all canceled


how many people look at cancelations. well this person obviously did. in the world of stamp collecting the art of cancelation is laboriously followed by some. the world of the philatelist is filled with countless and unusual titles about the subject: the cancellations of waterbury, connecticut from 1865 to 1890, twentieth century united states fancy cancels, the new york foreign mail cancellations 1870-1876, obliterations et marques postales des etats-unis. of this world one of my favorite categories is fancy cancels. before there were cancelation machines, the individual postal clerk or office would often make their own rubber stamp to cancel a stamp. some of these examples are glorious; carved pumpkin heads, skeleton heads, all types of shapes. this particular collection doesn’t have any fancy cancels but i love it nonetheless. believe it or not this is something i don’t collect. there is so much to love about this collection. the simple rows. the beautiful colors. the repetition. the care in which they were cut out. the handwriting at the top. order. simplicity. color. why did someone collect these cities? what was so special about them? it appears they were collected mostly around 1860. i expect a philatelist specializing in england could shed some light on this particular collection. i am only left to speculate and admire. i recall many of my purchases and this one is no different. this was purchased at the annual epherema fair held in greenwich connecticut. it is usually a high priced affair with few bargains. i don’t think i paid much for this piece. thirty five dollars i seem to recall. i didn’t haggle because i bought a few other things from this dealer. beauties in themselves. paul rand book jackets. no books just the jackets. in perfect shape too, but that’s another story. this little collection wasn’t displayed but was found in a portfolio with all kinds of items. i was thrilled to discover it. i have spoken about my desire to collect ‘collections’, this defines my category of ‘collections of collections’. i do not attend these shows with expectatios as i once did. i am no longer the first in line nor eager to make the definitive find. i have now subscribed to the mantra: whatever turns up. my approach to this blog too!



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  1. [...] Some peo­ple col­lect stamps. Some peo­ple col­lect can­cel­la­tions: [...]

    Pingback by The antiphilatelist « Snarkmarket — 13/01/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  2. [...] More about this collection at amass. [...]

    Pingback by Cancellations « — 14/01/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  3. Cool collection! I’m a Lancashire lass (Preston was my home town and Manchester my University city) so it’s great to see these old stamps from places that I know and love :)

    Comment by Delicious Industries — 14/01/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  4. I’d never heard of ‘fancy cancels’ before- I looked them up, -thanks JP!
    Quite a cool form of intervention- the official-ness of the stamp, versus the more personal mark of the postal worker. The skull ones seem to make the most sense, graphically-but not very subtle!
    (interesting that markmaking can have so many levels of … i dont know what… rawness? as with handwriting- or at the other end of the spectrum, a lofty detachment, as with printed money…)

    I ended up typing “running chicken fancy cancel” into google- and then had to laugh at that bizarre jargon!

    Comment by David Neale — 19/01/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

  5. Nice post! I have to admit that I’m one of those cancellation freaks – I’m not sure where my obsession for type and numbers comes from but it’s still alive. I’ve been collecting stamps since I was 5 and I’ve always had a little side stash of my favorite cancellations. The look, feel of the distressed rubber stamp, like well worn luggage, always seems to reinforce the long journey from home to post box and all the other stops along the way. I still use them in some of my collage pieces as a a sort of visual mixed metaphor:

    Again, cool post, thanks for sharing!



    Comment by H. Michael Karshis — 19/01/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

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