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Returned Letter Branch cancellation
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Author:  Tony [ Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Returned Letter Branch cancellation


I attach (hopefully !) a scan of a block of 18 Downey Head 1d N11, with the cancellation of Manchester Returned Letter Branch dated 4 Nov 1912. Since this pre-dates the issue of Postage Due labels by some 17 months, I am wondering if this was to reclaim postage on a returned packet. Perhaps someone has the answer, please ?

The third stamp on the middle row has the variety 'Missing Crown'.

Should anyone have any further information on these, for instance any varieties I may have missed, I shall be only too grateful to receive that as well.

Thanks in advance.


Nov 4 1912 Manchester RLB multiple reduced.jpg
(1.68 MiB)

Author:  mozzerb [ Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Returned Letter Branch cancellation

What they could be in that context is something from an internal docket for postage due, a method of accounting between offices -- in the same way as many nicely cancelled high values are.

Even if that's a correct guess, I don't think it would be accurate to think of them as sort of "substitute Postage Due labels" -- because that method of collecting postage due wasn't part of the system until 1914? In other words, they changed the method at that point to use labels on the letter itself with the accounting done right there by the labels, as opposed to keeping track on forms?

Author:  Tony [ Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Returned Letter Branch cancellation

Thanks for this suggestion - I have no idea of the origin of the block, as I obtained it 'as is', without gum, so I have no idea whether it was attached to an internal docket, a form of some sort, or a packet. It just seems a little strange to use a multiple of one penny stamps for internal accounting, when surely there would have been higher value KEVII stamps available for this purpose ? We'll probably never know.


Author:  Tony [ Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Returned Letter Branch cancellation

For those of you who have been awaiting eagerly the story behind this query, I can now provide the answer.

It was, indeed, as a form of internal accounting, but in somewhat specialised circumstances - it was used when individual items, sent out in bulk mailing, had been refused by the recipient and returned to the sender. At the time, there was a charge for this, so the sender of the original items (unfortunately unknown) would have been billed the 1/6d for the return of the items, the money collected being accounted for thus.

Probably not a valuable item, but to me an interesting piece of postal history.


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