Date stamps

Not only can you collect numeral cancels on detached postage stamps, you can also collect the various combinations of date stamps with these numerals on letters. During the period of the small and large numerals, there were many types of date stamp (10 depending on the type of post offices).

The nomenclature of date stamps for the Nord lists 7 types for the head post offices from 1852 to 1876 (types 13, 14, 15, 15², 16, 17, 18) and 3 for the post office stations (types 22, 23 and 24). It should be noted that for auxiliary post offices, linear stamps with or without date stamps were also used in conjunction with small numerals.

Post office types

Overall, during the numeral cancels period, there were 3 types of post office:

  • The head office: (Direction or Recette). This was the main office in a town and carried out all postal operations. It could also be responsible for supervising several post office stations set up in the surrounding villages.

  • Post stations: these were small post offices, usually run by a single person, and which carried out the most basic postal operations.

  • Sub-offices: these were set up in the districts of large towns. They depended on the head offices, but carried out all postal operations.

Head and branch post offices dates stamps

Type 13 first appeared in 1830, so it is an old date stamp that offices used during the small numerals period. Type 13 may have been used alternatively or at the same time as type 15.

Type 14 was delivered to post offices in 1836. It ceased to be used in the Nord in October 1855. The post office of MERVILLE  used this cds the longest.

Type 15 appeared in 1838 and ceased to be used for the Nord at the end of 1869. This date stamp is much smaller than its predecessors, measuring just 21 millimeters in diameter. Its longevity enabled it to be associated with both small and large numerals. Type 15 comprises 2 distinct types: type 15 with brackets around the departmental number and type 15² without brackets. Some post offices received both types and others only one. In the Nord, the post offices of ARMENTIERES, AVESNES SUR HELPE, CONDE SUR L'ESCAUT, QUESNOY SUR DEULE, ST AMAND LES EAUX received both types and sometimes used them at the same time or alternately.

Type 16
Type 16

Type 16 has the same dimensions as type 15, but differs from the latter because there is no longer an inner circle and a mail collection number has been added. The postal administration decided that it would replace type 15 in July 1868. It was issued to the head post offices already open on that date, but not after. Some post offices received and used both type 16 and type 17. For the Nord, 48 post offices were given type 16. As in the case of type 15, it is worth noting the variant of branch post offices.

Type 17 appeared like type 16 in July 1868. As type 16 was no longer produced, it was used by most of the head post offices created before July 1868 and all those created after, until September 1875.

Type 17 is larger (23 millimeters) and also bears the mail collection number. It was used for a very long time, even well after March 1876. Its longevity can be compared to that of type 15. Some post offices received (or used) it quite late.

Here too, there are variations from branch post offices.

Type 18 had the distinctive feature of having the name of the department in full rather than as a number.

It appeared in France in May 1875. It was used alongside the large numerals for a short time, less than a year or even a few weeks in some post offices. The combination of type 18 and large numerals is relatively difficult to find in the Nord, as this type only appeared in mid-1875 and only 18 offices used it, half of which between January and March 1876.

The declared value date stamp (with the indication of the date) was tested in PARIS, LYON, MARSEILLE and BORDEAUX from June 1863 before being sent to the capital towns of departments. For the Nord, only LILLE was equipped with it, but rather late, in 1873.

This date stamp is applied to the front of the declared value letters.

Post office stations date stamps

Before using these date stamps, post office stations used a linear stamp.

In the Nord, these auxiliary post offices opened before 1854 used their linear stamp until February 1855 at the latest. In addition, some of them used a type b date stamp.

This date stamp was only provided when a direct correspondence with PARIS was settled. Some post office stations used 2 linear stamps of different sizes.

Type 22 appeared in the Nord, according to our current knowledge, around October 1853 and disappeared at the beginning of 1871.

The basis of this stamp is a type 15 to which a pearled crown has been added (a distinctive feature of the auxiliary post offices).

This was the first date stamp issued for these post offices. It can be found indistinctly associated with the small numerals and large numerals, and more rarely with the small numerals of the second nomenclature.

Only a tiny minority of post office stations used type 23. In the department Nord, only ANNOEULLIN used it. Type 23 was manufactured on a type 16 base with a pearled crown. In fact, it seems that this CDS was only a trial that was quickly abandoned.

Type 24 went into service in the Nord department at the end of 1869. It replaced type 22 from 1869 and equipped all the post office stations created thereafter until October 1875. From this date onwards, type 25 appeared, but it was not introduced in the Nord until well after the large numerals had disappeared.

The use of type 24 was significantly curtailed on 1 January 1874 when the vast majority of post office stations were converted to main post offices by decree. On this date, the Administration asked these post offices to file the pearled crown of their type 24 to transform it into type 17.

Extract from circular no. 110 of 1 January 1874.

Need to find out more?

There are a number of books available to help you with your research.

- France Oblitérations 1849-1876 : La Poste aux lettres, 17, Fbg Montmartre 75009 PARIS

- Nomenclature des Bureaux de Postes Français 1852-1876-Petits et Gros Chiffres: La Poste aux lettres

- Catalogue des cachets Petits Chiffres des Gros Chiffres: La Poste aux lettres

- Catalogue spécialisé des grilles et Petits Chiffres des bureaux de province (1849-1862): La Poste aux Lettres

- Catalogue des cachets à date types 11 12 13 14 15 : Jean CHEVALIER, 89 rue de Charenton 75012 PARIS

- Catalogue des cachets à date types 22 23 24 25 : Jean CHEVALIER, 89 rue de Charenton 75012 PARIS

- Les cachets Gros Chiffres refaits de France: J. CORNUEJOLS, LE HAVRE 1978

- Le Nord - marques postales 1698-1876: Mrs DUBUS et FREGNAC 1947

- Les timbres à date manuels des bureaux de poste du département du Nord 1828-1998 : Jacques FOORT, 140 rue de Roubaix 59240 DUNKERQUE

- Catalogue des oblitérations Losanges Petits Chiffres et Gros Chiffres pour le département du Nord (1852-1876): Emmanuel LEBECQUE, 59770 MARLY