You can also collect the postmarks on envelopes, postcards, or
other pieces of mail. These marks are interesting because they show
when and where a piece of mail was posted.
When a postmark is used to deface a stamp so that it cannot
be used again, it is called a
This mark is the oldest postmark
used by a postal administration.
It is named after Colonel Henry Bishop,
the Postmaster General of Great Britain,
who introduced it in 1661.
Named after its inventor, William Dockwra,
this mark was used in Great Britain between
1680 and 1682 to indicate that the postage for
a piece of mail had been paid. It also recorded the
exact hour when a piece of mail was posted.
These modern cancellations indicate where a piece
of mail was posted as well as the date of posting,
and have wavy or straight lines to cancel the stamp.
These cancels consist of bars in rectangular, oval, or circular patterns.
Such cancellations were widely used in Canada during the
MCP 1974.1150.11 ; MCP 1975.1150.12 ;
These designs are stamped onto letters to denote
the special circumstances in which they were posted,
such as the first flight of a new airmail route.
MCP 1974.1513.50 ; MCP 1974.1287.55
These marks consist of a single or double circle and indicate
the date of posting.
MCP 1974.1000.343 ; MCP 1974.1000.320 ;
These cancels, commonly found on first day
covers, commemorate a special taking place on the
date or at the place of cancellation, such as the
issuing of a new stamp.
MCP 1974.1262.44 ; MCP 1974.1295.22
These marks explain why a piece of mail was not delivered.
MCP 1974.1172.3 ; MCP 1974.1159.6
These marks have two separate components: one that indicates
the date of posting and another that cancels the stamp.
Duplex cancels were used in Canada from the 1860s until the 1950s.
MCP 1974.998.91 ; MCP 1974.998.10
These marks indicate special handling of mail in transit.
MCP 1974.1229.1 ; MCP 1990.12.10
These marks are stamped onto a piece of mail to indicate
that it requires greater security in transport.
MCP 1974.1218.4 ; MCP 1974.1192.4