Early Hand Cancels of Victoria

In the early hand cancels of Victoria, B.C., A.M. and P.M. were used to show dispatches up to twelve noon and P.M. after that period. I have a number of early entires and cancels on piece. Among these I found the time element NT.

Victoria has had many types of hand cancels since the first post office was established April 27, 1857. The use of NT is found on many of these—the squared circles, the circle type, and the duplexes.

I found five different NT types in the squared circles. These were (1) Dot under T with short shaft and large N. (2) Dot under T with medium shaft and large N. (3) Short shaft of T with dot and small N. (4) Small NT with no dot. (5) Large NT with no dot.

On the Small Queens were two duplexes: NT with large letters and no dot under T. NT with dot under short shaft of T.

The large circle cancels were also on the Small Queens and the Double Queens and Map stamp. NT small with dot under T. Short shaft T with and without dot. NT with wide N and short shaft T.

On the smaller circle strikes with Victoria B.C. Canada—NT with wide N and short shaft T. NT with normal N and T. NT with no dot under T but with a double crossbar on top of T. NT with tall N and T with dot. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear of further varieties.

Time periods on my specimens are:

Squared Circles – March 29, 1895 to January 5, 1900.
Circle Cancels – June 9, 1893 to April 2, 1901.
Duplexes – March 23, 1900 to January 14, 1901.

Illustrations of these types are shown.

Can anyone of the members get me earlier or later dates to the above – Has anyone seen any articles on this subject – Can anyone suggest the reason this was used?

Despite my working thirty years in our main post office as a clerk and supervisor, this subject drew blanks from the clerks who had been on duty during this period and there was nothing in the records.

Circle date stamp of May 10, 1893 with NT (no dot). (G. Scrimgeour)
Squared circle NT (wide N with dot under T) dated January 15, 1900. An NT/January 20, 1900 example is on the reverse. (G. Scrimgeour)

Originally published in The Guideline, Journal of the VIPS, February 1985 by Lester Small.

About Lester Small
From 1984 to 1988, there were a number of articles about Canadian postal history (most of them about British Columbia) in The Guideline, the newsletter of the Vancouver Island Philatelic Society. Almost all of these were written by Lester Small (Member #341). Lester – a clerk at the Victoria Post Office – was also active in the Greater Victoria Philatelic Society. He organized the junior programme of the GVPS, and looked after the junior stamp club for 35 years.

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