Foreign Mail Postmarks
Each of the Foreign Mail postmark study groups maintains a listing of all the different post offices where a usage of that postmark has been recorded, including the first and latest reported dates. Please refer to the current listings to determine if you can provide information about a new post office, or an amended first and/or last date for an existing entry.
Included are references of recent information published in Japanese Philately. Information about older references can be found in the Japanese Philately Cumulative Index.
Foreign Mail (Roman-Letter) Comb Postmarks used after World War II
When international mail resumed after World War II, a number of offices that had previously used Roman-letter cancellations temporarily resumed use of their comb cancellers. These cancellers had either JAPAN or NIPPON in Part C. As a matter of expediency, these “retro” comb postmarks were tolerated until a new foreign mail marking (the swordguard) was developed and approved by the occupying forces. Different post offices used cancellers with either metal or rubber components, and some of them used both. The OTARU cancel below is an example of a metal type that has large date numbers, while the TOKYO AMF cancel is and example of a rubber type with small date numbers.
JP Vol. 41 No. 5: “Early Postwar Roman Letter Comb Cancellations”, pages 213-227.
JP Vol. 66 No. 6: “Post World War II “Retro” Comb Cancellations: The Kōbe Variations Question, pages 297-298.
Foreign Mail (Roman-Letter) Comb Postmarks used for Administrative Purposes
After the comb cancellation was replaced with the swordguard in 1952, a modified version of the comb cancel continued to be used for administrative purposes. In this modified comb the month appears in Roman numerals, whereas in the earlier combs the month appeared in Arabic numerals.
JP Vol. 64 No. 6: “Roman letter Comb Cancellations Modified for Administrative Purposes after the Pacific War”, pages 247-253
JP Vol. 70 No. 4: “Roman-letter Combs used for Administrative Purposes on Money Orders and Postal Articles to Japan”, pages 176-182.
Foreign Mail (Roman-Letter) Single Circle Postmarks
With the Year underlined
This type was in use in the years 2007 to 2012. The list currently has 271 entries of different post office cancels.
JP Vol. 69 No. 1: “The reorganization of the Japanese post and a new type of cancellation in the years 2007-2012”, pages 18-21
Contact: Anker Nielsen
Month in Roman Numerals with Serif
This type started as an experimental type in some post offices in the Tokyo area from 1 April 2001 and is now in use for part of the post from many more post offices also in other parts of Japan. The list has current 134 places. The illustration shows a case with both line under year and serif in Month.
JP Vol.71 No. 4.: Single-Circle Cancellation Variant – Month in Roman Numerals with Serif, pages 187-189
Contact: Anker Nielsen
Foreign Mail (Roman-Letter) Roller Cancels
References: JP Vol. 68 No. 6 page 333 restart of study group
(a) Two pre-World War II vertical types, used from 1 October 1910, and distinguished by the inclusion of either the word JAPAN or, after 19 Apr 1934, NIPPON.
(b) Three Horizontal post 1 October 1952 types, comprising ISJP categories
- Type A with a 4-digit year: (Listing)
- Type B with 2-digit year from 1 January 1964, further categorized as
- B1 without preceding postal code (Listing) and
- B2 with preceding postal code (Listing).
- Type C with a parallelogram shape and 2-digit year since 30 Nov 1990,
- further categorized as:
- C1 without preceding postal code ((Listing) and
- C2 with preceding postal code (Listing).
(c) Horizontal with the Year Underlined
This type was in use in the years 2007 to 2012. The list currently has more than 40 entries of different post office cancels.
JP Vol. 69 No. 5: “The Underlined Years: Foreign Mail Roller Update”, pages 265-266
Contact: Alan Cowie
Foreign Mail (Roman-Letter) Swordguard Postmarks
This study group also maintains listings of swordguard “variants” comprising those with a 1) Part D half-moon wedge but no Part E (listing), and those with a 2) Part E wedge but no Part D (listing).
JP Vol. 70 No.2 “Swordguard Variant – no Part E”, page 109.
Medium Thick Cords
These special swordguards were in use from 1952 to 1967. Presently there are 365 entries of different postmarks.