By Alar Pastarus

The lack of cancellers in Estonia was one of the more prominent problems when the Estonian General Post Organisation commenced its activities in November 1918. No general instructions were issued by the General Post Organisation and the re-opened Post Offices had to use all available means and "make-dos". The old Russian cancellers were to be sent to the General Post Organisation for re-engraving and only to some of the Post Offices centrally made rubber stamps were provided. The result was as expected and in the years 1918 - 1920 the number of "make-dos" was substantial.

Alatskiwi 1919 - 1920
Elwa 1919
Keila 1919

All known provisional cancellations can be grouped as follows:

Stamps from ceased Russian era.

Manuscript cancellations with ink or indelible pencil.

Stamps and cancellers, presumably produced locally.

Uniform stamps, presumably ordered centrally by the General Post Organisation.

Various other types of stamps.

Presumably locally re-engraved one time Russian double circle date stamps.

The provisional cancellations can be found mostly on postage stamps of the Flower Design issue. Other issues may have additional value. Provisional cancellations also were performed after 1920 when new Post Offices were opened and regular stamps were not yet available. Both auxiliary postal markings and hand-written cancellations are known.

Forgeries are known. Some bogus cancellations have been reported. Provisional cancellations are not to be mistaken as overprints.

The "Estonia Philately & Postal History Handbook" by Vambola Hurt and Elmar Ojaste (in English and German) gives additional information about the provisional Estonian cancellations.