Saturday, July 3, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell Lists: The Centaur Company

"Ripped" cancel taken from a 1/4cent proprietary battleship.
This is the design for all Centaur Company printed cancels.

The Centaur Company produced one of the best known fancy cancels used on the battleship proprietary series. President Charles Fletcher's signature is prominently placed at an angle across the face of the stamp, with the name of the company in the upper left corner.  This cancel can be found on several proprietary values, including the 1/4c, 5/8c, 1c. and 1 1/4c stamps. 

According to Joyce and Chappell, there are three types of Centaur Company cancels.  Of those cancels, type 1 includes all the printed cancels while types 2 and 3 include handstamp varieties.  I find this confusing, and not useful for compiling an updated list of the printed cancels, mostly since types 2 and 3 are not printed cancels.  So for the purpose of compiling this list, and as a policy to be applied for the lists of cancels for future company lists, I will omit handstamp cancels from the revised listings.

Joyce used a protocol for including cancels based on Chappell's original criteria.  From the introduction to Chappell's original list: "Only the printed and typed cancels will be given consideration in this list.  The only exception being those few firms who also had private die stamps in this period.  The handstamps of these few companies are of general interest and I feel they should be included."   The Centaur Company produced its own private die stamp, hence Chappell and then Joyce included Centaur handstamps in their list of types.  But the handstamps they listed are not printed, and may not be exhaustive, and by virtue of being handstamps are prone to innumberable types and subtypes.   I figure that if a new list is of printed cancels, we should keep it that way, and let others who have done more work on the subject of proprietary handstamps handle those cancels.

Thus, I will not include those handstamps -- a much more thorough listing exists of handstamps in the Battleship Desk Reference (BDR), including the handstamps of firms that issued private dies and used printed cancels. 

This means I will dismiss types 2 and 3 in the list below, and focus only on cancel type one, the printed cancels.  This practice will have implications for many other firms, including whether or not there will be a need to renumber the types.  For example, the first few Antikamnia types listed by Joyce and Chappell are handstamps.  If those are removed from the new lists, do the revised lists start with the type originally assigned by J/C or should the type numbers be reassigned?  Whatever the choice, for me the goal is to minimize confusion for those who come to collect these cancels and want to make sense out of them without too much difficulty.

The original Joyce/Chappell list:

Below is a link for an updated Centaur Company printed cancel list.   Unlike previous cancel lists posted on this site, no additional dates to the Joyce/Chappell list have been added.  However, as pointed out above, cancel types 2 and 3 have been omitted.

I am very interested in establishing whether there are other dates that were unreported by Joyce.  Please review the list and submit unknown dates if you have have them.

Below are the Centaur pages from my collection (ex-Tolman) and those of Frank Sente.  Between us we present the majority of Centaur printed cancels listed by Joyce.

Langlois, ex-Tolman Centaur cancels

Frank Sente's Centaur cancels.

1 1/4 cent bottom plate block; Centaur '99 red ink printed cancel.  Scarce in any condition, even more so with Centaur printed cancels.

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