Maltese Crosses on Mulready Postal Stationery
IntroductionThe 1d and 2d envelopes and letter sheets bearing the design by William Mulready were the world's first prestamped postal stationery available for general use.
An "Obliterating Stamp", in a shape now referred to as a Maltese Cross, was issued to all Postmasters shortly before stamps and the Mulready envelopes were made available to the public. Along with the Maltese Cross obliterators, Postmasters were also sent instructions on how to use the obliterators, as well as details for the red stamping composition to be used.
Although the intention was that the Maltese Cross obliterator would be used only once for each envelope, multiple strikes of the Maltese Cross are sometimes referred to incorrectly as contrary to regulations, which only stated that each stamp must be separately obliterated:
"You will carefully Stamp with the Cancelling Stamp that has been forwarded to you, the stamped Covers and envelopes, as well as the adhesive stamps, the two former must be struck on the figure of Britannia, and in the case of more than one adhesive Stamp being attached to a Letter, each Stamp must be separately obliterated."
Secretary of the Scottish GPO
This display covers a selection of non‑standard uses of Maltese Crosses on Mulready postal stationery and some of the causes of these non‑standard cancellations.
Encyclopaedia of the Maltese Cross Volumes 1‑3 – Professor S. David Rockoff & Mike Jackson
Maltese Cross Cancellations of The United Kingdom – R.C. Alcock and F.C. Holland
The Mulready Postal Stationery – Alan Huggins and Alan Holyoake
May Dates – Mike Jackson