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General Philatelic/Identify This? : Would Appreciate Help With a Cancel...

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Laeding
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24 Nov 2021
09:36:50pm
Hi, Everyone! Would appreciate your thoughts on this cancel. The Danish West Indies stamp is common. My initial thought was "French Lozenge," but I believe that cancel always has an anchor in it, and is larger than this one. Please share your thoughts! Thanks! Sean.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
30 Nov 2021
07:50:45am
re: Would Appreciate Help With a Cancel...

This seems to be a job for Superman's X-ray vision.
I o not see enough of the cancellation to work with
unles I had a exceptionally clear cancel and could
play "match the dots."

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
pigdoc
30 Nov 2021
12:52:15pm
re: Would Appreciate Help With a Cancel...

Hi Sean,

Thanks to Vince, who supplied me with Robert G. Stone's pamphlet, The Lozenge Obliterators of French Colonies, perhaps we can shed some light.

First, the cancellation appears to be nicely centered on the stamp, so I believe we are seeing it in its entirety.

Here is a page from Stone, showing a variety of lozenge obliterators used in Guadeloupe, St Thomas' closest French neighbor:
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To me, the cancellation on your stamp is similar to one shown here, second from the top in the right column. The dots are irregular in shape, and some of the ones on the edges look more like lines than dots.

The cancellation on your stamp is curious, because it looks like the apexes of the diamond shape are missing - the top and the bottom rows are 3, 4, or 5 dots. The overall shape of the cancellation looks more like a circle than a diamond. Is this because the device was severely worn, with the apex dots missing?

The stamp, which I presume from the colors is a Printing II, would not have been available for use before mid-November, 1877. This is a decade or more after the cancelling device may have been put in use - plenty of time for severe wear to have occurred.

What is the likelihood that a DWI stamp would have been cancelled in a French colony? Very low, I would think. That said, the French packets did journey from St Thomas to Guadeloupe - Ligne C and Ligne E (Stone, A Caribbean Neptune, page 227). I have the same stamp in my collection cancelled with a French Ligne B CDS (in red). I presume that this Ligne B cancellation was applied in a French PO on St. Thomas or on board the ship.

I think it is difficult to rule out that this cancellation is not a fake by either a discarded or retired official device or an unofficial device. And yet, well-known supply chain issues in that time and place could have kept such a badly worn device in official service. If it is a genuine cancellation, it could be unique. I have never seen a reference to lozenge cancellations on DWI stamps. Yet, in this collecting area, anomalies in convention abound. (That's what makes it so interesting!) Too bad that Mr. Stone (RIP) is not here to offer an opinion...

-Paul

PS, a quote from Stone, in A Caribbean Neptune (page 231):

Quote:

"The branch lines E and F from St. Thomas were used considerably for local (St. Thomas) mail with Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Guiana...THe multiplicity of possible routings to and from St. Thomas contributes to a great diversity of covers. Real complexities result when various ways of processing the French mail at St. Thomas are taken into account. Essentially, they stem from the peculiar relations of the DWI post office and the French consulate at St. Thomas, which must be understood in order to explain the covers and markings..."



Stone also speaks to a policy that outgoing letters via the French packets were to go through the DWI post office and charged 3 cents before being turned over to the French consulate. This was to be paid in cash. No mention of whether mixed franking occurred, if the 3 cent fee was paid with postage stamps. There was much private carriage of mails between the DWI post office and the French consulate, so this seems plausible, at least.

Also, the anchor cancelling device was in use only until May 1876.
Quote:

"Thereafter, the stamps were cancelled by either the "Ligne" or "consular" type of postmarks. (Covers are very scarce in view of the short period of validity, through August, 1877, when UPU went into effect)."



Quote:

"At times (see Salles), some of the branch lines (annexes) especially C, D, and E, had no postal agent on board, or their postmarkers were not available, so that no sorter's backstamps appear and the stamps were cancelled on arrival at a post office. Marking on Ligne E mail was rather erratic."





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