Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Jubilee of the Uniform Penny Post, 1890

In 1890 the 50-year jubilee of the establishment of the Uniform Penny Post in 1840 was celebrated. Below is an example of the Post Office Jubilee envelope and its contents, sent within Bath in July 1890 and cancelled by a "BATH / 53" 3-bar Vertical Oval Duplex cancel (3VOD).

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Bath 4-Bar Vertical Oval Duplex (4VOD) cancels

There are five impressions registered in the Stamp Impression Book of Bath "53" 4VOD cancels with a flat topped "3", but other handstamps not in the SIB were also used - at least 24 different ones can be distinguished.

Here are examples of three cancels, all on envelopes bearing a pair of ½d bantam stamps.  Regulations said that each stamp should be separately cancelled but this has been done on only one of the covers.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Burnham "581" 3VOS in 1881 - and Not a Radstock "358" 4VOS c.1877

Below are a couple of less common barred Numeral cancels, the first a Burnham "581" 3-bar vertical oval single cancel used on a registered envelope in 1881 - there is a second strike on the reverse.

The second is a "358" 4-bar vertical oval single cancel on an undated piece.  This is not from Radstock as Radstock did not get allocated Post Office number 358 until later.  "358" was previously allocated to Eardisley in Herefordshire.  The cancel is c. 1877 based on another example known.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Kingston [St. Mary] receipt in 1950, with "S&S / T" perfin from Taunton

The receipt below was sent from Taunton to Cheddon Fitzpaine and then redirected to Teignmouth, Devon.  The receipt bears a KGVI 2d with a "S&S / T" perfin from G.Small & Sons Ltd, Taunton.

Kingston became Kingston St Mary in 1952.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Taunton Dated Penny Post handstamp in Blue (& a cover from Taunton in USA)

Here is an example of the three line "TAUNTON / date / PY POST" handstamp in blue from January 1849.  The Penny Post handstamp is known in blue in 1848 & 1849.

 To go with this, here is another Taunton mark in blue, this time from Taunton, Massachusetts in 1872.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Taunton "776" 1844-type Numeric Obliterator

Here are two examples of the use of the first 1844-type "776" numeric obliterator used at Taunton, the first from May 1844 just after the introduction, and the second from September 1845.  By 1845 the cancel had lost its fourth bar at the bottom.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Taunton Red Maltese Cross February 1841 and letter on Tithes

The entire below is dated 6th February 1841 and is in the last month that the red Maltese Cross cancel was in use.  From March the cancel was in black ink.  The entire also has a "TAUNTON" double-arc dated handstamp without a code - by March a code had been introduced in the top arc.

The contents relate to the Tithe on Hops.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Taunton 25mm diameter Circular Handstamps 1822-1833

Between 1822 and 1833 four different circular handstamps with a diameter of 25mm were in use at Taunton.  To start with, from 1822 and 1824, there were two different "TAUNTON / 161" mileage marks with different spacing of both "TAUNTON" and "161".  From 1828 these were replaced with two different circular marks without mileage, one with dotted arcs below and one with nothing below.  

Unlike in some offices, these two marks were not amended versions of the previous two handstamps that had mileage but were new, with different spacings of "TAUNTON".

The sheet below shows examples of the four handstamps.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

London Inspector's Crown on Taunton Letter in 1831

The entire below was sent to London in September 1831 with a 10d postal charge but was re-assessed in London and uprated to 1/8d at double rate because it contained an enclosure ("Inclosd is my Fathers acceptance for ...").  As part of being uprated the entire received a red Crown Inspector's handstamp.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Letters from Taunton in 1760 and in 1769

Taunton had two similar handstamps in use, one measuring 42x7 mm (SO 751) in use from 1759 to 1769, followed by another measuring 41x6 mm (SO 754) in use from 1769 to 1777.  This second handstamp can be readily distinguished from the first by having a flatter bottom to the "U" in "TAUNTON".

Here is an example of the first handstamp (SO 751), used in October 1760 on an entire from Taunton to Kingweston near Somerton.  The contents relate to supplies to be sent to an Estate in Jamaica, containng a list of goods.

The entire below has an early example of the second handstamp (SO 754) used in July 1769.  The entire was sent from Taunton to Dorchester with the instruction "Turn at Sarum" (Salisbury).  This avoided going into London and thus a second 4d charge (before 1797 letters going through London where charged separately for the journey to London and the journey from London; from 1797 letters were charged based on the total distance).

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Are these Taunton handstamps from 1790 & 1791 the same ?

The British County Catalogue (BCC, published 1990) has two Taunton straight-line handstamps of similar sizes with overlapping date ranges.  SO 766 is in the BCC as 41x5 mm with usage of 1789-1792 while SO 769 is in as 40x4 mm with usage of  1790-1793.

Below are two examples of the handstamp(s), one from 1790 and the other from 1791.


The lower strike (1791) perhaps looks to the naked eye as not as tall or as wide, but it is not as clear or well struck and is missing the serifs on the right-hand side.  When the scans are overlaid on the computer the letters match very well.

Using the computer to measure the clearer (top) scan gives a measurement 40.5 x 4.4 mm, almost exactly the middle of the two measures in the BCC.

I think these are probably the same handstamp (so SO 766 = SO 769).

Here are full scans of the two entires that the handstamps have been taken from.

Entire from Taunton to London with a straight-line "TAUNTON" and London receiving mark for 6th March 1790.

Entire from Taunton to London with a straight-line "TAUNTON" and London receiving mark for 23rd April 1791.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

A Receipt [Recipe] for a Winter Salad

As further encouragement that one should always look at the contents of a letter, the item below dated 9th February 1840 from Taunton to Beaconsfield has some interesting contents.

The contents are a "Receipt" or recipe for a Winter Salad in verse:

Conveniently the recipe in verse is also expressed in plain text:

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Taunton Parcel Post Labels, 1885-1912

The sheet below displays a number of Taunton Parcel Post Labels (PPLs) of different formats, used from 1885 to 1912 with differences in format (some minor).

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Coaching Inn receipt from the Crown Inn, Blandford c.1790

Below is a receipt from the Crown Inn, Blandford from between c.1786 and c.1795.  The receipt indicates that "The Mail Coach Post Stop Here" and "Coach & Diligence every Day".

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Setting the Cider Price, 1930

The envelope below has a fairly poor "NORTH PETHERTON / BRIDGWATER" double circle double-arc cancel dated October 1930. 

What makes this item interesting are the contents - a letter from "a Meeting of Brewers and Cider Makers interested in the sale of draught cider throughout the South and West of Somerset" which resolved that the minimum price of 1/6d per gallon should be charged - something that would be illegal today I believe !

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Yeovil "J.T.D" perfin, 1903 and "R T/G" perfin 1961

The envelope shown below has a KEVII 1d stamp with a "J.T.D" perfin, sent from Yeovil to Compton Pauncefoot.  The perfin was used by John Trevor Davies, a solicitor in Yeovil.  Perfins were used to prevent theft as the Post Office would not cash a stamp with perfins in (unlike normal stamps which could be exchanged for cash).

Somewhat later, here is another Yeovil perfin, this time a "R T / G" perfin sent within Yeovil in 1961.  The perfin was used by the Road Transport & General insurance company.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Registered Letter to Glastonbury with Banking contents, 1882

The registered envelope below was sent to Glastonbury in 1882.  The contents were a promissary note for £200 and a letter giving the lender a lien on Title Deeds as security.

£200 in 1882 is about £24,600 today, based on the Bank of England's inflation calculator.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Earlier examples of "AXBRIDGE" and "WELLS.S / Penny Post" Handstamps, December 1816

The entire below from Axbridge to Crediton in December 1816 bears earlier examples of the "AXBRIDGE" handstamp, SO 20 (previously known from 1818) and the "WELLS.S / Penny Post" handstamp, SO 935 (previously known from 1817).  The Axbridge handstamp is not crisp and clear like I would expect an early example  to look, but it is definitely an example of SO 20 rather than the earlier and shorter SO 15 "AXBRIDGE (I scanned and overlaid examples of both handstamps to check which matched).

The contents appear to be from a land agent to the owner and include a list of disbursements claimed by one of the tenants.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Bath and Sir Isaac Pitman

Here are a couple of items associated with Sir Isaac Pitman, the first an uprated postal stationery card sent to Bermuda in December 1889, with a printed message on the reverse in phonetic english.

The second item is an envelope from December 1926, by which time Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons were publishers rather than a Phonetic Institute.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Bath 1867 3-Bar Circular Duplex numeral cancel, with Temperance verse on the front

Bath had nineteen different 3-bar Circular Duplex (3CD) numeral cancels.  The example below is of the eleventh, distinguishable by the date and the width of the "B" in "BATH".

The envelope has a temperance verse on the front - one wonders if "Master J Hayward" overindulged at the New Year ?

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Bath 1797

The part-entire below is interesting from a couple of perspectives.  Firstly it has a "BATH" straight line handstamp that was previously known used in 1795-1796.  Based on the postal charge of 1/4d this letter must be from after the new postal rates came in on 6th January 1797, extending the usage of the handstamp to 1795-1797.  Prior to the new rates the postal charge for over 150 miles was 6d; from 6th January 1797 it was 8d for over 150 miles.  The charge of 1/4d would be for a double letter.

The second interesting thing is the contents, being a serious concern about the writer's daughter and the company she is keeping.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

"WESTON-SUPER-MARE / AVON.B" unified machine cancel, December 1976, franking a Green Shield Stamp

One suspects that this might have been a deliberate use of a Green Shield Stamp on an envelope from Weston-super-Mare to Burnham-on-Sea in December 1976 !  I assume it just got missed in the Christmas rush and hence did not get charged postage due.  Second class rate at the time was 6½p.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

"BATH STATION OFFICE / 5" 'Dulwich' example from 1929

The unfranked postcard below sent from Burnham-on-Sea to near Minehead has a "BATH STATION OFFICE / 5"  double circle double-arc (Dulwich, so called because that was where the first one was issued to) handstamp dated 7th August 1929.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Bath straight line handstamp, 1745

In the first half othe the 18th century there are a number of gaps in the timeline where no Bath handstamp are currently known.  A 26x8 mm handstamp was known from 1738 and 1739, a 26x12 mm handstamp is recorded in the British County Catalogue from 1742, and a 28x7 mm handstamp is known from 1750-1757.

The entire below is dated 20th January 1745 inside with a somewhat degraded handstamp that matches the 26x8 mm handstamp from 1738-1739 (checked by overlaying scans of the handstamps).

I have not seen an example of the 26x12 mm handstamp from 1742 that is recorded in the BCC.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

"WELLS-S / 129" Circular Mileage Mark, 1824

 The "WELLS-S / 129" circular mileage mark was known used from 1825 to 1829.  The example below from November 1824 brings the earliest date known forward.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Wiveliscombe 2d Rate

From December 1837 to January 1840 there was a new rate in the General Post of 2d for up to 8 miles.  Previously the minimum official rate in the General Post was 4d for up to 15 miles.  The cover below is from Wiveliscombe to Wellington, a distance of 7 miles, sent in March 1838 and showing a postal charge of 2d.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

"GLASTONBURY" 23mm & 20mm single ring datestamps, 1873 & 1883

Here are a couple of single ring datestamps from Glastonbury, the first from August 1873 is 23mm in diameter, while the second from 1883 is 20mm in diameter.

This first entire was addressed to Shapwick, Glastonbury but by the time of the entire Shapwick had been transferred to come under Bridgwater.

This second example seems to have been mis-sorted at Somerton, going west to Langport rather than directly north to Glastonbury.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Pensford "001." 3VOS cancels on 1884 letter to France

The envelope below from Pensford to France in November 1884 bears multiple "001." 3-bar vertical oval cancels.  This cancel was issued to Pensford on 21st September 1878 and is recorded used from March 1883 to August 1886.  The envelope is franked with 2½d of stamps, that being the UPU overseas rate from 1st July 1875.

 The envelope has an impressed address of "FARMBOROUGH RECTORY, BATH" on the reverse.  Farmborough is about four miles from Pensford.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Bristol Receipt October 1909 - J.H. Mogg Dealer in Works of Arts, Antiquities, Paintings, Furniture &c. at 3 Park Street

 A sideline that I've been increasingly dabbling with during Lockdown is that of commercial Invoices or Receipts that have a fancy billhead, as shown in the item below from J.H. Mogg whose premises were at 3 Park Street.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Axbridge in the Wells Penny Post, 1825

A pair of covers from September and December 1825 sent from Axbridge to London, going via the Wells Penny Post.  Axbridge had a boxed "No.5" receiving house handstamp but mainly used the straight-line "AXBRIDGE" handstamp.  It as also receiving house "No.1" in the Cross Penny Post.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Taunton Maltese Cross with Eye of Providence seal

Here is another example of a black Taunton Maltese Cross from February 1841 (the same date as the second cover on the previous sheet).  This wrapper is distinguished by the small seal which bears the all seeing Eye of Providence. 

This symbol has been part of masonic iconography from 1782 and appears on the reverse of US dollar bills at the top of a pyramid.


Sunday, 6 June 2021

Penny Blacks with Taunton Maltese Crosses in Red 1840 and Black 1841

Here are two wrappers, one from September 1840 and the second from February 1841.  Both bear Penny Black stamps, the first with a red Maltese Cross cancel and the second a black cancel.

In February 1841 the 1d red was introduced and the colour of the cancels was changed from red to black.

Both entires also have a "TAUNTON" double-arc datestamp, the first without a code letter and the second with one.  The code letter was introducted early in 1841.