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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

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PatchesLiz
18 Jul 2002
11:41:37pm
Other than having a stamp that has full gum on the back of the stamp and has a cancellation on the front of the stamp, I am puzzled as to how one can actually tell if a stamp is really CTO.

Any suggestions on identifying these stamps would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)
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Rob Vlaardingerbroek (Rob)
19 Jul 2002
03:31:34am
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Hi,

That is an interesting question, and I think you gave the answers. But when a smart aleck soaks them, there will be no gum. Though it is still CTO. When the used cancellation is known on the original CTO's it still can be compared.

I use another system, I don't trust stamps that have a quarter of the cancellation in one of the corners, because that is mostly what happens with CTO's (I prefer bullseye cancellations anyway.)This is no waterproof system, mind you.

Let's see what the experts in the group say.

Regards,

Rob.

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David Teisler (Teisler)
19 Jul 2002
10:07:32am
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Rob's comment is probably the easiest way to tell most CTOs. Note that the cancels are always clean, always a quarter of the full cancel.

In general, stamps from countries that issue CTOs should be considered CTOs unless cancelled in a way that clearly indicates postal usage.

Please also note that some stamps have gum and cancel and are not CTOs. I have seen many older US stamps with cancels and gum.

Finally, many issues are available almost exclusively in CTO fashion. They saw little or no postal usage.

David

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Patches_Liz
19 Jul 2002
02:52:26pm
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Thanks David & Rob:

As a foreign used stamp newbie are there only certain countries who issue CTO's?

I also consider stamps that have been soaked off First Day Covers as CTO's, but Canadian FDC stamps are easily idenitified. They have "First Day of Issue" as part of the cancel.

I've noticed after soaking recently issued stamps from Greece the stamps have a shiny, smooth surface on the back of the stamp that makes the stamp appear as though it still is gummed. These are stamps that have come off envelopes that I have had mailed to me so I know they are not CTO's, even though they have a corner cancel.

I guess we could get really technical as to what CTO really means. If I take an envelope into my postal clerk and request a corner hand cancel, does this constitute "Cancelled to Order" or "Cancelled to Request"?

Just joking - I have a weird sense of humour :)

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David Teisler (Teisler)
19 Jul 2002
03:19:27pm
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Liz,

in a sense, you're right that FDCs are CTOs, but only if they were not sent through the mail stream, otherwise, it's just a cancel. I think FDCs are more analagous to favor cancels, where it is the CANCEL that's important, than to CTOs, which are intended only to demonetize the stamps for the philatelic trade.

as to identifying soaked FDC stamps, US stamps usually have only a piece of a straight line; most often the words are on the cover and the stamp is tied only by the top bar of a three bar cancel with the words in the middle bar.

CTO is generally understood to be a stamp cancelled solely to enter the market without face value.

CTOs are generally limited to Soviet republics and East bloc nations and many post-colonial African nations, plus a few South American countries and a few Asians. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Congo, Ivory Coast, Nicaraugua, USSR, and the Trucial States are (or were) all among the most active players.

David

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virgilp
04 Jul 2019
08:47:34pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

I know collectors who will prefer CTOs. Reason: they are interested more in the stamps, than in postmark. CTOs offer them a clear view and nice undamaged stamps. See how horrible look US canceled stamps? The postmark almost blacken the stamp. When US approvals are offered almost everybody goes for clearer stamps, running away from the awful ones!

BTW, not only Eastern Block has a lot of CTOs. Switzerland is another country with CTOs.

Virgil

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Benque
05 Jul 2019
12:11:16pm
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

If Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck is the subject of the stamp, then for me it is a guaranteed CTO. Confused LOL

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ikeyPikey
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05 Jul 2019
12:29:31pm
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Quote:

"... I've noticed after soaking recently issued stamps from Greece the stamps have a shiny, smooth surface on the back of the stamp that makes the stamp appear as though it still is gummed ..."



I recently acquired, and began using, a Desert Magic Drying Book.

Works like a charm, but I have noticed that many of the WAG (Water-Activated Gum) stamps have what appears to be a very fine (and non-sticky) layer of shiny residue on the stamp.

Unexpected but, seemingly, irrelevant.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Collecting King George VI from all countries, and King Edward VII and King George V from the West Indies.
06 Jul 2019
07:51:23am
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

In the case of both Labaun and North Borneo, there are a lot of CTO's in circulation. These are from stamps issued over 100 years ago. So CTO's are not a new thing. Look for a heavy cancel with a series of thick lines. Those are sure signs of a CTO cancel. Here is an example of a collection for sale on an auction site. It is almost all comprised of CTO's.

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06 Jul 2019
11:06:11am
re: How can you tell if a stamp is a CTO (Cancelled to Order)?

Even Australia is home to CTO's - this one was part of a Presentation Pack and from what I read was limited to 2000 copies, give or take. It has (or had) a higher catalog value than postally used examples.

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