Thursday, July 14, 2016

Duplex numeral cancellation types on Queensland postage stamps

Duplex cancellers were mainly used at large Queensland post offices from the mid 1880s onwards and combine the functions of a numeral stamp and a datestamp in one canceller, thus saving time. 

The obliterator part was attached by a pin and was not usually removed. The datestamp part was attached by a thread, to allow the date and code slugs to be changed. The datestamp portion exists both framed and unframed.

Because the datestamp was not fixed, it is possible to have variations in the position of the datestamp relative to the numeral portion. 

More information on each duplex canceller can be found on the relevant numeral page and which can be clicked on below

An example of a duplex canceller with a framed datestamp, Longreach numeral 592

An example of a duplex canceller with an unframed datestamp, Townsville numeral 570

Here the Charters Towers 165 and Townsville 528 duplex cancellers are found on the same postcard

The following duplex cancellers are known:

Duplex cancellers by numeral
59 -   Townsville
81 -   Warwick
86 -   Gayndah
87 -   Ipswich
96 -   Maryborough
148 - Bundaberg
165 - Charters Towers
201 - Rockhampton
214 - Toowoomba
473 - Rockhampton
509 - Rockhampton
514 - Rockhampton
528 - Townsville
548 - Mackay
568 - Charters Towers
570 - Townsville
583 - Rockhampton
592 - Longreach
626 - Ipswich, Toowoomba
647 - Toowoomba

Duplex cancellers by post office
Bundaberg - 148
Charters Towers - 165, 568
Gayndah - 98
Ipswich - 87, 626
Longreach - 592
Mackay - 548
Maryborough - 96
Rockhampton - 201, 473, 509, 514, 583
Toowoomba - 214, 626, 647
Townsville - 59, 528, 570
Warwick - 81

Distinguishing the various Rockhampton duplexes
Unique distinguishing characteristics for the date stamp portion of the various duplexes are as follows:

201 has double bars either side
473 has the year in 4 figures and it is usually, but not always, on the top line
509 has a full stop either side and the first line appears to have either time or date codes, numerals 2, 3 and 5 having been seen so far. There may also be two types, one with a 2 figure year (with codes) and one with the year in four figures.
514 types 1 & 2 have a Code in one figure and no full stop after it. A dash or full stop either side
514 Type 3 has a time Code in an unframed circle and 4 small dots either side
514 type 4 has a time Code in a framed circle
583 has the time in the top line. Even when only one figure is present it is followed by a full stop

The date ranges for each duplex can also assist in identifying the correct numeral from the date stamp only

201: 1885 - 1895
473: 1890 - 1896
509: 1893 - 1896
514 type 1: April 1894 - July 1896
514 type 2: August 1896 - August 1899
514 type 3: 1901 - 1909
514 type 4: 1903 - 1908
583: 1899 - 1912

Distinguishing the various Toowoomba duplexes
There are several different Toowoomba numeral duplex types. The only one with a similar date stamp portion (type 4at) to a Toowoomba date stamp is duplex 214. These can be readily distinguished by the separation markings on each side; two short vertical parallel lines for duplex 214 and a short horizontal dash for date stamp type 4at

L-R duplexes 214, 626 type 1, 626 type 2, 626 type 3 and 647. The date stamp portions of 626 type 3 and 647 are very similar

Distinguishing the various Townsville duplexes
There are several different Townsville numeral duplex types. All have a 3 line date. 59 and 528 type 1 and 528 type 2 have a code number in the top line while 570 has the time in the top line

Top row, L-R duplexes 59, 528 type 1, 528 type 2. Bottom row 570 duplex and numeral portions types 1 and 2, with type 1 having a noticeably fuller '0' of '570'. The date stamp portions of 59 and 570 are very similar, with 570 being slightly larger and having a time code

Dates are; 59 (Dec 1887 - Oct 1895), 528 type 1 (Jan 1896 - Jan 1901), 528 type 2 (Jan 1901 - Oct 1907), 570 type 1 (Apr 1898 - Sep 1906) and 570 type 2 (Oct 1907 - May 1911)

Codes are: 59 (1 - 10), 528 type 1 (1 - 14, 18 - 20, 24), 528 type 2 (1 - 23) 

Cowan and Dell pages
Here is information found in Cowan and Dell (Queensland Datestamps and Postal Markings) on the various Queensland duplex cancels and reproduced here with permission

This extract is taken from Hugh Campbell, Queensland Postal History, pp. 189-98. Please note that as it was published in 1988, some of the information is now out of date and much of it has been superceded by Cowan and Dell

Brisbane Duplex Cancellers
The purpose of duplex cancellers was to combine the functions of obliterator and datestamp in the one instrument. New South Wales had experimented with them in Sydney, and when Brisbane became a General Post Office, duplex cancellers were among the instruments originally provided. 
However, it would appear that when the original duplexes reached the end of their useful life, further duplex cancellers
were not provided for some years. There was a further experiment with them in 1867-6
8, then a further gap until 1880
, when they came to stay until they were gradually superseded by the machine cancellations. There were several different series, and their use continued at least up to 1911.

As the reason for usage was to combine obliterator and datestamp, the duplexes were used mainly as departure marking; when code letters and numerals began to be
incorporated in the datestamp portion, therefore, most series showed numeral codes. Duplex cancellers were, however, used on transit or arrival mail occasionally, for some reason, and at least one series shows code letters.

In Mr R. Tobin's book Postmarks of New South Wales, he gives a schematic illustration of the make—up of a duplex obliterator. He was referring, of course, to those used in New South Wales, but I imagine that those used in Queensland would be similar. The illustration shows that the obliterator portion was attached to the frame by a pin through the shank, and normally was not removed. The datestamp portion, on the other hand, was attached by a screw mechanism, which was undone to enable the change of date and code slugs. If, therefore, after such a change a different thread were engaged, or on screwing up a different degree of tightness was achieved, there would be a change in the position of the datestamp in relation to the obliterator. Such changes to their relative positions are in consequence of little philatelic importance.

I am uncertain if Brisbane's Type 1 duplex was made in this way, but the duplexes obtained by Queensland at the end of 1885 through Messrs. De La Rue & Co. from Messrs. Edwards Williams of 27 Javin Street, Cripplegate, London EC, certainly were. Through the courtesy of Mr Robson Lowe, I have photocopies of strikes of these from the Edwards Williams "strikes" book. These show the datestamps in different positions in relation to the obliterator, and two strikes have the wrong datestamps and obliterators together. On loose stamps it is sometimes difficult to tell whether the obliterator is single or part of a duplex, but there are few cases where the obliterator portion of a duplex is exactly the same as any single obliterator.

In the previous section I mentioned the duplex instruments manufactured for Brisbane by Messrs Edwards Williams of Cripplegate in 1885. At the same time, sets of duplexes were made for IPSWICH (87), MARYBOROUGH (96), ROCKHAMPTON (201), TOOWOOMBA (214) and TOWNSVILLE (59). These may not all have come into use at the same time, as although I have Rockhampton used as early as December 1885, the next date I have is December 1887 for Townsville. Until recently I thought that the Ipswich one had not been used at all, but I have now found a stamp with a portion of a duplex identical with the 87 — IPSWICH in the "Strikes" Book; it is on a 1d of the 1887-89 issue. This must have been lost or damaged early, as no other Ipswich duplexes are known until 626 was transferred to it in December 1910. Something funny happened to the Maryborough set, as after one with the '96‘ obliterator had had a very short period of use, it was replaced by one with the datestamp attached to one of the 'QL' obliterators made for Brisbane. The one with '96’ returned to use later.

Other types of duplex came into use later, and a few other post offices began to use them. Although the earlier duplexes bore the same number as in the first single obliterator used at a post office, later ones had numbers that would have been
issued to the post office if it had first opened at that time. The ones made by Edwards Williams in 1885 similar to Brisbane Type 3(a) or 3(b), but with a numeral instead of 'QL', we can call Type 1. Those issued before 1898 practically all had
code numbers, and those issued afterwards usually had the time.

Type 1. The obliterator portion consisted of a numeral within an oval of 34 unbroken ‘rays’, and the datestamp portion an unframed circle 22½mm in diameter, with the name round the top, ‘QUEENSLAND’ round the foot, and two curved
bars at each side; in the centre is a code number (occasionally letter) above the month and day, with the year in two digits below.

Type 2. In the obliterator there are 35 ‘rays’, slightly shorter than in Type 1, and the datestamp is an unframed circle 24½ mm in diameter, with a stop or short vertical stroke at each side. The arrangement in the centre varies:
(a) there is a code number above the month and day, with the year in two digits below.
(b) the year in full is in the top line, the month and day in the middle, and a code number below.

Type 3. There are 30 ‘rays’ in the obliterator, the datestamp is 24mm in diameter, and there is a colon between the names; there appears to be a code letter above the month and day, with the year in two digits below.

Type 4. The obliterator portion is similar to the 9—bar numeral obliterator, and the datestamp is an unframed circle about 24mm in diameter, with a stop at each side; in the centre is a code number above the month and day, with the year in two digits below.

Type 5. The obliterator is another bar—type, but there are twelve horizontal bars, the middle six interrupted to contain the numeral; the datestamp is an unframed circle 23½mm in diameter, with a stop at each side, and there is the usual
arrangement of code number above the month and day, with the year in two digits below.

Type 6. The main feature of this type is that the obliterator consists of 24 ‘rays’ in segments, not unbroken as in other types; the datestamp portion is an unframed circle 22½mm in diameter. There are two varieties:
(a) there are four segments in each ‘ray’; in the datestamp there are two curved bars at each side, and there is neither code nor time above the date.
(b) there are three segments in each ‘ray’; in the datestamp there is a stop at each side, and the time is expressed above the date.

Type 7. The obliterator consists of unbroken 'rays', and the datestamp, unframed, shows the time above the date. There are two varieties:
(a) there are 29 ‘rays’; the datestamp is 23½mm in diameter, with two short bars at each side.
(b) there are 30 ‘rays’; the datestamp is 30mm in diameter, with a stop at each side.

Type 8. The obliterator consists of unbroken 'rays', the datestamp is in a circular frame, and in all but one case the time is above a two—line date, but otherwise there are slight differences between those used at various post offices:
(a) there are 32 'rays', the frame of the datestamp is 24mm in diameter, and there are no stops at the sides.
(b) there are about 40 'rays', the frame of the datestamp is 25mm in diameter, and there are small cross stops at the sides.
(c) there are 35 'rays', the frame of the datestamp is 25mm in diameter, and there are small cross stops at the sides.
(d) there are 29 'rays', the frame of the datestamp is 26mm in diameter, and there are small cross stops at the sides.
(e) as (c), but although I am unable to measure the datestamp in the example available to me, I can say that it has a normal stop at each side.
(f) there are 34 'rays', the frame of the datestamp is 25mm in diameter, there is a normal stop at each side, and in the centre there is a code number above a two—line date.

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