There were three basic designs for Edinburgh’s Experimental postmarks which are shown below from the Proof Books. These are the rarest of all the Scottish Experimentals (good copies on cover would undoubtedly fetch several thousands of pounds).

Why these postmarks are so rare is unknown as we would have thought that examples would be plentiful with Edinburgh being the largest office in Scotland. It has been suggested that they were used for special purposes which did not easily fall into stamp collectors hands. However, the few examples I have seen do not bear this out so it looks like it will remain a mystery.

I am including copies of as many of the Proof impressions as are relevant to provide a general picture of these rarest of postmarks.

Type 1

wpe837fce7_0fCharacteristics: Four short bars either side of ‘131’

Proofed: 16th August 1855. There are two further entries of this Type 1 in the Proof Books. The first is during October 1855 which appears to relate to a new handle and perhaps additional Code letters and the second is on 25th December 1855 (did they work Christmas Day?) which relates to the provision of the figures ‘56’ for the following year. There does not appear to have been any other changes to the design of this Type

Known Examples: Rather than quote just EKD and LKD it is felt more of pertinent to quote all examples I have seen in view of the rarity of this Type. They are 22nd August 1855, 26th January 1856, 7th February 1856 and 31st March 1856 (see Picture Gallery)

Known Codes:

Left * H B ?
Right + M X *

 

Scarcity Rating: H (Very Few Recorded)

Picture Gallery

Type 2

wp8589b2ea_0fCharacteristics: Six short bars either side of ‘131’ with the dater portion below the killer portion and NOT cutting into the horizontal bars

Proofed: 20th May 1856. There do not appear to have been any subsequent recuts

Known Examples: Again it is more pertinent to recite the actual days of use rather than EKD/LKD as there are so few examples: 30th May 1856 (x2), 31st May 1856 (x2), 2nd June 1856 (x3)

Known Codes:

Top A E M ? *
Bottom Z W W W X

 

Scarcity Rating: H (Very Few Recorded)

Picture Gallery

Type 3

wpbc727984_0fwp38a1235b_0fwpff150e1d_0fwp30b85b11_0f

Characteristics: Five short bars either side of ‘131’ with the dater portion cutting into the penultimate long bar of the killer portion.

Proofed: 10th June 1856 (presumably two different Types – Screw and Hinge mechanisms). In December 1856 the figures ‘57’ were provided and, as can be seen above, there was a significant recut that took place on 25th February 1857. On 6th March 1857 seven new ‘types’ (i.e. Code letters) were provided and it is in this format that the only examples have been seen by me. It is therefore not possible to compare the 1856 impression with the recut impression as no examples of the former have come to light.

Known Examples: 9th March 1857, 12th March 1857, 13th March 1857 (x4), 18th March 1857, 16th April 1857. All show the year in two digits only and most appear to be in blue/blueish colour

Known Codes:

Top X nil nil nil nil nil nil
Left nil nil H H H W W
Bottom H E E ? N X +

 

Scarcity Rating: H (Very Few Recorded)

Picture Gallery