Internal Postmarks and Registration Markings of Liberia

This section about postal markings is mainly based on Philip Cockrill’s LIBERIA Series Booklet No. 8.

  • Circular Postmarks

    • Post Office Cancellations

        • hand stamped postmark in blue
        • earliest known use: from first issue onward (MONROVIA, HARPER, BUCHANAN)
        • usual color for MONROVIA; BUCHANAN and HARPER are rare
        CP1_blue
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: from first issue onward (HARPER, MONROVIA, BUCHANAN, GREENVILLE)
        • usual color for HARPER; BUCHANAN, GREENVILLE and MONROVIA are rare; relative frequency of towns, irrespective of color: MONROVIA: 63%, HARPER: 35%, BUCHANAN: approx. 1%, GREENVILLE: less than 1%
        CP1_black
        • hand stamped postmark in green
        • found only on three copies of 24c green (MONROVIA), in same color as stamp, and on the 12c stamp shown
        CP1_green
        • hand stamped postmark in black (occasionally blue)
        • earliest known use: from first issue onward (HARPER, BUCHANAN)
        • this is CP1 beginning to wear with the circle starting to break up
        CP2
        • hand stamped postmark in black (occasionally blue)
        • earliest known use: from first issue onward (HARPER, BUCHANAN)
        • final stage of CP1 with the circle apparently completely missing
        CP3
        • hand stamped postmark in same color as CP1-CP3
        • earliest known use: from first issue onward
        • PAID cancellation additional to CP1 and although carefully applied centrally it is not usually in correct alignment with the rest of the postmark
        CP4
        • hand stamped postmark in same color as CP1-CP3
        • earliest known use: Dec 13, 1884 (HARPER)
        • three line date additionally applied to CP1 and, as with CP4, often out of alignment; usually found on 1882 8c numeral issue
        CP5
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Sep 10, 1880 (MONROVIA); Jul 28, 1880 (HARPER); Mar 15, 1884 (ROBERTSPORT); Jan 3, 1882 (BASSA); Mar 22, 188- (MARSHALL); Jun - 1881 (SINOE)
        • first recorded postmark (by date of usage) with fixed dateline center; known in use for nearly 20 years from MONROVIA and HARPER and approximately 10 years from ROBERTSPORT and BASSA; SINOE is rare
        CP6
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Sep 30, 1881 (MONROVIA)
        • only seen once on the back of a postcard emanating from an official in the MONROVIA Post Office
        CP7
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 20, 1882 (MONROVIA)
        • lettering of MONROVIA and LIBERIA as well as overall diameter slightly smaller than type CP6, but three line date exactly the same; this type has also been seen used in conjunction with the CP9x bar obliterators, it is usually placed near the stamps on the front of the cover
        CP8
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jul 31, 1888 (MONROVIA)
        • scarce variety of CP8
        CP8A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jul 28, 1880/1886? (HARPER); Jan 21, 1890 (BUCHANAN); Oct 1, 1893 (ROBERTSPORT); Jun 25, 1900 (GREENVILLE)
        • the small stars are in the shape of minute Maltese Crosses; not recorded from MONROVIA
        CP10
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Dec 24, 1879 (MONROVIA)
        • large lettering and the three-line-date distiguishes this type from CP12, but there is also a variant with one-line-date (CP12A); the date 24 DEC 1879 is found on examples of the 1880 issue which is, in fact, days before the accepted date of this issue; only known from MONROVIA
        CP11
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Oct 12, 1890 (MONROVIA, in violet); Dec 23, 1891 (HARPER); Aug 1, 1890 (GREENVILLE); Jun 15, 1891 (ROBERTSPORT); Nov 1, 1892 (BASSA); Sep 22, 1886 (BREWERVILLE); Feb 4 (CLAY ASHLAND); Apr 26, 1890 (GRAND BASSA); Apr 1, 1890 (MARSHALL); Sep 24, 1886 (MILLSBURG)
        • one-line-date and narrower lettering than CP11, but Cockrill reported a variety CP12A dated Aug 22, 1882 (HARPER, found on Scott 32) with wide lettering like type CP11; the Xs between MONROVIA and LIBERIA are apparently moveable as they can occur at all sorts of angles even as a plus sign, and the angle of one can be different to the other so that it is equally possible for both to be omitted
        CP12
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: May 25, 1892 (HARPER)
        • only known from HARPER
        CP13
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: 1898 (HARPER)
        • only known from HARPER
        CP13A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 25, 1891 (BASSA)
        • differs from CP10 in the circle being 1.5 mm larger in diameter and month and year of the three-line-date being in a smaller type
        CP14
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jul 7, 1893 (ARTHINGTON)
        • similar to CP14 but without the ornaments between the words; first postmark for ARTHINGTON (rare)
        CP15
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 29 (BREWERVILLE)
        • like type CP15, but without year date
        CP15A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: 1896 (MONROVIA, on 1892 issue)
        • like CTO2, but with dateline; rare
        CP17
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Apr 24, 1897 (MONROVIA, in violet); May 4, 1895 (HARPER, in violet); Jan 25, 1900 (BUCHANAN, in violet); Sep 14, 1896 (GREENVILLE); Oct 9, 1903 (ROBERTSPORT, in violet); Sep 14, 1896 (GRAND BASSA); Feb 9, 1913 (MARSHALL); Nov 28 (NANNA KROO); Jun 12, 1913 (RIVERCESS, in violet); May 24, 1912 (POST OFFICE DEPT. - MONROVIA)
        • in type CP18 lettering is close to the circle whereas in the A type it is further away from the outer ring and the letters are taller; CP18A is known from MONROVIA and HARPER
        CP18_CP18A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Feb 15, 1913 (MONEY ORDER BUREAU)
        • one of, if not the rarest postmark of Liberia of the 20th century; probably only used on internal mail
        CZ1
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: May 20, 1900 (MONROVIA, in violet); Jan 1, 1909 (HARPER, in violet); May 11, 1901 (BUCHANAN, in violet); Oct 19, 1912 (GREENVILLE); Aug 1911 (ROBERTSPORT); Jun 17, 1914 (MARSHALL); Nov 1928 (NANNA KROO, smaller sized postmark)
        • first Registration postmark which appears to have come into use in 1900 according to Colonel Rogers’ records; known in use until as late as 1925
        CP20
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Apr 12, 1905 (MONROVIA, in violet); Sep 7, 1905 (HARPER, in violet); Apr 23, 1906 (BUCHANAN, in violet)
        • in use for about ten years from all three towns
        CP19
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jul 2, 1914 (RIVERCESS)
        • Maltese cross ornaments either side between RIVERCESS and LIBERIA; not to be confused with CP19
        CP23
        • hand stamped postmark in black, violet or blue
        • earliest known use: Jan 10, 1910 (MONROVIA, in violet, blue, blue/black); Jan 29, 1918 (HARPER, in violet); Jan 26, 1915 (BUCHANAN, in violet, blue, blue/black); Aug 16, 1917 (GREENVILLE, in violet, blue, blue/black); Nov 14, 1920 (ROBERTSPORT); Nov 4, 1937 (BASSA); Sep 14, 1920 (MARSHALL); May 19, 1920 (RIVERCESS, in violet, blue, blue/black); Jun 21, 1939 (KAKATA, year in full and slightly larger postmark)
        • also found as CTO on sets printed in Germany (1920/21 - 1924) with many different dates from MONROVIA, HARPER, BUCHANAN, GREENVILLE, ROBERTSPORT, MARSHALL and RIVERCESS; there is no major difference between this and type CTO13, thus the much rarer postally used stamps can be indistinguishable from cancelled-to-order without gum, if they have a black postmark from a town listed above; severe cases of break-up of the lines across the inner circle (CP21A) should not be confused with the smaller diameter circled type CP22
        CP21_CP21A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Nov 25, 1941 (MONROVIA); Nov 11, 1960 (BUCHANAN, also blank dateline with manuscript date); Nov 15, 1959 (GREENVILLE); May 10, 1945 (MARSHALL)
        • at least 3 mm less in diameter than CP21
        CP22
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Nov 27, 1941 (HARBEL POST OFFICE)
        • Henry Chlanda records a similar, but smaller postmark (30 mm diameter)
        CP24
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Feb 15, 1942 (MONROVIA); Jul 14, 1942 (HARPER); Apr 2, 1941 (ROBERTSFIELD); Aug 23, 1945 (HARBEL)
        • with or without year date; this postmark is very similar to the types used by the British Postal Service at the time
        CP25
        • hand stamped postmark in black, red, green, blue or violet
        • earliest known use: Jul 8, 1947 (MONROVIA, in violet, blue); Apr 21, 1956 (MONROVIA P.O., in violet, blue); Mar 7, 1949 (HARPER); May 11, 1959 (BUCHANAN, in red); Jan 12, 1952 (GREENVILLE, in blue, green); Oct 10, 1951 (ROBERTSPORT, in violet, blue); Sep 1, 1952 (CAREYSBURG); Oct 8, 1946 (GANTA); Feb 20, 1947 (GEDETARBO, in violet, green); Dec 31, 1958 (GRANDCESS); Oct 12, 1948 (HARBEL); Nov 7, 1955 (MARSHALL, in violet); Nov 20, 1959 (RIVERCESS); Jan 6, 1958 (ROBERTSFIELD, in violet); Dec 23, 1959 (SALLALA); Aug 15, 1960 (SANIQUELLI); Jan 4, 1959 (TAPPITA); Oct 12, 1946 (WEBBO); Feb 21, 1956 (WHITE PLAINS)
        • this postmark was introduced during a complete reorganization of the Liberian Postal Service under British Postal Service advisers over a period, probably from 1942-1944, when it was decided to decentralise and open a number of new post offices, in fact almost doubling the existing number; many errors exist with missing dates for year, day and/or month, star where year date should be, inverted figure and letters etc.; variety CP26A has a smaller star and slightly larger lettering
        CP26_CP26A
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Aug 28, 1947 (MONROVIA, separate date); 1947 (MONROVIA POST OFFICE); manuscript Apr 17, 1946 and Jul 22, 1946 (GANTA); undated on 1944/46 provisionals 4c/10c (ZORZOR); manuscript Jul 14, 1946 (TAPPITA POSTAL AGENCY); Dec 3, 1949 (TCHIEN POSTAL AGENCY)
        • lettering is at a slant always; sometimes with separate dateline CP27A
        CP27_CP27A
        • hand stamped postmark in violet
        • earliest known use: Sep 19, 1947 (MONROVIA)
        • similar to CP31, but with separate dateline CP27A
        CP27_var1
        • hand stamped postmark in black or dark violet
        • earliest known use: Jul 29, 1947 (MONROVIA)
        • narrow lettering similar to CP31, but smaller diameter and with larger space for dateline CP27A
        CP27_var2
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jun 6, 1947 (MONROVIA)
        • due to the dateline not fitting in the handstamp recourse had to be made to separate dateline stamping; also known without dateline
        CP31
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Aug 26, 1947 (MONROVIA); Aug 3, 1948 (BUCHANAN); Jul 30, 1948 (GREENVILLE, in violet); Aug 5, 1946 (ROBERTSPORT); Nov 17, 1949 (FOYA, in violet); Jan 11, 1949 (GANTA, in violet); Feb 23, 1949 (GBARNGA); Aug 10, 1951 (GRANDCESS); Jan 19, 1948 (HARBEL); May 11, 1951 (KAKATA); Dec 12, 1946 (KOLAHUN); Jun 21, 1948 (TAPPITA)
        • also reported from HARPER, but no date given
        CP29
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: manuscript Jun 26, 1946 (MONROVIA); manuscript 1947 (HARBEL)
        CP30
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Aug 17, 1948 (MONROVIA)
        • only on FFC with C61 and C62
        CP32
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jan 20, 1951 (MONROVIA PORT AREA)
        CP34
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 12, 1951 (HARBEL)
        CP35
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 23, 1951 (HARBEL)
        CP36
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: manuscript 1946 (HARBEL)
        CP36A
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jan 12, 1952 (MONROVIA)
        CP37
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jun 4, 1956 (MONROVIA)
        • this postmark also exists with the base apparently broken and ‘LIBERIA’ missing; all examples so far recorded seem to have the same time, 9.45 AM
        CP39
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Nov 15, 1956 (MONROVIA)
        CP40
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Dec 9, 1958 (GEDETARBO)
        • known cancelling stamps on same cover with CP26 dated Dec 9, 1958
        CP41
        • hand stamped postmark in black or violet
        • earliest known use: Aug 8, 1960 (MONROVIA); Nov 23, 1958 (MONROVIA, with star above date); Nov 30, 1960 (ROBERTSFIELD, in violet); Aug 19, 1960 (PAYNESFIELD)
        • with or without star or (post office ?) number above date
        CP42
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: May 11, 1960 (MONROVIA)
        • like CP42, but narrow lettering of MONROVIA and LIBERIA
        CP42_narrow
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Feb 28, 1968 (MOBIL P.O. BOX 1.)
        • note spelling ‘MOBIL’ for ‘Mobile’, as opposed to correct spelling on vehicle
        CP44
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Aug 23, 1969 (GBARNGA MOBILE P O NO TWO)
        • created from special postmark used for Bong County souvenir cover of 1967, see Souvenir Items
        CP43
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Aug 14, 1969 (MONROVIA 1); Jan 12, 1970 (MONROVIA 2); Oct 18, 1975 (MONROVIA 3)
        CP45
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Dec 16, 1972 (MONROVIA RANDALL STR BOX)
        CP46
        • machine postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Jun 3, 1963 (MONROVIA); Jul 1964 (ROBERTS FIELD); last known use: Dec 8, 1965 (MONROVIA)
        • Liberia’s first machine postmark; two different dials for Monrovia: second dial with slightly narrower setting of ‘LIBERIA’ only used in late 1965
        CPm1
        • machine postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Apr 4, 1966 (MONROVIA); last known use: Sep 25, 1981 (MONROVIA)
        • same dials as CPm1, but boxed slogan killer ‘CLEAR ADDRESSING SPEEDS YOU MAIL’ instead of wavy lines; postmarks with year dates omitted are from 1977 to 1979 or 1981; two different dials for Monrovia: after initial use of second type of CPm1 change back to first dial in early 1968
        CPm2
        • machine postmark in black
        • earliest known use: Dec 9, 1981 (MONROVIA); last known use: with year date Sep 7, 1982 (MONROVIA), without year date until at least Oct 10, 1989 (MONROVIA)
        • similar to CPm1, but ‘MONROVIA’ in narrower typeface; later use without year date
        CPm3
    • CTO Markings

        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1892 $1, $2, $5 pictorials
        CTO1
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1897 3c and 1913 8c surcharge, 1903 3c, 1903 10c registration set, 1906 and 1909 pictorials, also occasionally on 1892 $1-$5; like CP17 without date line
        CTO2
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found only on 1903 3c black (ordinary stamp)
        CTO3
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1903 10c Buchanan and Harper
        CTO4
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1918 pictorials
        CTO12
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found as CTO on sets printed in Germany (1920/21 - 1924) with many different dates from MONROVIA, HARPER, BUCHANAN, GREENVILLE, ROBERTSPORT, MARSHALL and RIVERCESS; there is no major difference between this and type CP21, thus cancelled-to-order stamps can be indistinguishable from postally used, unless they still have gum on the back
        CTO13
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1928 pictorials
        CTO14
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1936 airmail set
        CTO15
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1937 fauna and 1938 airmail set
        CTO16
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on 1937 fauna and 1938 airmail set
        CTO17
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • found on early Peckmore & Son issues and on E.A. Wright Bank Note Co. printed issues from 1950
        CTO18
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • very similar to CP26, but without dates
        CTO19
        • hand stamped postmark in grayish
        • similar to CTO19, but lettering closer to the circle and star closer to the center
        CTO20
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: 1953
        • so far only on some sheets of 1953 bird issue
        CTOcf21
        • hand stamped postmark in black
        • earliest known use: from 1954 onwards
        CTO21
        • printed postmark in
        • earliest known use: from 1964 onwards by E.A. Wright Bank Note Co.
        • printed on the stamps in the center of every block of four
        CTO22
        • hand stamped postmark in
        • earliest known use: probably from late 1965
        • similar to CTO22, but hand stamped, without date and an ‘X’ instead of a star
        CTO23
        • hand stamped postmark in
        • earliest known use: From 1967/1968 to well into the late 70s
        • similar to CTO22, but hand stamped and without date; became standard throughout the 1970s despite different printing firms being responsible for printing the stamps during that period
        CTO24