Last week I asked about the meaning of the term "Tete-Beche," which I had seen in an auction catalog description.
Francois Velde writes:
Tête-bêche is a French expression which describes the position of two people lying, one's feet facing the other's head. It's a corruption of bêchevet, which means "double bedhead" (a bed with bedhead at each end).
Martin Purdy writes:
Looks like it's a philatelic term. It would be pronounced like "tet besh".
Martin referenced this Wikipedia entry.
In philately, tête-bêche (French for "head-to-tail", lit. "head-to-head") 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.
To read the complete article, see:
David Gladfelter forwarded this definition from R. Scott Carlton, The International Encyclopædic Dictionary of Numismatics (Iola, Krause Publications, 1996), p280:
“Anti-counterfeiting device on paper money which consists of a design that appears twice, each occurrence being upside-down relative to each other. Its purpose is to make counterfeiting of that note more detectable, even to the average citizen not well-versed in determining the authenticity of paper money.”
An example is shown of the Brazilian 100 cruzeiros note, Pick 198. Literally, the term means “head-spade.”
The Stacks-Bowers cataloguer is using the term to apply to a pair of notes, one note printed upside-down relative to the other, rather than to the design of a single note.
With the diacriticals added, the term is tête-bêche.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: WHAT DOES TETE-BECHE MEAN?
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