POSTAL HISTORY  OF NORD
Small and large numeral cancels Local postage rate
1830-1878
German Fieldpost  in Valenciennes 1914-1918 Other  subjects

The date stamps.

During the numerals period, French post offices used a various numbers of date stamps types.
We can count 7 types for the main post offices and 3 for the post office station. These date stamps were used successively or alternately. The advent of a new type did not mean the elimination of an earlier one.
The types of date stamps are different whether it is assigned to a main post office or a post office station.
In France and in the 19th century, when a post office was created, it began its service as a post office station.There are 5 classes of post office stations. A post office could remain a station for a long time or could become a main post office.There was 15 classes of main post offices.


Main post offices date stamps:

A main post office (in french, "Directions" or "Recettes")  can receive and deliver all types of mail including money.Some main post offices can control post office stations (in french "Distribution")
Type 13 Type 14 Type 15 Type 15² Type 16 Type 17 Type 18

Type 13:
The type 13 appeared for the first time in 1830; it was an old date stamp that post offices used during the period of the small numeral cancels. The type 13 was able to be used only or at the same time as the type 15.
Type 14:
The type 14 was delivered in post offices in 1836. One stopped using it in NORD in October, 1855. This extreme date of use can be met for the post office of MERVILLE.
Type 15 :

This type appeared in 1838 and disappeared in Nord at the end of 1869. This date stamp is much smaller than his predecessors because its diameter is only 21 mn.Its longevity allowed it to be associated to the small figures but also to the large figures cancels. The type 15 counts 2 different types; the type 15 with brackets surrounding the department number (57) and the type 15² without brackets which was for such a long time considered as a variant.
Certain offices received both types and the others only one. In NORD, the post offices of ARMENTIERES , AVESNES SUR HELPE, CONDE SUR L'ESCAUT, QUESNOY SUR DEULE, ST AMAND LES EAUX received both types and sometimes used them at the same time or alternately.
The type 15 can be met with the other variants;
district offices district offices mobile boxes

From July 1868, all the new models of date stamps contained a new indication; the (mail)collection. This modification can be met as well for the main post offices as for the post office stations.
The collection number is a important indication for the post users because at that time one can mail and also receive letters many times a day. In big cities like LILLE, there were 7 mail collections and deliveries a day. In smaller cities only 2. At that time, the mail was delivered on Sunday and also on public holidays and even on Christmas day.


Type 16:

The type 16 has the same dimensions as the type 15. It distinguishes itself however from this last one by the fact that the number of collection was added.
The type 16 appears in July, 1868 to replace the type 15. It was delivered to post offices already opened to this date. Certain post offices received and used at the same time the type 16 and the type 17. For the the Department of NORD, 48 offices were delivered with the type 16.
As for the type 15, we can notice the variant of district post offices:

district offices

Type 17:
The type 17 appeared as the type 16 in July 1868. Because of the end of the manufacture of the type 16, it was delivered to most of the main post offices created before July 1868 and the totality of those created later, to September 1875.
The type 17 is bigger (23 mm) and contains the number of collection. It was used for a long time and even long after March 1876. It longevity could be compared with the type 15. Certain offices received or used it rather late.
There also, we can meet variants of district offices;

district offices

Type 18:
This date stamp offers the peculiarity to have the name of the Department unambiguously rather than in the form of number.
It appeared in March 1875 and has been used next to the large numerals during not much time; less than year and even some weeks for certain post offices .The combination of the type 18 and the 
large numerals is relatively difficult to meet in NORD, because this type appears only in the middle 1875 and only 18 offices used it and half of them  from January till February 1876.


The declared value date stamp:
This stamp was tested in Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon from june 1863 and was sent to Departement main cities. This stamps only concerns the money-letters.
Declared value date stamp

Post office stations date stamps:

A post office station always depends on a main post office (and sometimes on 2). It can only receive and deliver mail.
Type 22 Type 23 Type 24
Before using date stamps, these post offices used a linear stamp (in french "cursive"). This postmark showed in italics and in 2 lines the number of the Departement and the name of the town where the post office is located
In NORD, the post office station opened before 1854 used their linear mark at the latest to February, 1855. Some of these offices used besides their postmark a dator (type b).This dator was delivered to post offices in direct correspondence with PARIS. Some offices used 2 linear stamps with different dimensions. These variants did not normally serve at the same time.


Linear stamp Dator B
Indeed, a post office station could not possess 2 linear stamps and if it should replace a damaged stamp by another one, it should at first send the first to the Equipment Office in PARIS (Bureau du Materiel). During the time of the exchange, the post office used a handwritten mark. It goes without saying that these handwritten marks are even rarer than the already little common linear stamp for the department NORD.

The use of this postmark caused rather fast a waste of time (especially in the appearance of the postage stamp) for the post office station that should put on letters at least 2 marks and even 3 for those that had a dator (the linear stamp, the Small Figures and the dator). Moreover, the main post office on which depend the  post office station had to put its date stamp on these covers.
So, to spare time on one hand and have a more solid stamp on the other hand, the type 22 was created and put in service from April 1853.

Type 22:
This date stamp appeared in NORD, according to our current knowledge, at about October, 1853 and disappeared at the beginning of 1870.
The base of this stamp is a type 15 to which one added a dotted ring (distinctive of delivery offices).
One can meet it associated to Small Figures, Large Figures and more rarely with the Small Figures of the Large Figures.

Le type 23:
Only a tiny minority of post office stations used this date stamp. In NORD, only one was equipped with it, it is ANNOEULLIN.
The type 23 was made on a base of type 16 with a dotted ring. It seems in fact that this stamp was only a quickly abandoned attempt.

Le type 24:
It was put in service in NORD at the end of 1869. Indeed, it replaced the type 22 from 1869 and equipped all post office stations created afterward to October, 1875. From this date, it is the type 25 that appeared.The type 25 was not used with numerals in NORD.
The use of the type 24 was very sharply slowed down on January 1, 1874 because of the transfer by Decree of the vast majority of the post office stations in main post offices. By that time, the Administration asked the post office station to filed for the dotted ring of their type 24 transforming them in type 17.Therefore, we can meet from January, 1874 to sometimes later some types 17 in the dimensions of the types 24.


Finally, it is necessary to clarify that all these date stamps (essentially for the main post offices) were not systematically used by all the post offices. Some used only 2 types and the others 5 from 1852 untill 1876. Big post offices as those of VALENCIENNES or DUNKIRK used 2 types only (the type 15 and the type 17) .Other, much more modest, as LE CATEAU used 5 types during this period (the types 14 , 15 , 16, 17 , 18).In fact, the changes of type were more frequent in the small and average post offices than in the big ones for the simple reason that the small offices have generally only a single date stamp in service while the big, to face mail volumes to be handled, have several duplicates. When a small office noticed that its unique date stamp deteriorated, it ordered another copy of the same type of it or a different type if the first one was not made any more (or not in stock at the Equipment Bureau). The big post office could take another new date stamp in its reserve.
Also, the various types did not systematically succeed one another; some lived together a few years or a few weeks


How to find informations?

The informations about French numeral cancels and also date stamps are quite easy to find. Nevertheless, you will have to read several books and catalogues.
- France Oblitérations 1849-1876 : La Poste aux lettres , 17, Fbg Montmartre 75009 PARIS
- Nomenclature des Bureaux de Postes Français 1852-1876. Petits et Gros Chiffres : La Poste aux lettres
- Catalogue des cachets Petits Chiffres des Gros Chiffres : La Poste aux lettres
- Catalogue spécialisé des grilles et Petits Chiffres des bureaux de province (1849-1862) : La Poste aux Lettres
- Catalogue des cachets à date types 11 12 13 14 15 : Jean CHEVALIER ,89 rue de Charenton 75012 PARIS
- Catalogue des cachets à date types 22 23 24 25 : Jean CHEVALIER ,89 rue de Charenton 75012 PARIS
- Les cachets Gros Chiffres refaits de France : J. CORNUEJOLS, LE HAVRE 1978
- Le Nord - marques postales 1698-1876: Mrs DUBUS et FREGNAC 1947
- Les timbres à date manuels des bureaux de poste du département du Nord 1828-1998 : Jacques FOORT , 140 rue de Roubaix     59240 DUNKERQUE
- Catalogue des oblitérations Losanges Petits Chiffres et Gros Chiffres pour le département du Nord (1852-1876) : Emmanuel  LEBECQUE, 59770 MARLY.


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