Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

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Kilcockabu
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Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Kilcockabu »

Hi all.
I hope some of our Ireland experts can throw light on the cancellations on these 3 covers from 1979.
The came from an estate collection of a deceased former Inspector in the Irish Post Office.
All three cancellations are similar with the first cover having a handwritten description "SKELETON HANDSTAMP ISSUED TO DELIVERY OFFICES FOLLOWING 1979 POSTAL STRIKE".
My questions are:
1. Why were these issued?
2. Were they actually used and for how long?
3. Are they worth adding to my postal history collection?
Any information would be welcome.
Thanks.
Derek
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Erinmania
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Erinmania »

In reply to your questions.

1/ The origin of the Dublin skeleton handstamp with a letter at the foot of the circle goes back to the postal strike of 1978.
During the strike the Technicians union withdrew their labour of the servicing and maintenance of the automatic cancelling machines resulting in their ultimate breakdown. This resulted into the urgent introduction of a series of skeleton handstamps to cancel both public and official mail. James Mackay noted in "Irish Postmarks Since 1840" that of 17 skeleton handstamps commissioned only 8 were usable and put into service. 10 such handstamps have since been identified with codes C,D,E,F,H,I,J,K,L,O at the foot.
The circumstances of the use of very similar skeleton handstamps in 1979 is slightly different. In 1978 the handstamps were introduced whilst the strike was ongoing and mail was still being delivered. In 1979 the strike (from from 20th February to 26th June) had prevented the delivery of any mail except by locally formed courier services thus culminating in a large backlog of mail. Presumably the strain on the automatic cancelling machines
in clearing the backlog, caused breakdowns which resulted in the skeleton handstamps being re-used with a change of year slug in 1979.

2/ In 1978 the skeleton handstamps were in use during the months of April and May and are known in both black and red ink ( mostly for official mail but not exclusively). The postal strike of 1979 ended on 26th June but it was nearly two months later before the 1979 skeleton handstamps first appeared. Mackay records the handstamp still being used in November 1979 (code F). I would suggest that possibly your covers are "trials" as they did not go through the postal system or were simply "acquired" by the deceased inspector for his own collection.

3/ They are certainly worth adding to your Postal History Collection as the periods of use of both the 1978 and 1979 year dates are quite short but were extensively used.at the time. How many have survived is a good
question ?

Hopefully this is of some use to you.
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Kilcockabu »

Thank you very much Eirnmania for this interesting information.
I suspect you are right about these being trial or "acquired" pieces, similar to the attached, which accompanied them.
These items fall outside my own collecting interest, which is Ireland 1922 - 1959, but I shall keep them for use in a possible swap or trade with fellow collectors in the future.
Regards.
Derek
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Erinmania »

Kilcockabu wrote: ↑15 Jul 2023 22:37 Thank you very much Eirnmania for this interesting information.
I suspect you are right about these being trial or "acquired" pieces, similar to the attached, which accompanied them.
These items fall outside my own collecting interest, which is Ireland 1922 - 1959, but I shall keep them for use in a possible swap or trade with fellow collectors in the future.
Regards.
DerekImageImage
Very interesting note re bag opening handstamp for registered mail and date of first use.
Did your covers by any chance come from the estate of James Drumm or someone else ?
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Kilcockabu »

Hi Erinmania.
I am familiar with the late James Drumm and tried to buy some of his material at auction recently with no success.
These items come from the estate of Paddy Ashton who was an Inspector with An Post and, I believe, a well known collector in Ireland. I bought 3 lots at an auction a few months ago and am only now going through them.
There were a few items that fitted with my collecting interest, Ireland 1922 - 1959, but the majority of the remainder are pre stamp covers from GB and Ireland and QV stamped covers used in Ireland. I hope to sort these in order to sell, swap or trade with collectors. I have already recouped my outlay by selling some British Guiana Specimen Postal Stationery at a Stanley Gibbons auction.
Among the lots, I have also found:

A QV era Temporary Postman Armband said to have been used in Sherrif Street, Dublin

A copy of a draft article signed by William Kane January 1988 entitled DUBLIN 'PENNY POST" OFFICE 1773 - 1840.

An undated copy of a draft petition to HIS EXCELLENCY LORD VISCOUNT WHITWORTH LORD LIEUTENANT AND GOVERNOR GENERAL OF IRELAND from the MERCHANTS OF CORK regarding a proposed trade agreement between GB and USA. The paper is watermarked 1812.

A page with original impressions of METAL AND RUBBER HANDSTAMPS ON HAND IN PHIBSBORO DISTRICT OFFICE, DUBLIN 7. It is signed and dated 3 Feb 1987.

I have attached images.
Regards
Derek
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Erinmania »

Derek,

Thank you very much for sharing. Interesting stuff.
Paul
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Kilcockabu »

You are most welcome Paul.
If I come across anything else of interest or that I need to identify, I will post and would appreciate your help.
Regards.
Derek
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Re: Help identifying cancellations on Irish Covers

Post by Dr Joseph »

I am going through my collection of early Irish stamps and I have found some interesting cancellations.

I am hoping to revive that thread and connect with others who are interested in cancellations on irish stamps
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