The author began collecting Iceland’s numeral cancels about 14 years ago. Using auction catalogs, his own collection and those of others, he has compiled a database on these cancels and used the data to prepare this book. The numeral cancellers, introduced in 1903, were made of metal and replaced the rubber crown postmarks that deteriorated rapidly.
Although numerals run up to 300, the later ones were used to replace those that had been lost or for the newer towns and farms designated for collecting mail. This book covers only the original cancels 1 to 173. Each numeral has a page with a map of Iceland showing location, the beginning and ending period of use, an example of a cover or stamp with the cancel, and a photograph of the town or farm where the canceller was used. Each page also has a chart showing usage by stamp issue over the period 1902-1957.
If a given numeral was used at more than one collecting station, each is listed with the inclusive dates. A rarity scale of seven levels indicates for each numeral how scarce it is in terms of both number known and approximate value on stamps or on covers. Each page also has some notes on ink color of the cancels, use on covers sent abroad, and whether the canceler is now in the postal museum.
Several appendices expand on the usage data, show examples of numeral cancelled covers requested by specific collectors, present a map of the counties in Iceland, and provide an explanation of the rarity scale. There is a list of acknowledgments of those who lent material for illustration or contributed expertise. There is no bibliography which would be a useful tool for researchers of these cancels. The author is to be commended for bringing together a tremendous amount of data from a wide variety of sources, and presenting it in a useful format.