Collectors launch census for New Brunswick numeral grid cancels

Earlier this spring, collectors Wayne Smith and Charles Verge published the first release from their New Brunswick Numeral Grid Cancel Census, which will continue to be updated as new data becomes available.

Used from 1853 to the Edwardian period in the first decade of the 1900s, the New Brunswick numeral grid cancel consists of 14 thin, vertical lines enclosed in an oval. Several broken lines at the right side of each cancel surround a one- or two-digit number believed to range from “1” to “39” (although “36” is currently unknown and “37” is only recorded off cover).

The census aims to show each numeral grid hammer’s usage with a detailed list of the 993 known on-cover examples plus the known off-cover examples.

“Several numbers are true rarities and completing a full set is a great challenge for collectors,” reads the census introduction.

While Smith and Verge record 2,024 examples altogether, they believe many more examples could exist. In addition to the census, the authors provide background information about the era’s postal rates and the hammers’ origin and use.

To view the census for free on the British North America Philatelic Society website, visit

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