Q118 June, 2013   member 213  CAIRE / T. IMPRIMES / (2)

milli†mes postage due stamp issued that year was cancelled with a date-stamp I have not come across before. The top of the circle is in Arabic - presumably it reads much the same as the French in the bottom sector , that is, CAIRE / T. IMPRIMES / (2).

The back of the cover includes in blue a Cairo roller cancel advertising a fair in Damascus reading "Visit Damascus International Fair 1-30 September 1958". My thanks to member ESC 238 for the translation. A blurred boxed REFUSED - ARABIC - REFUSE completes the markings.

I have attempted to draw the date-stamp and have one or two questions:
1.Has anyone seen this before?
2.Is there a number (1)?
3.What does it actually mean?
4.Does the T. refer to taxe, as in postage due?

As to the meaning, I have referred to my French dictionary for "Imprimes", where it suggests "Book post" when in the plural. As a singular, as often seen written on postcards, it seems to refer to printed paper for which a special rate was available in the early part of the twentieth century..

Reply member 239

I was under the impression that this is a "fairly common" date stamp. However, as I collect anything to do with the Egyptian military, I have noticed that it is often found on the back of mail sent by military personnel endorsed barid el harby (military post). The sender seems to have hoped that this endorsement would grant free postage to family or friends; for this concession, however, barid el harby mail had to be posted in a military mailbox rather than a civilian one.

The 10 milli†mes postage due, double the normal letter rate for the time, is always stuck to the reverse. As far as I known, only numbers (1) (see my illustration, fig.2) and (2) have been recorded.

The Arabic reads safra el qahira (traffic post of Cairo); then matbuaat (printed matter). The T stands for traffic rather than tax and a part strike of this date stamp is recorded in the Blomfield sheets under the heading Traffic. These are therefore transit date stamps. My suspicion is that they record the point where the civilian post took over from the military post.

Now what is really intriguing is the use of the word "imprimes" which also means printed matter and is often found on Egyptian mail either hand endorsed or by a hand stamp. To my knowledge this is the only date stamp specifically designated for this purpose.

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