continuous design. The word "se-tenant" translates from French as meaning "joined together".
There are differing ways of preparing a se-tenant sheet. One can have stamps of one design on half of the sheet and the second design on the other half. In this case, the only se-tenants would be in the center where the two halves meet. A more frequent set up is to have pairs of differing stamps throughout the sheet. Sometimes when two different designs appear on a single pane, the stamps are arranged like a checkerboard, with the different designs alternating in each row horizontally and vertically. One can have a triptych
A triptych is a philatelic term which was borrowed from the art world and having the same meaning: a set of three panels hinged together...
. Still another se-tenant format is tête-bêche
In philately, tête-bêche is a joined pair of stamps in which one is upside-down in relation to the other, produced intentionally or accidentally. Like any pair of stamps, a pair of tête-bêches can be a vertical or a horizontal pair. In the case of a pair of triangular stamps, they cannot help but...
(head to toe). Stamp booklets often contain se-tenant stamps and/or labels.
The US has printed as many a 50 different stamps on a single sheet, such as in the 50 state flags, birds and flowers. Se-tenant stamps began as issues of separate designs that were simply attached to one another, but have developed to issues where the stamps are part of a larger continuous design.