Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.
Printings, Remainders and Scarcity
The Michel  6 Varieties
The Michel  8 Varieties
Color Comparison of Originals and Reprints
Maps of Heligoland
Postal History      Postal Rates
The Schilling Reprints
Reprints on Lemberger Pages
Genuine and Imitation Paper
Reprint Data Tables    Forgeries
Lemberger and Michel Color Chips
Proofers' Signatures
Proofers: Names and Signature Placement
The Examination of Various Stamps
Higher Value Stamps
The Robert Pollard Study
The Wagner Collection

Heligoland Cancels
(Helgoland Stempeln)

Cancels present special difficulties in the study of Heligoland stamps. Over the twenty-four years in which Heligoland stamps were issued, 38 different cancels were applied to the stamps. However, almost all stamps were cancelled with two basic cancel designs and most of the other cancels are rare. Fortunately forged cancels are mostly limited to these two basic designs. We will consider these basic designs first. Once a collector learns to "see" the cancel, he will not be fooled by a forgery.

The first is the round cancel adopted by the British administration and the second is the Helgoland line cancel used in Hamburg. The British round cancel machine, a common stamping device with a handle—and similar to designs used in other British possesions—featured steel or other hard metal die construction and allowed changes in day, month and year.

Because of the hard die of the cancel face, impressions were extremely sharp when the machines were new and as they wore over time, became less so.


The British cancels are sorted into five varieties of cancels used in sequence over time. (The Germans call the cancel designs englischer Rundstempel .  I use the resulting abbreviation "ERS" to describe the cancel design.) These five varieties were produced with only three machines.

When the first machine (1866-1876) became too worn, it was replaced by a new machine(1876-1884). Something happened to this second machine and the first one was gotten out, repaired and put back into service (1884-1885) (giving the third cancel variety).

When a year later a new machine (the third and last) was finally obtained, it was put into use and produced the fourth variety (April-July 1885). After a few months it suffered a tiny break on one of its edges and this produced the fifth variety (July 1885-1890).

These cancels were all applied at the postoffice on Heligoland. The following illustrations are taken from many sources, some almost one hundred years old. The illustrations are close to actual size, but not always exact.

ERS I (2nd Copy)

ERS Type I
July 1866-
Feb 1876
Dia: 24.75mm
ERS II (2nd Copy)

ERS Type II
Feb 1876-
August 1884
Dia:25.75mm
ERS III (2nd Copy)

ERS Type III
August 1884-
April 1885
Dia:24.75
ERS IV

ERS Type IV
22 April 1885-
15 July 1885
Dia:27.5mm
ERS V

ERS Type V
16 July 1885-
9 August 1890
Dia:27.5mm

Here are more examples to show variations:

ERS I

ERS I
ERS II

ERS II
ERS III

ERS III
The last two digits of the
year are
always raised.
ERS IV (2nd Copy)

ERS IV
ERS V (2nd copy)

ERS V
The break in
the outer ring
is 3mm long.

Below are the images greatly enlarged to enable easy study of the letter shapes and spacing:



ERS I (Large)

ERS I
ERS II (Large)

ERS II
ERS III (Large)

ERS III

      
ERS IV (Large)

ERS IV
ERS (Large)

ERS V

      

Use of the ERS Cancels:


ERS I was used only for: 1—10 11, 12 13a 14a 16a

ERS II was used only for: 11, 12 13a 14a 15 16a 17a-b 18a-b 18c-d 19a,20

ERS III was used only for: 13a 14a 15 16a 18c-d 19a, 20

ERS IV was used only for: 13a 13b 14
16b 18d 19a,20

ERS V was used only for: 13
16b 18e-h 19, 20

Red indicates cancel used exclusively on that stamp.
Blue line means inclusive.

The month abbreviations for the ERS cancels are as follows:

JA  FE MR AP MY JU  JY AU SP OC NO DE

All four digits of the year are ALWAYS present. The day numerals always appear before the month, except in the case of the ERS I, which appears as follows:

From July 1866 through June 1867 the days preceed the months (This is on Hamburg stamps.). Thereafter it is as follows:

JU 23 1867 through JY 2 1868

28 NO 1869   through   18 JY 1873

4 JY 1868 through 24 SP 1868

JY 19 1873   through   JY 24 1873

OC 6 1868

25 JY 1873   through   26 JY 1873

28 NO 1868 through 13 AP 1869

JY 26 1873   through OC 30 1873

MY 4 1869  through OC 3 1869

11 NO 1873  through  30 DE 1873

From 1874 to the end (through Feb 1876) the month always preceeds the days.
These tables follow Lemberger's Helgoland Philatelie.

The next two cancels were applied at the Hamburg Post Office to letters that arrived from Heligoland without a Heligoland post office cancel. This would happen whenever someone would put a letter directly in the mailbox at the port for the steamer destined for Hamburg. Please note the German spelling is without the "i."

Helgoland Langstempel I and II
Left:
Type I—August 1852 to end of 1873,height: 4mm, width (including period): 30.5mm.
Right:
Type II—1872 to August 10, 1890, height: 4.5mm, width (across the midline): 35.5mm


Here is a scan of nine Heligoland stamps. The first three are Type I and the remaining six are Type II:


Heligoland Bar Cancels (96 DPI)

HERE YOU WILL FIND A PAGE with two higher levels of magnification of the above.

This is the beginning of a more extended treatment.

Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.
Printings, Remainders and Scarcity
The Michel  6 Varieties
The Michel  8 Varieties
The Schilling Reprints
Genuine and Imitation Paper
Color Comparison of Originals and Reprints
Maps of Heligoland
Reprints on Lemberger Pages
Postal History      Postal Rates
Reprint Data Tables    Forgeries
Lemberger and Michel Color Chips
Proofers' Signatures
Proofers: Names and Signature Placement
The Examination of Various Stamps
Higher Value Stamps
The Robert Pollard Study
The Wagner Collection

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