Sunday, 29 May 2016

Bath handstamps 1776 to 1781

I have examples of three different handstamps in the period 1776 to 1781, only one of which is clear enough to be a possible candidate for a new handstamp.

Firstly from June 1776, here an example of a 25½ x 6½ mm handstamp.

Secondly from December 1777 is a partial handstamp that just possibly could be an earlier example of the 30 x 7 mm handstamp without serifs known in 1781-1782.

And finally is an apparently tapered straight-line handstamp from March 1781.

It is interesting to note that a slightly tapered handstamp is known from Bristol in around this period, from 1784-1788.

In this period the British County Catalogue [1990] has a 32 x 8 mm handstamp from 1781,with the comment that the "T" has large serifs - I don't have an example of this handstamp.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Bath 1772 and 1781-82

The British County Catalogue [1990] has one handstamp, 30 x 7 mm, in use from 1772 to 1782.  Close examination of marks from 1772 and from 1781-1782 indicates that these are not the same handstamp, although they are the same size.

Here is an example from July 1772, with medium-large serifs on the "T".

And here are two examples from August 1781 and March 1782 with minimal serifs on the "T".

Here are scans of just the handstamps:

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Bath handstamps between 1766 and 1769

The British County Catalogue [1990] does not have any handstamps between 1761 and 1772.  The next four entires have two different handstamps that appear to fit in this gap.

Firstly, from October 1766 and February 1767 is a straight-line "BATH" handstamp, 32 x 7½ mm.

Secondly from November 1768 and January 1769 is another straight-line handstamp, 30½ x 8 mm.

The difference in size between these two handstamps is apparent when one is overlaid on the other.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Bath 1760 - c.1765

The next entry for Bath in the British County Catalogue is for a handstamp 31 x 9 mm, known between 1760 and 1761.  Unfortunately I don't have any examples that I can definitely fit in this date range - what I do have is firstly a free front franked by Charles Whitworth with a Bath straight-line handstamp that I measure at 30 x 8 mm.

Charles Whitworth was the MP for Minehead from 1747-1761 and then again from 1768-1774.  This front must have come from one of the period when he was an MP and had the franking privilege, so could have come from 1760-1761.

Secondly I have an undated entire that was written to an MP, Sir William Codrington, with a London "FREE" mark on it that was in use from May 1764 to May 1766.  The Bath handstamp matches the one above (see below).

The contents are the accounts for Barbuda for 1761-1763, including £60 for 3 slaves in 1761.

How to tell if two handstamps match ?  What I have done to be confident that these handstamps match is to scan them both, and then use the computer to lie one on top of the other - by moving them about relative to each other one can determine if there is a reasonable match or not.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Bath 1754, Ralph Allen

I have been scanning and measuring all my Bath handstamps as the first step in working out which ones match the entries in the British County Catalogue and which ones don't.  I have been using an old version of Photoshop but one can do this with free software (eg. GIMP - a different interface from Photoshop which I am used to, so I haven't switched).

Using these software tools one can zoom into an image to measure it to the nearest 0.1 mm - in practice an accuracy of 0.3 mm is about as good as one can get given the normal clarity of the handstamp strikes.

Here is an entire from August 1754 with a nice clear "BATH" straight-line handstamp - when I measure it using the software tools I get a size of nearer 28 x 7 mm than the 27 x 8 mm that is in the BCC (the measurements taken without the serifs as I understand was the standard for the BCC).

The entire is franked "R. Allen" and is probably from Ralph Allen's nephew-in-law.

Ralph Allen died on 29th June 1764.  Here is the inner sheet of another letter from him, headed Prior Park 11th December 1763 (there are no postal markings).

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Bath 1738 and 1739

The British County Catalogue (published 1990) did not have any handstamps between 1734 and 1742.  Here are two examples of a new handstamp measuring 26x8 mm, from June 1738 and October 1739.

I do not have an example of the handstamp in the BCC from 1742, which should be fairly distinctive at 26 x 12 mm - the same width as the handstamps above but 50% taller.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Bath 1732

After the handstamp known 1720-1726, shown in a previous post, the next handstamp is known used from 1730 to 1734.  Here is an example from  March 1732.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Warrant to Ride Post, London to Bath and return, 1728

The General Letter Office provided horses and guides for those requiring urgent travel within Great Britain.  This warrant of September 1728 is for a journey from London to Bath and back.

The cost of riding post from London to Bath and back, £10-5-10, is equivalent to about £2,060 today (using the Bank of England inflation calculator from 1750, the earliest that it goes back to).

The 1728 cost of £2,060 compares to a return train ticket today from Paddington to Bath of £185, or £278 first class.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Bath 1720

Here are two examples of the Bath handstamp which is known used from 1720 to 1726.  Both examples are from 1720, a year earlier than previously recorded, the first being from April 1720 ...

... and the second from May 1720.