13 July 2017

A question for a philatelist


The stamp is Norway's Scott, Facit, and NK #1.  The margins leave something to be desired (i.e. width), but on the positive side the stamp is graced with a well-centered three-ring numeral cancel.

But... is the cancel "66" from Fikke, or "99" from Hamar?

My 2004 Norgeskatalogen accords a "66" cancel on a #1 a rarity factor of "RR"(+1,500 NOK), while the "99" receives a rarity factor of "b" (+100 NOK).

Is there anything about the typography of the numbers that allows a 66 to be distinguished from a 99 when the stamp is off-cover?

I'd appreciate any insight on this matter.

8 comments:

  1. I'd guess it's a 66. This way up it looks like a 66, when I turn it upside down, it looks upside down - not like a 99.

    Can you find any other examples of the cancellation? It's possible there's consistency between cancellations in the positioning of the heavier blobs of ink on the periphery.

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    1. The problem is that "66" is a rare cancel. It's difficult to find other examples, even online or in the literature. The librarian at the Scandinavian Collectors Club has been looking through old auction catalogues for me, so far without results.

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  2. What we need here is another X9 and X6 or reversed to see if there is a difference in the 6 and 9.

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    1. I received a note from a man who has created award-winning exhibits of Norway #1. He seemed to indicate that the manufacturing processes for these 19th-century handstamps was variable, so that a 6 in a "26" cancel might not be identical to the 6 in the "62" cancel. Same with the 9s. That kind of variability might doom attempts at extrapolation.

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    2. As soon as I hit publish that occurred to me. I can't tell you disappointing it is to hear my fear born out. Of course there's a poetic beauty in the idea of true handmade craftsmanship, but I digress.

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  3. The typeface used in the cancellation mark is Bodoni Bold, or a similar typeface (known as modern or didone), which became very popular in Europe in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the numerals 6 and 9 in Bodoni are rotationally identical, or nearly so, and the quality of the cancellation stamp prevents subtle distinctions in the character form, anyway. Perhaps some further research about the cancellations in general can yield additional clues: Assuming that the image shown is actually 66, in this orientation there is slightly more space between the baseline of the numerals and the bottom of the inner circle than there is between the top of the numerals and the circle, which visually makes sense. Is this true with other cancellations from Norway (assuming consistent design of the hand stamps)?
    Ask a typographer...

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    1. I agree that the spacing above and below the 66/99 might be the key, because on this stamp the numeral is not perfectly centered. Comparison to a true 66 or 99 on a cover with a return address or enclosure might answer the question.

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  4. Be optimistic that it is a Lemieux and not a Gretzky.

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