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Officially Registered
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Author:  howard H [ Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Officially Registered

Gary Watson has a query about the attached scan as follows:-
The 'OFFICIALLY REGISTERED/AT G.P.O.' (rubber) marking is unknown out here.
On the face of it, it should be a Melbourne handstamp. However, "Mr
Melbourne" (me!) has never seen it before and "Mr Instructional Markings",
Hugh Freeman, has suggested it was applied at London. But there's no London
transit, the only backstamp being the Berlin arrival.

I sent Maurice Buxton a scan and he has commented as follows:-
I don't think I've seen it before, although it rings a very faint bell in an Australian context. There's nothing like it illustrated in the Mackay book. I'm fairly sure it's not a British marking, and was in fact applied in Melbourne, although presumably it must be a rare marking given that Messrs Watson and Freeman hadn't encountered it before.

Given that this appears to be an ordinary stamped registered letter, not an OHMS one, the term "officially registered" sounds like it was one of those registered letters found posted in a letter-box rather than having been taken to the counter as it should have been, and thus treated as registered from then on. However, "officially registered" wasn't a term normally used by the British Post Office as far as I can see -- at least, I couldn't find an example anywhere. That situation was phrased as "posted out of course", and such a letter was "compulsorily registered" .

Also, the "G.P.O." part would be rather unusual for a British marking -- although GPO was a colloquial term for the main post office in a town, in this era to the Post Office it would refer fairly specifically to St-Martins-le-Grand, as I understand it, and anyway, it would be hard to imagine that it could get all the way to London without having been previously registered. And it would be unusual to have such a mark and no British dated office stamp.

I've just done a bit of Googling and in fact came across an auction catalogue -- a Prestige Philately one, ironically -- which had two covers that suggests the above interpretation is the one to go for. Same wording for this situation -- "officially registered". They're lots 460 and 461. It's ... s3_140.pdf.

Can anyone help more??
Best wishes
Howard Hughes
NL Editor

(619.97 KiB)

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