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Dumb Cancellation

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Alex15/02/2018 13:36:59
562 forum posts
7 photos

Well, today is the 15th of February and I have finally received my first mail item of the year with an actual stamp on it. We'll just overlook the fact that the two stamps used come from the Feb. 1990 'Smiles' set.

What is interesting is the dumb cancellation mark (and yes, 'dumb cancellation' is a philatelic term) on the item. There was talk of postal workers being issued with these rather than using a pen to scribble over the stamps and I'm wondering whether this is the case here. Just in case you're interested, the item came from Hartlepool.


Trevor Bishop 115/02/2018 20:20:53
157 forum posts
51 photos

Thanks Alex ,

It's nice to see some nice stamps with a Cancel . I saw one of those last year on a 2nd class blue & didn't know what It was and guessed it probably was a postman pocket Cancel . Usually the biro & NO Cancel are still more frequent . This year I had two packets with NO Cancel & one covered in lovely booklet panes & biro'd over each stamp - I nearly cried .

I'll keep track of the next few items and see if more if these dumb cancels are being used .


Carmen24/02/2018 13:59:25
547 forum posts
57 photos

Hey for the Ignorant Among Us (that would be ME!) what is a "dumb" cancel?

Alex24/02/2018 15:23:01
562 forum posts
7 photos

It is 'dumb' as in mute, that is, a cancel that doesn't tell you where it is from. It doesn't have the name of a town or suchlike. The above example just has a series of wavy lines.

They were also common on military / soldier's mail for obvious reasons (which is why so many letters home had little codes and clues to let the family know where the writer was stationed).


Carmen25/02/2018 12:33:40
547 forum posts
57 photos

Riiiiight! Makes perfect sense... thanks Alex!

Ian Billings13/03/2018 16:09:41
32 forum posts
9 photos


It didn't work, of course, which is why there is now a campaign against pen-cancels: see April 2018 Stamp Magazine.

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