28 November 2009

Phnom Penh Machine Cancels (II)

(Continue from Part 1)

Generation III

In early 1999 a new cancel was in use when generation II seemed to retire. This new generation III cancel looks similar to generation II, only contents in the die would tell the difference.

In the long rectangular die, the English names "PHNOM PENH" and "CAMBODIA" are now separated by hyphen and the Khmer writings are in comparatively narrow font with no sloped typeface. Inscriptionwise, a very notable difference is the Khmer acronym for "postal centre" is omitted, only city name remains.

The date dial arrangement is the same as generation II. However since 2000 it was getting common to have the order of date & month abbreivation and time swapped:


Philatelist Mr Graham Shaw, in his article "Phnom Penh Postmarks Part 4: 1993-2008" published in the September 2009 issue of journal "Indo-China Philatelist", pointed out that for this generation III cancel "...appears to have been only one time of the day for the formal collection of mail at the central post office, i.e. 9AM". Mr Shaw has a great observation which I did not realize before. I check my collection and would like to make an amendment to Mr Shaw's statement. There are actually 4AM as well, just not often seen. See this 29th June 1999 cover to Germany:

Gernation III was still in use in 2009.

Generation IV
Round dial was back on generation IV cancel which started to service in early 2005. Next to the dial are five wavey killer bars that curve in an upside down way of generation I. Another distinct feature differs from generation I is the new dial bears a single circular edge.

The dial inscribes the city name Phnom Penh in Khmer inside the upper edge and in French "PHNOM PENH. CAMBODGE" on the lower. There is a little mystery right under the date, it is the French acronym "C.A." (for Cabine Arrivée). Its appearance does not make sense as only incoming registered airmail would have cancelled "C.A.".

My wild guess is that generation IV was not intended to cancel outgoing airmail, somehow it joined the service to help out the busy generation III cancel machine, or there was a new location to process mail and so instead of making an additional cancel, it was used with a "no waste" spirit.

In 2007 an error in time indication happened. For quite an extensive period, the time "25h" was shown on the dial. It is not hard to find samples of it.

Generation V
This cancel is the least common. It appears to be in service only in or after 2006 for a brief period. The cancel composes of a round dial which is obviously larger than generations I and IV, and on the right five wavey killer bars, just the same as generation I.


The dial is again bilingual in Khmer and French. This time there is something new, it includes "COD" between the city and country names in French. "COD" is the acronym of "Courrier Ordinaire Depart", it explains the mail is an unregistered outgoing item.

This ends a brief guide to post-1979 machine cancels of Phnom Penh. Information will be updated if I come up with some new discovery.

Click here for part I of this article: "Phnom Penh Machine Cancels (I)".

15 November 2009

Fleurs with Ailes

This 7v bird issue of 28th June 1983 is one of the many COPREFIL pictorial sets disparaged by traditional collectors as wallpaper:

I know these bird FDCs are not particularly handsome, I feature them here simply because of the cachet.

In French the cachet at the bottom left corner says "Fleurs Native". Oops, just now did I mistake these native flowers as birds?

2 November 2009

Phnom Penh Machine Cancels (I)

Postal cancellation machine was invented in the late 19th century. Since independence Cambodia had been using machine cancels introduced by les Français until 1975 when Khmer Rouge made a heavy blow and everything was smashed.

The French introduced meter stamps to the country again in 1992, however it had to wait till 1998 when non-postage bearing machine cancels made their premiere appearance. This "Machine Cancels" series is only on non-postage bearing cancels, for meter stamps please see "1992 Meter Stamps".

All illustrations are digitally colour enhanced.

Generation I

The first machine cancel appeared in 1998 on outgoing mail. It consists of a round postmark dial and five wavey killer bars to its right.

Two concentric circular lines form the edge ring of the dial, the city name Phnom Penh in Khmer and "PHNOMPENH CD CAMBODGE" in French is inside the ring. "CD" is the French acronym of "Cabine Départ", it is unclear why this acronym, which should be for outgoing registered mail only, would appear on the cancel. My guess is that unconventionally here refers to "Courrier Départ", so it only indicates the mail is outgoing.

This cancel was in service from the first half of 1998 to the end of 2004. Here is a sample of early usage:

For unknown reasons, the dial has never been in perfect round shape, and it was poorly engraved in such a way that the inner ring edge had already broken on the left when first put in use (see the above sample), it is likely a rubber dial rather than metal. The cancel worn out quickly after a few months, by August the broken edge extented from the letter "P" of Phnom Penh up to the first Khmer letter "bho". See below a sample from September:

The following is a very late use which shows the broken edge ring did not get much worse since August 1998:

Generation II

In late 1998 saw the use of a new machine cancel.

The cancel consists of a slightly rectangular dial and a long rectangular die. All inscriptions are now in English rather than French.

The sloped Khmer words in the die are "Phnom Penh" and the acronym of "Postal Centre". Underneath are "PHNOM PENH" and the country name "CAMBODIA" in English.

The date dial shows the following information in big letters, in top to bottom order: the city name "Phnom Penh", date & month abbreivation, time, year, and lastly the country name "Cambodia".

Below gives a clear sample of the die:

No variation of this cancel is found, however cancellation shift sometimes gives interesting samples. A position shift when cancelling has made the cover below bear only the dial, then a second print of the cancel left only the die with sufficient ink, resulted in a cancellation of the die and dial position swapped as seen:

(to be continued)

Click here for part II of this article: "Phnom Penh Machine Cancels (II)"