The Barred Oval #71 Postmark “Brunswick”

New Discovery – posted January 2005

The first postmarks introduced for usage in Victoria were the famous Butterfly types, which first saw service in January 1850. Within a year, though, postal officials felt that a change had to be made, as the postmarks were too small to read. To replace them, fifty new Barred Oval handstamps were manufactured in August 1851, although the precise date they came into service is not known. By 1852 they were in common usage, and with the opening of new post offices, additional numbers were needed. Additional handstamps numbered from 51 to 110 were commissioned in September 1852.

While a few of the handstamps are relatively common, most numbers range from being scarce to extremely rare. In fact, Freeman & White, in their landmark book entitled The Numerical Cancellations of Victoria, published in 2001, stated that the numbers 45, 71, 84, and 98 had still not been recorded.

This copy of the 6d Woodblock with a clear strike of barred oval 71 was located in December 2002, in a non-descript small lot of woodblocks. The seller advised that he purchased it in 1996 in a mail auction lot of 6d woodblocks, and its’ significance had been unknown to him.

To date, it is the only example recorded.


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