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Country: St. Vincent Clear
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ST. VINCENT - The delayed opening of the BEQUIA office
The PML handbook Page 97 notes that the population of this small island, 9 miles south of Kingstown and first port of call in the Grenadine chain of islands stretching south down to Grenada, was a mere 969 persons in 1871 and 1,118 in 1881, and states “The reason for the long delay in opening the Bequia office has not been explained but on its eventual opening on 9th July 1894 the old “BEQ” datestamp was available for use there". The neighbouring islands of CANOUAN (population 443 in 1891), MAYREAU (population 283 in 1891), and UNION ISLAND (population 889 in 1891) had their extended cds proofed at the GPO, London on 2nd November 1894 and therefore those instruments could not have been present when the offices opened on 1st October 1894. The PERUVIAN VALE cds was also proofed at the GPO, London on 2nd November 1894 nearly seven years after the Peruvian Vale had been opened, and the long gap plugged by provional use of an obsolete ST. VINCENT inscribed datestamp. There appears to have been no request for an extended BEQUIA cds for the mid 1894 opening, and it is just possible that the postmasters were in a quandery, like at the other Grenadine island offices, as to what to do, or use, during the opening days or weeks until an instrument was at hand. Perhaps Bequia left mail uncancelled for the first 10 days as the ERD for cancelled mail is JY 19 94 with the old “BEQ” datestamp, or was the Kingstown Postmaster well aware that sitting in his drawer for the past 22 odd years was the “BEQ” datestamp that had been presumably been proofed alongside the other abbreviates for the opening of mainland village offices on 2nd December 1872. It is possible that any one of these four islands saw a provisional use of the obsolete circled “PP” in black on DLR QV 1d red (SG.48 grouping) as only a single strike is known befitting a very short period of use.

ST. VINCENT - The "CIRCLE OF DOTS" cancellation
The “Circle of Dots”, as described in the PML handbook Page 129, is only known struck in black ink and only found on the 1880 QV 1d olive-green (SG.29, 60,000 stamps invoiced May 13 1880). Of the 12 copies known to me the key stamp to assist in establishing where this mark was applied is the Ex Messenger copy overstruck black “CA” (at Calliaqua) dated JY 30 81. Only 4 offices were using the black ink pad at this time being Barrouallie, Calliaqua, Kingstown, and Mesopotamia. A chart has been prepared to show the nearest known strikes either side of the JY 30 81 date as gleaned from either “loose” dated stamps or covers. Barrouallie had use of both vertical “A10” and “BAR” datestamp, the Calliaqua “CA” datestamp is so commonly applied on SG.29 that a single dated strike effectively rules out its use at that office, Kingstown had use of horizontal “A10”, GB/40c, “K” datestamp, ST. VINCENT cds, which leaves by elimination Mesopotamia as the most likely candidate. The chart shows no dated strikes for Mesopotamia period JA 12 81 to SP 7 82 (21 months) and Peter Jaffe in a Stamp Collecting magazine 18 November 1950 article (no copy of same retained) reported that there was no Postmaster at Mesopotomia at DE 23 80. Only four strikes of black “MES” are recorded after that date on SG.29 being xx JA 81, 9 JA 81, JA 10 81, JA 12 81 and then comes the “unknown period” until SP 7 82. Mail from the village of Mesopotamia would have continued and initial copies may have been “killed” in manuscript before it was thought to apply the wafer seal impressions. The 9th illustration shows perhaps an early combination. Activity at the other black ink offices is shown for the Mesopotamia unknown period JA 12 81 to SP 7 82.