What is A.V.2 Postmark?


Brunei 1947 cover franked with 1c. to $1 stamps (12) bearing the circular A.V.2 mark in black ink

What is A.V.2 postmark?

I recently got this Brunei cover with A.V.2 mark on it. In ebay there're several North Borneo covers that appeared with the same circular mark, and I managed to get another one. A.V.2 stands for "Avion 2", a UPU term that signifies that the letter arrived at a transit point and had to be forwarded by air to its intended destination. It appears in airmail letters of certain countries between 1940s to 1960s. During and after the war, many countries tried to avoid the war zones routes and resulted in longer route requiring transits. A.V.2 is then applied on a letter on top of the bundle in the transit point, explaining the relative rarity of such postmark. The equivalent mark for A.V.2 is the O.A.T mark (usually in red) which means "Onward Air Transmission".

Registered cover from North Borneo bearing the A.V.2 circular mark, 1947.

Another registered cover from Jesselton franked with Sarawak BMA stamps with A.V.2 mark, 1947

A.V.2 and O.A.T postmark

A.V.2 and O.A.T marks are virtually the same. Murray Heifitz did a pioneering research on these and published his findings in the Airpost Journal (from American Airmail Society) in December 1992. According to him, A.V.2 mark was used in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Amman, Cairo, Tripoli and San Francisco from 1940 to 1957, and later in other places such as Prague in 1966. The O.A.T marking was used in London, Prestwick, Tangiers, Hong Kong and Amman from 1940 to 1945. Of these two, Heifitz estimates that about 1000 to 1500 of A.V.2 marks exist in collectors' hand (maybe even higher) while many more of letters with O.A.T mark exist, making the A.V.2 mark relatively rarer than the O.A.T mark. He lists 20 types of A.V.2 mark and 15 O.A.T marks based on about 500 letters.

Example of A.V.2 mark used in Bangkok, 1947

The circular O.A.T mark in red used in a cover from Canada to Switzerland, 1948

Collecting A.V.2 mark

Because there are about 20 types of A.V.2 used in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, the US etc., this should be an interesting area to explore and collect, knowing the fact that only letter on top of the bundle receives the marking, making it quite rare. The O.A.T mark is probably not as common as the A.V.2 mark with regards to letters from British Borneo (N.Borneo, Sarawak, Labuan, Brunei) but discovery may still be made! Happy hunting.


Anonymous said...

brunei 19 Jul 1895. cover is forgeries.

Marcel said...

I knew Brunei postmarks of "13 JUL" on the first issues of Brunei stamps are forgery. Didn't know about the "19 JUL 1895" cover was a forgery too. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

1939 war tax overprint japan occ. is forgery. sell from sarawakxxna. this seller sold many forgery cover.

Marcel said...

I'm not sure which cover are you referring to. Could it be the censored cover sold in ebay on April 2010? The date as mentioned by the seller is "20.04.1942" whereas the single line Japanese overprint was only applied on 30 Sept. 1942! The unoverprinted stamps issues continued to be used until 12 December 1942...I would love to hear your explanation... :)


Marcel said...

I have checked at the date again, although the seller described it as "1942", I think that he was mistaken. The year plug for the referred cover is "18" which is a Showa year of 1943. Therefore, I have the feeling that the cover is genuine.

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