POSTMARKS and CANCELLATIONS across the globe! [NOT commemorative ones]

Yes, but I’ll need a few days. :wink:

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The first time I saw the ISO date format on postal cancellations, it was in Scandinavia (Sweden I think). I checked, Sweden and Lithuania use ISO format, Norway, Finland and Latvia not (sorry, I don’t have Danish and Estonian cancellations handy). I also have a cancellation from Namibia (previously South-West Africa) with ISO date. I need to find time to make more scans…

The ISO format has the benefit that dates noted in it automatically sort in the correct order on computers. That was the reason for making this format the ISO standard.

Older German machine cancellation preceding the instroduction of Briefzentrum (in the 1990s). It basically looks the same, but instead of Briefzentrum it shows the town name in the top and the postal code in the bottom, exactly the same as in the hand cancellations from post offices.


I got a wonderful Octoberfest cancellation from last year!


Oh sorry, it is commemorative, right? Should I delete it?

Leave it @Martin-CZE it looks good

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The first type of postmark can be obtained at any post office if the clerk is in a good mood.
When I asked at my post office : “Why would you need it ? Your letter will be postmarked at the sorting center.” :unamused: Which brings us to…

The second one which is the regular stamp at Swiss sorting centers, always with the 2 parts.
Unfortunately it is rarely that legible.

I have a question. In some Swiss towns, if you drop mail in a regular mailbox, it’ll get a special-regular postmark like this one :

Would it be considered a normal or commemorative postmark ?
Lots of amazing infos about Graubünden postmarks there !

Edit : By the way, while going through my Swiss postcards, I also noticed an amusing postmark !
02.02.20 - 20
Oh, a nice palindrome (02.02.20(20)) but no, even more fantastic. It was postmarked at 20:00 ! :laughing:


The Postmark is from the Dachstein in Austria. I hope you like it. It is devalued in the city Graz.

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This stamp ist devalued in a post office in Austria.
Postoffice: 8052

Burenstraße 85
8052 Graz-Wetzelsdorf

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This stamp is devalued in St. Johann ob Hohenburg in Austria
8565 is the zip code

Sorry for the bad quality of the picture

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If you would get more informations about stamps in Austria
Please let me know


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Today I was scanning a bunch of postcards and took some photos of cancellations, too. I wanted to share some “rarer” country’s cancellations today:






That is a regular postmark. We had similar ones in Germany until the Briefzentren (letter centers) got to cancel all German mail. Towns and tourist offices can order these (for a fee, of course), and then they are used for all outgoing mail for that town. Most show landmarks of the town, they are advertising the tourist destination. In Germany, the official German name for them is “Ortswerbestempel”, roughly translates as municipality advertisement postmark.

@Cassiopheia: Thanks a lot for these rare country cancellations! :heart:


I’ve recently received a postcard from Ireland with a butterfly cancellation on it (can’t include picture sadly, it was put above sender’s address). It’s basically just the shape of a butterfly, with “Champion Green (…) #SupportLocal” written below. Has anyone seen it?

I wanted to add some cancellations of rare countries aswell but sadly they are all more or less smudgy blobs of ink. If someone is still interested in seeing them please drop me a line here.


I always asked myself, whether these machines only check if there is any stamp or also check for sufficient postage. Does anybody know?

The UPU prescribes an ink line or the side of a cancellation stamp, but a special stamp is indeed much more fun.


I’m interested. Difficult to read is still better than no picture at all… :smiley:

I don’t have any information if (and how) that may be done in Germany, which could be because they don’t want anyone to get ideas how to trick the system…

In Germany, in addition to the dateless and locationless “Nachträglich entwertet” stamp that every mailman is supposed to have, cancellation with the full regular date stamp is permitted as well, in that case a large N (for nachträglich) must be written next to the date stamp. I’m not sure if that’s allowed for foreign stamps as well.

Finally I have dug out an “Ortswerbestempel” from Germany. It’s advertising for the town, and it’s a regular cancellation, all outgoig mail from the mailboxes in that town was cancelled with it. Note: As the cancellation is from 1972, it uses the old West German 4-digit postal code (East Germany also had a 4-digit postal code, but it was in the top of the cancellation). When after reunification (1990) the new 5-digit postal codes were introduced on 01-Jul-1993, those towns willing to pay for a new stamp got a new one (same or different design) with the 5-digit postal code. All Ortswerbestempel were discontinued with the introduction of the Briefzentrum (letter center), the initially 83 Briefzentren (now 82) were opened between 1994 and 1998. So depending on location these cancellations vanished at different times.

Top: Edenkoben (town name)
bottom: 6732 (postal code)
a bit higher: -9.6.72-13 (date: 09-Jun-1972, at 13:00 / 1 PM, the time is not time of cancellation but time of mail collection or office closure (some offices close over noon)
above that: advertisement, illustration of wine grapes and sun, text “staatl. anerk. Luftkurort”
left: “Wald u. Wein” (forest and wine)
right: “Sesselbahn” (chairlift)

Sometimes mistakes happen. Here the advertisement part (government advertisement to work together against COVID-19) was inserted upside-down in Briefzentrum 68:

here’s an early inkjet cancellation from the test phase, Briefzentrum 48 dated 29-Nov-2018 with two advertisement spaces - the final machines, e. g. at Briefzentrum 60, only use one space, but I don’t know if the second space is still technically possible.

Large envelope inkjet cancellation (never has advertisement): Briefzentrum 20, dated 26-Aug-2020-21

Inkjet cancellations are not error-prone… double cancellation, one regular orientation, the other upside-down, Briefzentrum 20, dated 23-Nov-2020-21, large envelope cancellation machine (I’ve never seen upside-down inkjet cancellation from the regular-size mail machine).



I got this beautiful Canadian stamp today, but with the horrible grease-pencil cancel. Oh, Canada! :scream:


By hand from the Czech Republic on a shaped card:

Carefully handstamped from Finland:

A different one from Finland:

Also, Moomin Museum from Finland: