Smith Elder & Co Precancel

Precancels of Great Britain

This part of the web site is to consolidate information on GB precancels.

The site has expanded. Click here for a site-map.

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Smith Elder & Co Precancel Henry S. King & Co Precancel William Dawson & Sons 1st Precancel W. H. Smith & Son 1st Precancel Public-Precancel Frank-Precancel Times-Precancel Railway-Precancel
Smith Elder & Co H. S. King & Co W.Dawson & Sons W. H. Smith & Son 'Public Precancels' Precancel Franking Newspapers Railway Precancels
Army-Precancel Booklets T.O.6 obliteration ENT.O.1 Cancel Calendar Embossed Perfin Contributions
Army Telegraphs Booklets T.O.1 to T.O.6 Anomalies Time frame Embossed Perfins Contributions


Precancel Meter Franking

At the 1920 Postal Union Congress in Madrid, the use of Meter mailing was sanctioned for use throughout the world.
One condition was that they should be printed in red ink.
this came into effect on 1st January 1922 opening the way for use in the U. K. On the 5th September 1922,
the Prudential Assurance began using a Pitney Bowes machine. From then on there was progressively less reason to use precancels.

For examples see Jack Peach’s history of meter franking Part 3 available from the Meter Stamp Society in pdf format here.

Anyone have these meter marks on wrappers?


Arthur Wheeler & Co, Stockbrokers of Leicester already used franking machines, each capable of franking 250 items per minute
with marks as shown below (number 9 was also used).

Pitney-Bowes, Leicester-8

They also sent out circulars in envelopes with embossed stamps.

Because of the quantities involved, the Leicester Postmaster agreed to fund a couple of dies that could be used in franking machines to Precancel the embossed stamps. These were in use by 1928, they had the date portion as above but with the letters 'A' or 'B' breaking the bar at the bottom as below:

Pitney-Bowes, Leicester-A

For more information see Jack Peach’s history of meter franking Part 4 available from the Meter Stamp Society in pdf format here.


An interesting use of a franking machine is shown below, presumably where the postal rate has increased and the franking machine in one operation franks the increase and precancels the old embossed stamps turning these into 1d and 1½d respectively.
Alternatively it could have been a mistake, as franking machines could sometimes be used to simply seal envelopes, but the die should have been removed for that.

Franking to Precancel



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Last updated 1st Feb. 2012

©Copyright Steve Panting 2010/11/12 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


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