The Sideways Experimental Duplex 1854-1858


These hand stamps formed part of a very important experiment, along with the spoon cancel, in the Post Office quest to find a quicker way of handling the mail, as by 1854 the volume of mail had increased significantly. There were 8 different types of sideways duplexes issued, with 3 sub-types. The first hand stamp was issued on the 31st May 1854, with the last new hand stamp being issued on the 25th January 1858. This display shows examples of all the types and sub-types issued over this period.

Many Towns were issued with more than one of the same type, as well as different types, examples of which are also shown. Because of the cost of new hand stamps, many were recut to save the expense of new hand stamps: again examples are shown. There were many different codes used throughout the use of these hand stamps, mostly letter codes and occasionally number codes, these were usually used to identify the hand stamp, The only exception was London that used mainly numeral codes but occasionally letters. They also used 8mg and 8nt to represent morning and night. It is thought that the numeral codes may have been real time, but there is no proof of this.

(The sections below refer to the original 3x3 sheet arrangement)

Section 1 - Type Ia (total issued 4) and Type Ib (total issued 1).

In these pages you can see an example of each Town to receive these hand stamps. You can see the embossed stamp and a 1d red with a part inscription PRICE 1d per label. Also shown is a 2d blue imperf stamp, which is very rarely seen used with the sideways duplex. The last page shows the only Type Ib hand stamp, which has an oval date stamp instead of a round one and was issued to Reading.

Section 2 - Type II (total issued 138).

This is the 1st section showing the Type II hand stamp, which was issued to more Towns than any other sideways duplex. In this section is a cover sent to the Crimea, a Birmingham recut stamp sent to Australia with 6 1d reds paying the 6d postage, and a Cheltenham recut with a block of 4 1d reds paying an overweight long envelope. Also included are 3 Gosport (the first looks blue but is not), a Normanton with 6 1d reds posted to Jamaica, a cover to Tuscany with 5 2d blues, a 1d and a 2d Mulready and finally a mixed stamp cover with stamp added after the first was cancelled.

Section 3 - 2nd part of the Type II.

This section shows a Bath cover with a 10d and 1/ - embossed stamp to India, along with other covers showing the embossed stamps. Although the Sheerness cover has a poor strike it is a very rare Town which wou1d have been unlikely to have high value stamps. There is an example of a number error of Devonport with the No. 620 (which was Plymouth) and the correct number which was 250. There is an example of the rare Farnborough Station on registered letter along with the other Farnborough Station sideways duplex a Type Vb.

Section 4 - 3rd part of the Type II.

This section starts with a Id imperf on a Brighton cover, followed by a Portsmouth cover that has 1d red C10 P14 and P16 stamps. There is a unique hand stamp as the outer ring has worn away, showing a Type II hand stamp with just the inner ring, it was recut from the Type B original hand stamp that early after its recut had lost the outer ring. Also on this page is a 2nd recut where the outer ring was removed when recut. A cover sent from London then redirected with another 1d being added is cancelled with the Dover hand stamp, a cover sent from the U.S.A. then had a 1d red added for the redirection to Nottinghamshire. There is a Cardiff hand stamp on a 1d paying a rate to France on a printed matter price list. The last two covers are an interesting cover posted to Finland and a lovely hand drawn envelope.

Section 5 - 4th part of the Type II.

This section starts with a Newton Abbot used as a back stamp, followed by a Lewes with a hand struck 2d for an under paid letter, and a hand drawn front. There are 2 covers with extra 1d reds added to pay for redirection. Two covers with two different sideways duplexes. A Brighton Type IID1 and IID2, the rarest of hand stamps - I have recorded only 2 examples of the IID1 and not many more of the Type IID2 hand stamps. The rarest sideways duplex of all, Harleston with this being the only recorded example, and a very rare Havant on a 4d surface printed stamp to France. The last page proves that there was not a Launceston sideways duplex but a date stamp and an 1844 obliterator sent at the same time.

Section 6 - 5th part of the Type II.

I start with a cover which started in France but was posted in England where the scarce Folkestone hand stamp was added, it also shows the other Folkestone hand stamp, a Type VIII (a common one). There are then 2 pages of rare Towns. Then there are some coloured cancels starting with the very rare Battle in blue, this being the only example I have seen apart from 1 in the Postal Museum. Then follows 5 more pages of blue or green hand stamps with the Burnley strike being the only one recorded. Finally you see a Bath Type IIB in blue used as a receiving mark.

Section 7 - 6th part of the Type II.

I continue with coloured cancels starting with the most sought after of all the sideways duplexes, the Kidderminster in red, only in use for a few days straight after it was issued. There is a Maidstone in green used as receiving mark, a Penrith on piece (again it is the only recorded example of this Town in blue). A North Shields with 1 strike in green and 1 in black. Finally a Bradford Type III cover which has been struck on a 1d stuck over another 1d for redirection which had the Type II of Gosport.

Section 8 - Type III (total issued 20) and Type IV (total issued 2).

This section includes Aldershot Camp, the only Military camp with a sideways duplex. Kendal shows the only example I have seen cancelling a ½d bantam stamp. A Sheerness only 1 of 2 examples I have seen on cover. There are a number of strikes on surface printed stamps. finally the two Type IV Towns.

Section 9 - Type Va (total issued 9) and Type Vb (total issued 13).

A Type Va which has the date year then code. Starts with 2 Bath showing two rates to Bavaria Germany, the first via Paris the second via Belgium. A Tenby recut with a 9d surface printed stamp. A Strike on a ½d mauve post card not issued until 1870. A strike of a Taunton in blue, the only coloured cancel I have seen not on the Type II hand stamps. The Type Vb has code date then year. I show Brighton which received 4 different Type Vb hand stamps 2 with the numeral stamp identification No.1 identified as A & B and 2 with the No.2 also identified as A & B. Here are examples of the Type A1 and a lovely Valentine card with a Type Bl.

Section 10 - Type Vla and Type Vlb (London only).

London Type Vla hand stamps were issued to S.E.7, S.E.8, W11 and W12. You will see examples used on a block of 4 1d reds, a 2d blue and a redirected cover. The Type VIb was only issued to London S.E.9, this has the letter S.E in the date stamp one example shows it used as a receiving mark.

Section 11 - Type VII (Birmingham only) and Type VIII (total issued 28).

The first 3 pages are Birmingham, including a Parliamentary notice with a pair of 4d stamps. The remaining pages are Type VIII including 4 1d reds and a block of 4 on cover. Also showing are a number of surface printed stamps, Chertsey being the rarest of the examples shown.

Section 12 - 2nd part of the Type VIII.

I start with a Dartford of which I have seen very few examples. A 10d surface printed stamp from Folkestone to Switzerland. Folkestone boasts the latest recorded date for any sideways duplex of 31st December 1879: I show an example from the 18th December I879. There is a stampless example to Canada and an Isle of Man on a 6d surface printed stamp, the only example I have seen on anything other than a 1d red. Leicester has two long letters, 1 with a strip of 4 1d reds and the other with a 2d blue. Lastly is a redirected cover with a Shrewsbury hand stamp and a copy of the back of the envelope which shows it has been sealed with the selvage of a 1d red plate R16.

The sideways duplex is a very big subject, and I have only been able to show a very few examples of what I have. I have not been able to show as many examples of the types as I wou1d have liked, though I have shown examples of all type issued. I have shown more of the Type II hand stamp, but there were far more of this type than of any other type. For example there were as many as 16 different Type II hand stamps sent to Manchester, all of which were recut at least once, most were recut more than once. To fully complete all of these including the recuts is a lifetimes work, something I have not yet managed to do though there are not many I need. I have spent many years studying this subject and shou1d you wish to know more then there is a book on the subject which I have written.


Frame 1

  1. Introduction 1
  2. Introduction 2
  3. Introduction 3
Type I
  1. Brighton
  2. Brighton
  3. Dorking
  4. Leeds
  5. Leeds
  6. Sheffield
  7. Sheffield
  8. Sheffield
  9. Reading

Frame 2

Type II
  1. Bath
  2. Birmingham
  3. Cheltenham
  4. See sheet 15
  5. Gosport
  6. See sheet 17
  7. Normanton
  8. Sheffield
  9. Oxford
  10. Cheltenham
  11. Portsmouth
  12. Bath

Frame 3

Type II (cont)
  1. Durham
  2. Gosport
  3. Peterborough
  4. Sheerness
  5. Devonport
  6. Aldershot Camp
  7. Farnborough Station
  8. Pembroke Dock
  9. Brighton
  10. Portsmouth
  11. Bristol
  12. Bristol

Frame 4

Type II (cont)
  1. Dover
  2. Dover
  3. Cardiff
  4. Falmouth
  5. Wellington
  6. Newton Abbot
  7. Lewes
  8. Brighton
  9. Rochdale
  10. Launceston (not a sideways duplex)
  11. Darlington with Newcastle and Cirencester with Maidenhead
  12. Brighton

Frame 5

Type II (cont)
  1. Harleston
  2. Havant
  3. Folkeston
  4. Royston and Thetford
  5. Woodbridge
Coloured Cancels
  1. Battle
  2. Brentwood
  3. Burnley
  4. Derby
  5. Torquay
  6. Brentwood and Bath
  7. Kidderminster

Frame 6

Type II (cont)

Coloured Cancels (cont)
  1. Maidstone
  2. Nottingham
  3. Winchester
  4. Bath and Canterbury
  5. Barnstaple and Carlisle
  6. Penrith and Yarmouth
  7. North Shields
Type III
  1. Bradford
  2. Aldershot Camp
  3. Kendal
  4. Leeds and Lynn
  5. Newcastle-on-Tyne

Frame 7

Type III (cont)
  1. Rotherham
  2. Sheerness
  3. Weymouth
Type IV
  1. Brighton
  2. Exeter
Type V
  1. Bath
  2. Scarborough
  3. Tenby
  4. Clifton and Tenby
  5. Cardiff and Taunton
  6. Brighton
  7. Brighton

Frame 8

Type V (cont)
  1. Brighton
  2. See sheet 85
  3. Brighton
Type VI
  1. London S.E.7
  2. London S.E.7
  3. London S.E.8
  4. London S.E.8
  5. London W.11
  6. London W.11
  7. London W.12
  8. London S.E.9
  9. London S.E.9

Frame 9

Type VII
  1. Birmingham
  2. See sheet 97
  3. Birmingham
  4. Birmingham
  1. Birkenhead
  2. Bristol
  3. Bristol
  4. Chertsey
  5. Chertsey
  6. Chichester
  7. Dartford
  8. Folkestone

Frame 10

Type VIII (cont)
  1. Folkestone
  2. Hurst Green
  3. Leicester
  4. See sheet 111
  5. Isle of Man
  6. Ramsgate
  7. Sheffield
  8. Shrewsbury