Pen cancel

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Stamps of Tolima with a pen cancel.
A pen cancel on a Russian postage stamp.
A pen cancel on a revenue stamp.

In philately, a pen cancel is a cancellation of a postage or revenue stamp by the use of a pen, marker or crayon.

Usage[edit]

In the early days of stamps, cancellation with a pen was common. Today stamps are almost always cancelled with an inked handstamp or a machine cancel as this is quicker to apply. Pen cancels are still sometimes seen today when a postal official needs to cancel stamps missed by the automatic cancelling machine.

There are no fixed terms for the different types of pen cancels, but a cancel in the form of two crossed lines has been referred to as an X cancel.[1] Pen cancels may also take the form of notations by the canceller,[2] the city in which the item was posted or the initials of the local postmaster.

A pen cancel may indicate fiscal (revenue) use; however, in the early days of stamps a pen cancel was sometimes used because no handstamp was available, for instance in Nicaragua where pen cancels were used for seven years after their first stamps appeared in 1862.[3]

Values[edit]

A used stamp with a pen cancel is usually worth much less than a stamp cancelled using a handstamp or machine.[4] In particular, the additional information from the handstamp is lost and the pen cancel may indicate fiscal (revenue) rather than postal use. Pen cancelling is a common method of cancelling stamps used fiscally. Stamps marked valid for both postage and revenue use are usually worth less when fiscally used.

Tampering[edit]

Some people have attempted to remove pen cancels from used stamps in order to make them appear as more valuable mint stamps.

References[edit]

  1. ^ X is for X-cancel alphabetilately.com
  2. ^ "Covers from the Postmark Collectors Club Website". Postmarks.org. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  3. ^ Sutton, R.J. & K.W. Anthony. The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia, Stanley Paul, London, 1966, p.226.
  4. ^ "Grading Guide - Eye Appeal". Professional Stamp Experts. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 

External links[edit]