THE EMPIRE COUNTRIES MARK

THE 1924 BRITISH EMPIRE EXHIBITION

IN LONDON

by

Alan Sabey

In the last few years, a great deal of new information has come to light, mainly from fellow members of the Exhibition Study Group, and this article seeks to update information such as the periods of use which has been published previously. There are quite a number of different types of cancellation, some by machine and some by hand, which contain references to the forthcoming British Empire Exhibition.

1. ROLLER CANCELLATIONS

AUSTRALIA

In Australia there were a good many towns spread across the whole country which advertised the Exhibition through the cancellations on the mail. There were two separate types of cancellation referring to the Exhibition where the canceller was rolled across the cover to cancel the stamps.

A. AUSTRALIA'S OPPORTUNITY

The recorded period of use is from March 11th 1923 to March 6th 1924. The style is a double ring circle with a central bar for the date, however there are several variations in the setting of the die.

ADELAIDE / * * * A cover has been seen dated March 8th l924

BRISBANE / QUEENSLAND

CANBERRA. Said to exist but sight of one would prove it.

FREMANTLE / * * *

HOBART / TASMANIA. Here the month is shown as a numeral. E.g. April = 4

LAUNCESTON / * * *

MELBOURNE / * *

MELBOURNE / 1923 The variations in the settings are set out on page 224 of the book `The Lion Roars at Wembley` 1984

MELBOURNE / VICTORIA

NEWCASTLE. The same sentiments apply here too. Said to exist but sight of one would prove it.

PERTH / WA

SYDNEY / N.S.W. Here the fun starts as there are three permutations of the single ring circle:

A. Time, Date, Year

B. Date, Year, Time (Sight of an example on cover would provide confirmation of use)

C. Date, Time, Year

B. ALWAYS ASK FOR AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTS`.

The recorded period of use is from March 6th 1924 to March 3rd 1925. However there are exceptions which will be indicated below.

ADELAIDE / * * *

ADELAIDE / SOUTH AUST.

BRISBANE / QUEENSLAND.

FREMANTLE / * * *

HOBART / TASMANIA.

LAUNCESTON / * * *

MELBOURNE / 1924.

MELBOURNE / * *

PERTH / W.A.

SYDNEY /N.S.W. with the same three permutations.

C. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, MAINLY ABOUT SLOGANS DATED AFTER MARCH 3rd 1925.

The use of the `AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTS` slogan to publicise the 1925 Exhibition

ADELAIDE / indistinct

BALLARAT / * * * Covers seen dated April 7th 1925 and January 1st 1926

BENDIGO / VICTORIA. Cover seen dated January 29th 1926, but not earlier.

BRISBANE / QUEENSLAND

GEELONG / VICTORIA. Cover seen dated September 22nd 1925

HOBART / TASMANIA Month seen shown normally and as a numeral.

MELBOURNE / 1925

MELBOURNE / * * Cover seen dated April 7th 1925

MELBOURNE / VICTORIA

MELBOURNE / 1924. As this was after the 1924 Exhibition in London had closed it must be taken that this was for the 1925 Exhibition.

PERTH / W.A.

SYDNEY / N.S.W. The usual permutations

The slogan is known used in Melbourne in 1926 and 1927, also in Hamilton, Victoria in 1941, in both towns the first line referring to the Exhibition has been removed. It is not known whether Hamilton advertised the Exhibition in the 1924/1925 period. Maybe a collector of Australian postmarks can provide further information.

BERMUDA

Again a roller canceller which was rolled across the cover to cancel the stamps.

The first period of use in black, machines A, B and C July 30th l923 to mid February 1924

The second period of use in blue black, machines A, B and C February 26th 1924 to August 4th 1924

The third period of use in black, machines A, B and C August 11th 1924 to October 28th 1924

It has not been seen used in 1925.

CEYLON

There was a general machine and a Paquebot machine at Colombo and both were in use from at least June 28th 1923 to November 26th 1923. Early slogans from Ceylon are not easily come by.

GOLD COAST

There was a machine at Accra from at least January 19th 1924 to July 22nd 1924.

KENYA

There was a machine at Nairobi from at least November 23rd 1923 to July 17th 1924.

NEW ZEALAND

Four machines used a slogan to advertise the Exhibition,

AUCKLAND April 1923 to March 18th 1924

CHRISTCHURCH April 1923 to March 17th 1924

DUNEDIN April 1923 to March 18th 1924

WELLINGTON April 1923 to March 15th 1924

All records show the commencement date simply as April 1923.

MALAYA AREA

The very scarce roller cancellation of Singapore was in use from at least August 21st 1923 to October 6th 1923.

2. HANDSTRUCK CACHETS

BRITISH GUIANA

Circular type with the Lion in the centre.

BUXTON. July 7th 1923 to August 20th 1924

BUXTON Sept 28th 1925

GEORGETOWN. July 7th 1923 to August 20th 1924. It is believed that there was more than one handstamp as examples have been seen with various indentations. A damaged cachet has been noticed from Georgetown on November 26th 1923.

SUDDIE. Covers seen dated August 5th and 10th 1925

Rectangular type reading ‘British Guiana /1924 / Empire Exhibition’ in three lines

CARMICHAEL STREET. is now known to have been struck at Georgetown.

GEORGETOWN. January 21st 1924 to August 21st 1924.

BRITISH HONDURAS

A large rectangular cachet.

BELIZE. At least July 10th 1924 to October 10th 1924.

COROZAL. Seen July 23rd 1924 backstamped Belize where the cachet was applied.

ORANGE WALL Seen August 13th 1924 backstamped Belize where the cachet was applied.

FIJI

A large handstruck cachet inviting the visitor to ‘VISIT THE FIJI COURT’. Used at the GPO at Suva between October 29th 1923 and January 2nd 1924

JAMAICA

A two ringed oval with a * at each end. UNDATED * O H M S * / FREE / BRITISH EMPIRE EXHIBITION Only one example on a piece has been seen although there are other uses of a "Free" mark from other committees and bodies within Jamaica not related to the Exhibition. The "Free" mark used by the Exhibition committee does seem to be a very scarce item.

MALAYA AREA

Circular type as British GUIANA

JOHORE, BATU PAHAT July 9th 1923 to January 29th 1924

JOHORE, JOHORE August 9th 1923 to January 1924

JOHORE, MUAR Seen on January 21st 1924

KUALA LUMPUR At least June 28th 1923 to September 18th 1923

KEDAH, ALOR STAR September 20th 1923 to October 25th 1924

KEDAH, KULIM Seen on February 7th 1924

KEDAH, SUNGEI PATANI August 21st 1923 to October 25th 1924

Possible period of use

JOHORE July 9th 1923 to January 29th 1924

KEDAH August 28th 1923 to October 25th 1924.

Double oval type which resembles a Victorian Duplex cancellation of Great Britain. The left side has the town and the date and the right hand oval has the Lion and the publicity.

MALACCA August 8th 1923 to August 6th 1924

MALACCA 1925 March 16th 1925 to September 3rd 1925

PENANG May 25th 1923 to September 4th 1924

PENANG 1925 March 13th 1925 to June 20th 1925

SINGAPORE August 21st 1923 to September 4th 1924

SINGAPORE 1925 April 4th 1925 to September 4th 1925

In the case of the 1925 dates, the year in the right hand oval has been filed away.

MALTA

Circular handstamped cachets the same type as British Guiana were used at Valletta, Cospicua and Sliema between May 28th 1923 and August 6th 1924.

There are three versions of the cachet

a Two lines below the feet of the Lion

b A break in the lower of these lines

c Two complete lines, but closer together

TURKS and CAICOS ISLANDS

A Circular handstamped cachet the same type as British Guiana was in use between June 7th 1923 and July 1st 1924.

3. MACHINE POSTMARKS

These are the type of machine cancellations that we encounter on our everyday letters, but the Bombay one is said to have become a difficult to find item.

INDIA

BOMBAY / GPO In use between September 21st 1923 and October 31st 1924. This was for internal mail

CALCUTTA / GPO In use between August 15th 1923 and October 31st 1924. This again was for

internal mail.

CALCUTTA / FOR The same period of use as above, but the use was on mail destined for other countries.

The postcards sent from the Mount Everest Expedition were postmarked when the runners brought them to Calcutta.

JAMAICA

The machine at Kingston was in use between June 18th 1923 and September 16th 1924.

NEWFOUNDLAND

Usage at St Johns between October 10th 1923 and October 31st 1924. It has been reported in a catalogue of Newfoundland stamps that the measurement of the width between the top of `B` and the bottom of `E` of the machine in use between October 10th 1923 and January 5th 1924 was 20.5mm, otherwise it was 21 mm.

TRINIDAD and TOBAGO

A machine was in use at Port of Spain between November 27th 1923 and October 14th 1924.

4. SPECIAL HANDCUT RUBBER CACHETS

This type of cancellation can be a wide area for research and investigation as to how and when the cachet was cut.

MALAYA AREA

KELANTAN, KOTA BHARU used between March 24th 1924 and April 1st 1924 struck in black.

KELANTAN, TUMPAT has been seen on covers dated February 25th 1924 and March 24th 1924.

NORTH BORNEO

SANDAKAN, A crudely made cachet was used at Sandakan between May 5th 1923 and March 16th 1924, and have only surfaced in the last five years after a particular correspondence was auctioned. It was struck both in black and in violet.

5. CACHETS IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE

PALESTINE

An invitation to `VISIT THE PALESTINE PAVILION` was issued in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

This was used at Jaffa and Jerusalem between April 8th 1923 and September 22nd 1924.

 

6. ROLLER CANCELLATIONS IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE

SOUTH AFRICA

The bilingual postmarks of Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa carried publicity for the British Empire Exhibition.

CAPE TOWN / KAAPSTAD in use from June 1923 to June 1924.

CAPE TOWN / KAAPSTAD `PAID` STRUCK IN RED was in use between at least September 10th 1923 and May 1924. Here the names CAPE TOWN & KAAPSTAD are in one line at the top of the circle. A machine mark for the cancellation of ordinary mail has recently been discovered.

JOHANNESBURG in use from July 12th l923 to June 27th 1924.

Undated but coded triangles are known for Johannesburg.

They bear the letters JH in each triangle.

Where the phrase "at least" has been used, it is because no precise information has been kept by the particular country’s Postal Archives and this information has been obtained through investigations with other collectors. It is quite likely therefore that the period of the dates could be expanded even wider.

© Exhibition Study Group 2000

Index