Mauritius Philatelic Society
The home of modern postal history of Mauritius
   Home      Postmark Project 2018


MAURITIUS PHILATIC SOCIETY

POSTMARK PROJECT 2018

                Our members and visitors to our website will have noticed from our Quarterly Updates and our monthly meeting agendas that as from the second half of 2017 reference was often made to the society’s postmark project. We have been demonstrating, discussing and examining all aspects of the society’s project and explaining on how to gather and compile the information needed. Our main objective is to bridge the fairly big gap of missing and incomplete data on postmarks and datestamps between 1968 and 1988, twenty years during which no comprehensive and chronological listings have to our knowledge been made.

                There are two main works on the postmarks of Mauritius. The first is Edward B Proud’s almost complete “Postal History of Mauritius” published in 2001 on the post offices and postmarks of Mauritius in chapters 4 and 5, from the earliest years when datestamps were introduced in Mauritius through to 1968.

                The second work is that of Peter Ibbotson. In 1991 he published his “Postal History and Stamps of Mauritius”. In chapters 2 to 4 he deals with the period 1834 to 1989. He updated this with his “Revisions and Additions” in 1995. The revisions and additions were a direct result of his several visits to Mauritius between 1991 and 1995 where most of the updating not only on postmarks and datestamps came from information provided by members of the Mauritius Philatelic Society in Mauritius, information which he did not possess in 1991.

                Whereas Edward B Proud’s book is a comprehensive and almost complete record of the whole of the colonial period of British rule in Mauritius up to 1968 Peter Ibbotson’s book in definitely not. Peter Ibbotson’s work is however a useful guide to the postmark and datestamp history despite being incomplete.

                In 1990 the Mauritius Philatelic Society began to record and to publish data on the datestamps and postmarks of Mauritius in its bulletins and newsletters, in chronological order and at very regular intervals. We have as far as it was possible recorded almost all the new Type D double circle circular datestamps (cds) of Mauritius during the last 30 years. Furthermore we have also recorded several other types of datestamps, not yet categorised, which Mauritius Post began to introduce after its incorporation. Some of these datestamps were supposedly introduced for use on “not normal postal business purposes” only to be used for normal postal business purposes. Others were introduced for bulk posting and supposedly “special” postal services. We intend to deal with these not normal and special datestamps as an appendix: The aberration of Mauritius Post’s era has definitely complicated matters.

TYPE D DOUBLE CIRCLE CIRCULAR DATESTAMPS

                In 1992 the then Mauritius Postal Services finally achieved complete and total standardization of Type D double circle circular datestamps  usage in Mauritius and in Rodrigues for cancellation of stamps at all post office counters and in back offices on all its core letters and mail business.

                As far as we have been able to ascertain the only exception to the rule then were the Postal Museum and the Philatelic Bureau services. However in 2002 Agalega and in 2005 Mesnil post offices were supplied with two types of never before categorized cancelling devices. One decade of good work was undone and thereafter anarchy set in and a new era began.

                In 2014 the Mauritius Philatelic Society published a souvenir magazine to mark its 25th anniversary. This publication subsequently won silver certificates at three different exhibitions in which it was entered in Brisbane (Australia), Hong Kong and New York (USA). The Indian Ocean Study Circle subsequently reviewed the 120 page magazine. In a five page article the editor of IO, Eric Hutton, likened the magazine to a book and wrote – “With Proud’s Postal History of Mauritius finishing in 1968, and Ibbotson’s book and the subsequent revisions coming out in 1991 and 1995, there is limited published information on the recent stamps and postal history of Mauritius. So I recommend this publication”.
               Seven years earlier in 2007 the society published a 24 page monograph titled “A Brief Introduction to / The Mauritius Government Railways / Barred Oval Numeral Cancellors / and Double Circle Circular Datestamps / of Mauritius”.

                In both publications the society concentrated on the 25 years, 1989 – 2014, period. We reproduce the two extracts here to start our project as evidence of the data we have accumulated during these years. From the heading of both features it is very obvious that we have focused primarily on the Type D double circle circular datestamps of Mauritius. That being the case our aim is to attain completeness in the compilation of all Types D double circle datestamps data for the period 1989 to date in the first instance and then follow that up with the period 1969 to 1988 in the second phase.

                In the second phase of the society’s POSTMARK PROJECT 2018 we may extend the study to include other postal markings such as automatic machine cancellations and publicity handstamps. How we go about this will depend on several factors.

                We have the information, we have the expertise, we have almost complete data for most of the post offices of Mauritius for the last twenty five years except for that of Port Louis or rather the main Port Louis post office and its allied services datestamps. We are confident that at the end of the exercise we will be able to produce an accurate and up to date work of reference for all those interested in the postmarks and datestamps of Mauritius.

                The Mauritius Philatelic Society embarks on this venture with the premise that “as far as we have established” there is a big gap between 1969 and 1988 and a not so big gap from 1989 to date. We therefore invite collectors and philatelists who may wish to join us in our effort to provide us with data which we may not have – especially on datestamps of Port Louis from 1969 to date. We will acknowledge every piece of data, specimen strikes and other details received and we will give due credit to those whose material we retain. We will also respond to any reasonable requests and queries we may receive from any source. We will however discard and ignore any inappropriate submissions to the project.

                We believe that now is the time to begin serious work on the Type D double circle circular datestamps as well as other datestamps of the POSTMARK PROJECT 2018 of the Mauritius Philatelic Society.

               

FOOT NOTE

(I)

                There were and still are several post offices where the only datestamps issued were the Type D double circle circular datestamp introduced before 1968 continue to be used today. In some cases these datestamps happen to be the only Type D cds ever produced especially for several “one man post offices” where the number of customers and volume of mail even today do not justify their continued operation. The listing of the datestamps from these post offices, some of which have since been closed and then re-opened, will be a relatively simple matter.

(II)

                What has been most inconsistent in datestamps policy is that after having attained complete standardization in 1992 with the withdrawal of the last two Type C single circle datestamp at Rose Belle and Terre Rouge this no mean achievement was overturned with the introduction of the two big single circle Mesnil datestamps, one small Agalega single circle datestamp and the Metalcast double circle datestamps. Worse was to follow with the corporatization of Mauritius Post in 2003. The datestamps of Mauritius introduced since the new millennium will be in the main a messy record of unclassified and non categorised datestamps.

(III)

RODRIGUES

                As far as we have been able to ascertain we have near completeness in our data bank in the case of Rodrigues. Between 1988 and 2018 we believe we have the correct and complete record of Type D cds used in Rodrigues. If this is added to Edward B Proud “Rodrigues” listing ending in 1968 and considering that only one other single Type D cds “Rodrigues” datestamp was introduced (with a line instead of a slug) between 1969 and 1985 before the opening of La Ferme and Mont Lubin post offices in October 1986, which takes care of the 1969-1988 gap, we end up with near totality not only in the Type D datestamp history of Rodrigues but in fact near totality from the beginning in 1861 up to 2018. The only data missing is EKD and LKD of the “Rodrigues” datestamp introduced between 1969 and 1988 for use in Port Mathurin. We have everything from 1989 to 2018 including EKD and LKD*.

     Mont Lubin and La Ferme are both listed as having begun operations on (Monday) 13th October 1986. Whilst this is correct a few covers are known cancelled on (Saturday) 11th October 1986. There was a “soft opening” of these two post offices on that date to mark the presence of the (catholic) Bishop of Port Louis, Rev. Jean Margeot, in Rodrigues. He blessed both buildings for the predominantly catholic islanders on 11 OC 86, as proven by a couple of philatelic covers postmarked on the day, without the time die.

 

* EKD Earliest Known Date /LKD Latest Known Date sometimes EDS Earliest Date Seen / LDS Latest Date Seen

 

Mico W. Antoine
 
 
 
Annex 2007                          Annex 2014