Postmark Database Help and Advice

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      The information on this page is intended to aid you in using the postmark database. The intention is to show you how information can be found, how the database is arranged and the way in which the information is recorded. With this information you should be able to locate most marks, not only those that have certain letters in the place name, but also those that fall into specific areas.

Information recorded

      Within the database we record the following ...
  • Place name
  • Earliest known use
  • Latest known use
  • Notes and / or comments and
  • A picture of the item where possible

      When searching the database, you can select the section you wish to search from. This feature is useful should you be trying to identify a place from a part postmark on a stamp, and in this case you would search from the index of names. In other cases you may be looking for marks of a certain type, such as telegraph use, and in this case you would enter 'telegraph' in the search for the notes and comments.

General search information

      The search information that is entered into either seach box can be upper or lower case, so you do not have to worry about uppercase letters at the start of names. The search results returned are the same regardless of which (or a combination of both) are used.

Reference codes

      On the main search of the names index, you will see in the notes section of the results displayed a reference code in red type. This is simply to provide us with information should we need to update the details, such as when an illustration is added or date revisions are required.

Search methods

Matching a place name

      The database was originally intended to allow you the end user to search through a list of place names matching the letters that may be visible on the postmark you are checking. This is useful for finding possible matches, such as when the letters 'berd' are the only visible part. The more letters that can be entered when trying to match a postmark, the better. Fewer letters will return a greater number of results. Thus 'Ab' will return more results than 'Abb' which will return more than 'Abbo' and so on.

Finding duplex and barred numeral cancellations

      In some cases the only part of the postmark visible on a stamp may be the number section of a duplex cancellation. In these cases the number visible can be entered into the search. Thus if the number '1' was entered, all the postmarks with that number in the description would be returned. In cases where the number is part of a duplex, you can use the brackets '( or )' to limit the search. Thus '(1' will return all the results that have a number cancellation starting with '1' and '1)' will return results where the number section ends in '1'. If the full number is visible, both brackets can be used, as '(1)' and this will return only those numerical marks listed as '1'. This method also applies to barred numeral cancellations.

More on finding duplex, barred numeral and other specific cancellations

      In addition to the above methods, it is also possible to seach within the notes / comments section of the database. This feature allows you to search for information from a different angle. For example, the Manchester barred numeral is listed as '498', but if we did not know this and wanted to locate it, we would search for 'Manchester' in the notes section. In the same way we can search using 'duplex', 'diamond', 'circle', 'telegraph' etc .. all of which will show results for certain groups.


      Sometimes when searching for a place name on a cancellation - there may only be part of the top text visible and also only part of the bottom text. In these cases the two sections are entered (one into each box) on the multi-search option. The results shown are where for where both sections match part of the postmark name in the database records.