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Publishers of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News

Beautiful 1912 Salvador Set

1c, 2c, 5c, 6c, 12c, 17c, 19c, 29c, 50c and 1 col, Each in 2 Colors, used, fine, Cat. $1.41. Price 50c

No. 354, 10c on 6c rose and black, o.g., Rare 10c

1914 Oficial set. Nos. 950 to 957, unused, Cat. $1.30. Price 30c

NICARAGUA, Set 1909, Nos. 237 to 248, used, Cat. 59c. Special at .15

MEXICO, Sets and Singles, New

1910, 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, 15c, 20c, 50c, 1 peso, o.g., fine .55
1910, 5 pesos, o. g. .75
1914, Gob. $ Con. on 1910 issue, 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c & 50c .24
1914, 5 pesos Gob. $ Con., Rare 2.25
1915, G. C. M. 2c, 3c & 5c. 3 for .03

Oficial No. 675, o.g., 5p. Rare on No. 303 2.98

Above 5p not priced in Scott's (Foreign Cats. $7.50.)

Oficial, 1911, Set 1c to 1 peso complete, Scott's Nos. 676 to 685 1.48
Nos. 810 to 814 Postage Due, Gob. $ .75
Nos. 815 to 819 Postage Due, Carranza .75
Nos. 820 to 824 Postage Due, Villa 1.50


U. S. No. 330, 10c on bluish, mint perf'n 6.75

Canal Zone No. 42A, 2c mint perfection, center inverted, rare 11.75

Above worth full catalogue in fine condition.

Wanted to Exchange rare for rare, U. S. for U. S., Foreign for Foreign. Send selections against any of above or against other selections. Even Trade.

C. E. HUSSMAN, Pres.

References, Jefferson Bank or Publishers.

A splendid assortment, neatly arranged in booklets of Die and Plate Proofs, several hundred varieties of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, also some Essays. Many unique items in color proofs. Also the scarce Reprints of New Brunswick first issue.

Selections of Canada

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This Album is the only practical and feasible Loose Leaf Book on the market today.

We have put this Album up in five sections so a collector is able to purchase such branches as he desires at a comparatively low cost. It is 9 inches long and 7½ inches wide, very handy; there is but one set of stamps to a page artistically laid out. Spaces have been provided for imperforate and part perforate pairs and the beauty of all; it is right up to the minute. What is more we will add new leaves each year with spaces for the latest stamps and if you are an owner of one of our Albums, latest sheets will be promptly sent you when issued.

After you have transferred your stamps into this Album you cannot help realizing the great advantage in a practical up-to-date Album.

Specimen pages and complete Prospectus cheerfully mailed on request. Postfree

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1151 Marquette Bldg.,     CHICAGO.

Counterfeit Detector of the American Philatelic Society.

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I am prepared to examine stamps and give expert opinion for the following charges:

Unsurcharged stamps 10c each.

Overprints, stamps requiring plating and cancellations, 30c each.

Minimum charge 50 cents.

Postage and registration extra.

1318 Chestnut St.,   Philadelphia

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Author of Various Philatelic Books



Price 25 Cents
Publishers Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News
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[Pg 3]


By Bertram W. H. Poole.



Canada was originally the French colony of New France, which comprised the range of territory as far west as the Mississippi, including the Great Lakes. After the war of independence it was confined to what are now the provinces of Quebec and Ontario—then known as Upper and Lower Canada. At the confederation (1867) it included only these two provinces, with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; and since then it has been extended by purchase (1870), by accession of other provinces (British Columbia in 1871 and Prince Edward Island in 1873), and by imperial order in council (1880), until it includes all the north American continent north of United States territory, with the exception of Alaska and a strip of the Labrador coast administered by Newfoundland, which still remains outside the Dominion of Canada. On the Atlantic the chief indentations which break its shores are the Bay of Fundy (remarkable for its tides), the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Hudson Bay (a huge expanse of water with an area of about 350,000 square miles); and the Pacific coast, which is small relatively, is remarkably broken up by fjord-like indentations. Off the coast are many islands, some of them of considerable magnitude,—Prince Edward Is., Cape Breton Is., and Anticosti being the most considerable on the Atlantic side, Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Is. on the Pacific; and in the extreme north is the immense Arctic archipelago, bound in perpetual ice.

The surface of the country east of the great lakes is diversified, but characterised by no outstanding features. Two ranges of hills skirt the St. Lawrence—that on the north, the Laurentians, stretching 3,500 miles from Lake Superior to the Atlantic, while the southern range culminates in the bold capes and cliffs of Gaspé. The St. Lawrence and its tributaries form the dominating physical feature in this section, the other rivers being the St. John, the Miramichi, and the Restigouche in New Brunswick. Eastern Canada is practically the Canadian part of the St. Lawrence valley, (330,000 square miles), and the great physical feature is the system of lakes with an area of 90,000 square miles. In addition to the tributaries of the St. Lawrence already mentioned, the Dominion boasts the Fraser, the Thompson, and the greater part of the Columbia River in British Columbia; the Athabasca and Peace Rivers, which flow into Lake Athabasca, and out of it as the Slave River, which in its turn issues from the Great Slave Lake and flows into the Arctic Ocean as the Mackenzie River (total length 2,800 miles); the Albany and the Churchill, flowing into Hudson Bay, and the Nelson, which discharges from Lake Winnipeg into Hudson Bay the united waters of the Assiniboine, the Saskatchewan, the Red River and the Winnipeg.

West of the Great Lakes the scenery is less varied. From the lakes to the Rockies stretches a vast level plain of a prairie character, slowly rising from 800 feet at the east end to 3,000 feet at the foothills of the Rockies.

The eastern and western portions of the Dominion are heavily wooded, and comparatively little inroad has been made on the forest wealth of the country. It is estimated that there are 1,200,000 square miles of woodland and forest, chiefly spruce and pine, including about a hundred varieties; consequently the industries connected with the forest are of great importance, especially since the development of the pulp industry. The central prairie plain is almost devoid of forest. Agriculture is the dominant industry in Canada, not only in the great fertile plains of the centre, but also on the lands which have been cleared of forest and settled in other parts of the Dominion.

The Canadian climate is cold in winter and warm in summer, but healthy all the year round. With all its extremes of[Pg 4] cold it permits of the cultivation in the open air of grapes, peaches, tobacco, tomatoes, and corn. The snow is an essential condition of the prosperity of the timber industry, the means of transport in winter, the protector of the soil from frost, and the source of endless enjoyment in outdoor sports.

The French Canadians are almost exclusively the descendants of the French in Canada in 1763, there being practically no immigration from France. The French language is by statute, not by treaty, an official language in the Dominion Parliament and in Quebec, but not now in any other province, though documents, etc., may for convenience be published in it. English is understood almost everywhere except in the rural parts of Quebec, where the habitants speak a patois which has preserved many of the characteristics of 17th century French.

The Indian people, numbering a little over 108,000 in 1902, are scattered throughout the Dominion. They are usually located on reserves, where efforts, not very successful, are made to interest them in agriculture and industry. Many of them still follow their ancestral occupations of hunting and fishing, and they are much sought after as guides in the sporting centres. The Dominion government exercises a good deal of parental care over them and for them; but the race is stationary, if not declining.

The constitution of Canada is of a federal character, midway between the British and United States constitutions. The federated provinces retain their local legislatures. The Federal Parliament closely follows the British model, and the cabinet is responsible to the House of Commons. The members of the Senate are appointed by the governor-general in council, and retain their seats for life, and each group of provinces is entitled to so many senators. The numbers of the commons vary according to the population. The local legislatures generally consist of one house, though Quebec and Nova Scotia still retain their upper houses. The Federal Parliament is quinquennial, the local legislatures quadrennial. The lieutenant-governors of the provinces are appointed by the governor-general in council. The governor-general (appointed by the King, though paid by Canada) has a right to disallow or reserve bills for imperial consent; but the veto is seldom exercised, though the imperial authorities practically disallowed temporarily the preferential clauses of 1897. The Constitution of Canada can be altered only by Imperial Parliament, but for all practical purposes Canada has complete self-government.

In 1534, Jacques Cartier landed on the Gaspé coast of Quebec, of which he took possession in the name of Francis I, King of France. But nothing was done towards permanent occupation and settlement until 1608, when Samuel de Champlain, who had visited the country in 1603 and 1604, founded the city of Quebec. Meantime French settlements were made in what is now the maritime provinces, but known to the French as Acadia. France claimed, as a result of this settlement, exclusive control of the whole immense region from Acadia west to Lake Superior, and down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. But the control of this region was not uncontested. England claimed it by right of prior discovery, based mainly on the discovery of Newfoundland in 1497 by John Cabot.

In the north the charter granted in 1670 by Charles II to Prince Rupert to found the Hudson's Bay Company, with exclusive rights of trading in the Hudson Bay basin, was maintained till 1869, when, on a payment of $1,500,000, their territory was transferred to the newly created Dominion of Canada. A long struggle was carried on between England and France for the dominion of the North American continent, which ended in the cession of Acadia by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and the cession of Canada by the treaty of Paris in 1763. Of all its Canadian dependency France retained only the Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland, and the vexatious French-shore rights.

During the war of American Independence Canada was invaded by the Americans, and the end of the war saw a great influx of loyalists from the United States, and the formation of two new colonies—New Brunswick and Upper Canada (now Ontario). The treaty of peace in 1783 took away from Canada territory now included within Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 1791, owing to differences of race, Upper Canada was separated from Lower Canada; but discontent resulted in rebellion in 1837-8 which occasioned Lord Durham's mission and report. The results of that were the granting of responsible government to the colonists, and in 1840 the reunion of the two provinces. But the different elements, British and French Canadians, worked no better together than they had done while separated; and in 1867, as[Pg 5] an escape from the deadlocks which occurred, confederation was consummated. After the War of Independence the history of Canada is chiefly concerned with the gradual removal of the commercial preferences she had enjoyed in the English market, and the gradual concession of complete powers of self-government.

The half-breeds of the north-west broke out in rebellion in 1869-70, but it collapsed as soon as the forces led by Colonel Wolseley reached Fort Garry on Winnipeg. Riel, the leader, escaped, to return later and foment another outbreak in 1885. This proved more dangerous but was eventually suppressed and Riel executed. The chief events since have been the Halifax award (1888), which justified the Canadian contention against the United States interference with fisheries. The Behring Sea award (1897) settled the sealing difficulty; and a joint commission met at Quebec in 1898 to determine all outstanding questions between Canada and the United States. In 1903 these reached a final solution in the Alaskan Boundary Commission's settlement of the frontier line between British Columbia and Alaska.

Chapter I.—Its Postal History.


The Stamp Collector's Magazine for August, 1868, contained an interesting article on the history of the Canadian Post-office, largely compiled from information given in the “Canadian Postal Guide,” which we cannot do better than quote in full.

The earliest records of the administration of the post-office in Canada, are dated 1750, at which period the celebrated Benjamin Franklin was Deputy Postmaster-General of North America. At the time of his appointment, the revenue of the department was insufficient to defray his salary of $1500 per annum, but under his judicious management, not only was the postal accommodation in the provinces considerably extended, but the revenue so greatly increased, that ere long the profit for one year, which he remitted to the British Treasury, amounted to $15,000.

In the evidence given by Franklin before the House of Commons in the year 1766, in regard to the extent of the post-office accommodation in North America, he made the following statement:—

The posts generally travel along the sea coasts, and only in a few cases do they go back into the country. Between Quebec and Montreal there is only one post per month. The inhabitants live so scattered and remote from each other in that vast country, that the posts cannot be supported amongst them. The English colonies, too, along the frontier, are very thinly settled.

In 1774, Franklin was recalled, and the following year the War of Independence broke out, and the office was filled by Mr. Hugh Finlay, who had, under his predecessor, been postmaster at Quebec.

Canada is divided into Upper and Lower. From a Quebec almanack of 1796, we glean that there were seven offices in the former and five in the latter. Mr. Finlay is designated as “Deputy Postmaster-General of His Majesty's Province of Canada.”

At that time mails were dispatched monthly to England, and semi-weekly between Quebec and Montreal, or Halifax. At Baie des Chaleurs the visits of the postman must, we conclude, have been few and far between, as they were only favored with a mail “as occasion offered”.

In 1800, Mr. George Heriot succeeded Mr. Finlay. At this time Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, were all under the authority of the Canadian administration.

The following is taken from the advertising column of the Upper Quebec Gazette, printed in 1807:—

The mail for Upper Canada will be dispatched from the post-office at Montreal, on the following days, to wit:

Monday, 14th January.
Monday, 12th February.
Monday, 12th March.
Monday, 7th April—the last trip.

A courier from Kingston may be looked for here in 14 or 15 days from the above periods, where he will remain 2 or 3 days, and then return to Kingston.

Another courier will proceed from this with the Niagara mail, via Messrs. Hatts', where the Sandwich (co. Essex) letters will be left, both from Niagara and this 'till the courier comes from there to return with them.

Letters put into the post-office will be forwarded any time by

W. Allan,
Acting Deputy Postmaster.

[Pg 6]

Mr. Heriot resigned in 1816, and was succeeded by Mr. D. Sutherland, who, on his accession to office, found Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island wholly withdrawn from the Canada charge. New Brunswick, however, continued to be included in it. This appears also to have been withdrawn in 1824, so that from that date until just lately, we have to do with Canada proper.

In 1827 there were 101 post-offices, and 2,368 miles of established post-route. The number of miles of mail-travel was 455,000. The letters that year were estimated at 340,000, and newspapers, 400,000. From the Canadian Postmaster-General's report for 1865, now lying before us, we find the number of letters had increased to 12,000,000; the miles of annual mail-travel was 6,350,000, the mails being carried regularly over 1,931 miles of railway route.

The following extract from the Quebec Mercury, published on July 18, 1829, conveys some idea of the postal communication with England at that period:

No later advices have been received from Europe since our last. Some further extracts from the London papers, to 31st May, inclusive, brought to New York by the Corinthian, will be found in another part of this number.

In the Montreal Courant, dated September 2nd, 1829, was the following paragraph, showing the improvement which had been effected in the communication between Prescott and that city:—

Expeditious Travelling.—On Saturday last, the Upper Canada line of stages performed the journey from Prescott to this city in about 17 hours, leaving the former place at a little before 3 a.m., and arriving here a few minutes before 8 in the evening. Not many years ago this journey occupied two, and sometimes three days, but owing to the great improvements made by Mr. Dickinson, the enterprising proprietor, by putting steamboats on the lakes St. Francis and St. Louis, and keeping his horses in excellent condition, it is now performed in little more than one-third of the time.

Even so late as 1833, newspaper proprietors found it (particularly in the Upper Province) better to employ their own couriers. As a proof of this we transcribe from the Queenston (Niagara) Colonial Advocate, of that year the following advertisement:—

Post-rider Wanted Immediately.

The proprietor of this newspaper wishes to contract with a steady man (who can find and uphold his own horse) to deliver it to the subscribers once a week during the winter, on the route between York and Niagara, via Ancaster.

Mr. Thomas A. Stayner was postmaster in 1841, and through his recommendation a uniform rate of 1s 2d sterling, per half ounce, was adopted between any place in Canada and the mother country. About this time regular steam communication across the Atlantic was established.

The transfer of the Canadian post-office from the control of the imperial authorities to the Colonial government, was effected April 6th, 1851. Mr. Stayner then resigned, and the office was filled by the Hon. James Morris, who was the first Postmaster-General. This may be termed the red-letter year of the Canadian post-office. In the first place, the postage, which had hitherto been according to distance and had averaged 15 cents on each letter, was reduced to a uniform rate of 5 cents per half ounce. The newspaper charge was also considerably reduced. Within a year after, the number of letters transmitted through the post had increased 75 per cent. The operation of the department was greatly extended, and last, but most decidedly not least, was the introduction of postage stamps. In February, 1855, the money-order system was first begun, and has within the last few years been greatly extended. Letters seem to have been first registered in 1856. In October of that year the Grand Trunk Railway was completed as far as Toronto so that, in connection with the Great Western, an unbroken line of postal communication was established between Quebec in the east and Windsor in the west.

The decimal system of coinage was introduced in 1859; this, of course, as is well known, necessitated a new issue of postal labels.

We now arrive at the issue of labels for the new Dominion. The post-office act was passed on the 21st of December, 1867, and came into operation the 1st of April last. The internal rate is reduced from 5 cents to 3 cents the half ounce; but the postage to this country remains unchanged.

The following is the order for the issue of the new labels:—

[Pg 7]
Postage Stamps.

To enable the public to prepay conveniently by postage stamp the foregoing rates, the following denominations of postage stamps for use throughout the Dominion, have been prepared, and will be supplied to postmasters for sale:—

Half-cent stamps, one-cent ditto, two-cent ditto, three-cent ditto, six-cent ditto, twelve-and-a-half-cent ditto, fifteen-cent ditto, all bearing as a device the effigy of Her Majesty.

The postage stamps now in use in the several provinces may be accepted, as at present, in prepayment of letters, etc., for a reasonable time after the 1st of April; but from and after that date all issues and sales to the public will be of the new denomination.

Continuing the postal history from where the article in the Stamp Collector's Magazine concludes we find that in 1869 the color of the 1c value was changed to yellow as it was found that the brown-red color was too easily confused with the red of the 3c. Early in the following year the 3c denomination appeared in a reduced size to be followed about April by the 1c and it was, naturally, presumed that the whole set would appear in this form. Two years elapsed, however, before further additions were made for it was not until 1872 that the 2c and 6c values appeared.

In 1874, an entirely new value—10 cents—was issued and in 1875 a 5c stamp made its appearance in the large size of the 1868 series. Mr. C. A. Howes, in his admirable monograph on the stamps of Canada, explains the belated appearance of this label as follows:—“The die of this large 5 cent stamp had been engraved in 1867 with the other values of the first Dominion series, but as there were no rates requiring such a denomination in the set, it was not issued. When in 1875 the need for a 5 cent value arose, the unused die was employed to make a plate for temporary use, until a new die conforming in size and design with the small stamps could be prepared.” This large 5 cent stamp had a short life of about four months when it was superseded by the 5c value in the same size as the other denominations of 1869-73.

In 1882, the ½c value was reduced in size so that this stamp, as in the case of its predecessor of 1868, was smaller than the other denominations. From that date until 1892 no further changes were made so far as new designs or values were concerned though some striking alterations in shade took place, notably in the case of the 6c and 10c values.

In 1892, 20c and 50c stamps were issued for use on heavy packages. These not only differed in design from the other stamps of the series then current but were also very much larger. In 1893 an 8c stamp was issued which was used for prepayment of postage and the registration fee and upon its advent the special registration stamps ceased to be printed though existing stocks were, presumably, used up. In 1897, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated by the issue of a special series of stamps comprising no less than sixteen values ranging all the way from ½c to $5. As to the utility, to say nothing of the necessity, of some of the higher denominations perhaps the less said the better for before and since Canada has managed to get along very well with a highest regular denomination of 50c.

In the latter months of the same year, and early in 1898 a new set was issued in a uniform design showing the jubilee portrait of the Queen. This is known as the maple leaf issue from the fact that the lower angles are ornamented with maple leaves and in contradistinction to a modified design which almost immediately replaced it which had numerals in the lower corners.

The Christmas of 1898 was marked by the issuance of the celebrated 2c map stamp with its proud motto “We hold a vaster Empire than has been”. This stamp was issued to mark the introduction of Imperial Penny Postage, and one consequence of the reduction in the postal rate was so to reduce the demand for the 3c value that in order to use up existing supplies more quickly they were overprinted “2 cents”.

In 1899, the color of the 2c stamp was changed from purple to carmine, thus conforming to Postal Union regulations, in December, 1900, a 20c stamp of the type of 1898 was issued on the final exhaustion of the stock of the 1893 type; and in 1902 a 7c value was issued in place of the 8c for combined use in payment of registration and postage.

In 1903, 1c, 2c, 5c, 7c, and 10c values were issued bearing King Edward's portrait, a year later the 20c value in the same type was placed on sale, and in 1908, the stock of the old 50c stamps of 1893 having at last been used up, a King Edward stamp of that value was issued. In the same year the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Quebec by Champlain was celebrated by the issue of a special set of stamps these being of the same large size as the Jubilee series of 1897, but with a different design for each denomination, while in 1912 a new series bearing the portrait of King George V made its bow and this completes Canada's postal history to date.[Pg 8]

Chapter II.—A Postmaster's Provisional.


Postage stamps were first placed on sale to the public in Canada on April 23rd, 1851, as we shall show later, but, according to an interesting article which appeared in the London Philatelist for June, 1904, it seems possible that at least one postmaster anticipated events slightly by issuing a stamped envelope of his own shortly before the regular governmental stamps were ready. It will perhaps simplify matters to reproduce the article in its original form, viz.:—

Canada: Hand-Stamped 3d Envelope of 1851.

We are indebted to Mr. E. B. Greenshields, of Montreal, for the following very interesting information:—

The following facts may be of interest to collectors of the stamps of British North America. Some time ago a cover was offered to me, which seemed to me to be absolutely genuine, yet I had never, up to that time, heard of such envelopes being in existence. This letter was posted in New Carlisle, Gaspé, Lower Canada, on April 7th, 1851, and was stamped “Three Pence” in two lines, inside a square, with a black border of neat design around the sides. Across this was written, “Letter R. W. Kelly Apl. 1851”. The letter was addressed to Toronto, C. W., and on the other side was stamped the date the letter was received, “Apl. 16 1851”. I sent the envelope to Mr. Donald A. King, of Halifax, and received the following reply from him:—

Halifax, N. S., February 22nd, 1904.

“Dear Sir,—I have yours of 19th inst. with cover, and am much obliged for your kindness in permitting me to have a look at it. It is new to me. I have no doubt it is absolutely genuine, and probably was made by the Postmaster at New Carlisle to save trouble in stamping the letter '3d' as was then the custom. It is just possible that the writer (whose name appears to be endorsed on the envelope) was the Postmaster there. A reference to the Postmaster-General's report for that year would give his name. As far as my memory serves me, the Canadian stamps were not then in issue, though an advance circular may have been sent out. I have shown the cover to a friend of mine who is an expert in typography, and he assures me that the printing is as old as dated, and that such type and border could not be procured now at any cost. The only thing that I have seen that resembles it in any way was a cover from Prince Edward Island, prepaid with a square of white paper stamped 3d and cancelled. This was an adhesive, and used some years after stamps were in use. As in your case, it had been recognised as paying postage. As to the value of your cover, it is impossible for me to say, but very considerable to any collector of British North America.

“Yours faithfully,

“Donald A. King.”

Following up the clue given to me by Mr. King, I wrote to the Post Office Department at Ottawa, and received the following courteous answer:—

Ottawa, 2nd March, 1904.

“Sir,—I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 26th ultimo, inquiring whether R. W. Kelly was Postmaster of New Carlisle, Co. Gaspé, Quebec, in 1851, and in reply am directed to inform you that R. W. Kelly, doubtless the same man, was Postmaster of New Carlisle in 1851. Owing to the incompleteness of the early records of the department, which was then under the direction of the British Office, the date of Mr. Kelly's appointment cannot be ascertained. He appears to have been Postmaster from 1851, however, until his resignation on the 9th April, 1855.

“As regards your inquiry as to whether postage stamps were used on the 7th April, 1851, and your statement that you have an envelope sent on that date from New Carlisle to Toronto with 'Three Pence' printed on it, inside a fancy border, I have to say that postage stamps were issued to the public for the first time on the 23rd April, 1851, and that stamped envelopes were not issued until some years later. The stamped envelope to which you refer may have been an envelope so stamped on the prepayment in the New Carlisle Post Office, of three pence, the required charge for postage.

“I am, sir, your obedient servant,

“William Smith, Secretary.”

It will be noted from the conclusion of this letter that, according to the department at Ottawa, one might infer that the use of such a stamp would not be irregular. This is confirmed by the following extract from a reply to a letter a friend of mine wrote to Ottawa at my request:—

[Pg 9]

Ottawa, March 2nd, 1904.

“I took those questions of Mr. Greenshields over to Mr. —— of the Post Office Department. He tells me that before the first issue of stamps, which took place on the 23rd of April, 1851, each Postmaster had a steel stamp which he used to mark the amount prepaid on the letter. These stamps were of different patterns, and it is probably the impression of one of them that appears on Mr. Greenshield's envelope. In some of the smaller post-offices they continued to use these stamps as late as 1875.

“It is rather a singular coincidence that if the inquiry had been, regarding the position of Postmaster, more than one day earlier, the Canadian records would not have shown whether the man named had held office or not, the reason being that it was on the 6th of April, 1851, that the Post Office Department was transferred from the Imperial Government, and all records prior to that date are in the possession of the Imperial authorities.”

It seems strange that more of these covers have not been found. Such well-known authorities on the stamps of British North America as Mr. Lachlan Gibb and Mr. William Patterson, of Montreal, and Mr. Donald A. King, of Halifax, had not seen any until I consulted them about this one. I think it is very interesting to hear of a stamped envelope like this being used by the Post Office just before the issue of postage stamps.

So far as we have been able to find out the above constitutes all that has been published regarding this envelope. We can find no further mention of it in the columns of the London Philatelist or of any other journal published since 1904 nor does Mr. Howes so much as refer to it in his recently published monograph on Canada's postal issues. Yet, on the face of it, the matter seems one worthy of extended investigation by some Canada specialist or other. Its history, as given above, is similar in many respects to the history of many of the much sought after Postmaster's provisional stamps of the United States and there is a possibility that this envelope may represent a legitimate postmaster's provisional.

Chapter III.—The First Issue.


In common with the other Colonies of British North America Canada was granted the privilege of administrating its own postal service in 1850, and in the same year an Act was passed providing for the change. It is hardly necessary to quote this Act in full though the following extracts are of interest:—

Cap. VII.

An Act to provide for the transfer of the management of the Inland Posts to the Provincial Government, and for the Regulation of the said department.

II.—And be it enacted, that the Inland Posts and Post Communications in this Province shall, so far as may be consistent with the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in force in this Province, be exclusively under Provincial management and control; the revenues arising from the duties and postage dues receivable by the officers employed in managing such Posts and Post Communications shall form part of the Provincial Revenue, unless such monies belong of right to the United Kingdom, or to some other Colony, or to some Foreign State, and the expenses of management shall be defrayed out of Provincial Funds, and that the Act passed in the Eighth year of Her Majesty's Reign, and entitled An Act to provide for the management of the Customs, and of matter relative to the collection of the Provincial Revenue, shall apply to the said Posts and Post Communications, and to the officers and persons employed in managing the same, or in collecting or accounting for the duties and dues aforesaid, except in so far as any provision of the said Act may be insusceptible of such application, or may be inconsistent with any provision of this Act.

VIII.—And in conformity to the agreement made as aforesaid between the Local Governments of the several Colonies of British North America, be it enacted that the Provincial Postage on letters and packets not being newspapers, printed pamphlets, magazines or books, entitled to pass at a lower rate, shall not exceed Threepence cur[Pg 10]rency per half-ounce, for any distance whatsoever within this Province, any fraction of a half-ounce being chargeable as a half-ounce; that no transit postage shall be charged on any letter or packet passing through this Province, or any part thereof, to any other Colony in British North America, unless it be posted in this Province, and the sender choose to prepay it; nor on any letter or packet from any such Colony, if prepaid there; that Twopence sterling the half-ounce shall remain as the rate in operation as regards letter by British mails, to be extended to countries having Postal Conventions with the United Kingdom, unless Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom shall see fit to allow this rate to be changed to Threepence currency; that the prepayment of Provincial Postage shall be optional.

That all Provincial Postage received within the Province shall be retained as belonging to it, and that all Provincial Postage received within any other Colony of the British North American Colonies may be retained, as belonging to such Colony. That no privilege of franking shall be allowed as regards the Provincial Postage. That Provincial Stamps for the prepayment of postage may be prepared under the orders of the Governor in Council, which stamps shall be evidence of the prepayment of Provincial Postage to the amount mentioned on such stamps; and that such stamps, prepared under the direction of the proper authorities in the other British North American Colonies, shall be allowed in this Province as evidence of the prepayment of Provincial Postage in such other Colonies respectively, on the letters or packets to which they are affixed and which have been mailed there.

The passage of the above Act and its approval by the Imperial government was followed by a notice to postmasters which gave the date at which the transfer of the postal system from Imperial to Provincial authority was to take effect, gave more explicit instructions with regard to rates of postage, and stated that postage stamps were being prepared. Mr. Howes gives the chief provisions of this Notice as follows:—

Notice to Postmasters.

General Post Office.
Montreal, 14th March, 1851.


I am commanded by His Excellency the Governor General, to communicate to you the following instructions, for your guidance in the performance of your duties, under the New Post Office Law of the 13th and 14th Vict., chap. 17, passed at the last Session of the Provincial Parliament, which will take effect, and supersede the Imperial Post Office Acts, hitherto in force in Canada, on and from the 6th day of April next:

1.—From the above date, all Letters transmitted by the Post in Canada, with the exception of Packet Letters to and from the United Kingdom, will be liable to a uniform rate of Three Pence, currency, per half-ounce for whatever distance conveyed: prepayment will be optional: the charge increasing according to the weight of the Letter, one single rate for every additional half-ounce, counting the fraction of a half-ounce as a full rate, thus:

A Letter, weighing not exceeding ½ ounce, will be liable to 3d postage.

A Letter, weighing more than ½ ounce, and not exceeding 1 ounce, will be liable to 6d Postage.

A Letter, weighing more than 1 ounce, and not exceeding 1½ ounces will be liable to 9d Postage, and so on.

It will be observed that the above scale differs from that now followed, in advancing one rate for each half-ounce after the first ounce.

2.—The single Packet rate for Letters by the Atlantic Steam Packet Mails to and from England, via the United States, of 1s 2d sterling, if unpaid, and 1s 4d currency, if prepaid, as also the rate on Letters, by those mails, via Halifax, of 1s sterling, if unpaid, and 1s 1½d currency, if prepaid, remain unaltered, and the present scale of weights is to remain in force as regards such Letters.

Post Masters must be very careful to observe this distinction when taxing letters, weighing over one-ounce, intended for the English Mails.

3.—The regulations now in force with regard to Letters to and from Soldiers and Sailors in Her Majesty's Service, by which under certain conditions such Letters pass through the Post on prepayment of a penny only, remain unaltered.

5.—Letters addressed to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Island, or Newfoundland, are to be rated with the uniform rate of 3d per half-ounce.

6.—Letters to and from the United States will be liable to the uniform rate of 3d per half-ounce, between the Frontier line and the place of posting [Pg 11]or place of destination in Canada; and until further arrangements can be made, this charge on Letters from Canada to the United States must be prepaid at the time of Posting.

9.—The charge on Letters posted at an office for delivery in the same City, Town, or Place, and any additional charge made on Letters delivered at the residence of parties to whom they are addressed, are to remain as at present, until further instructions.

10.—No Franking Privilege is allowed under the New Act, except with regard to Letters and Packets on the business of the Post Office, addressed to or transmitted by the Post Master General.

13.—Stamps for the prepayment of Postage are being prepared and will be distributed for the use of the public at an early date.

T. A. Stayner.
Deputy Post Master General.

Shortly afterwards a Notice, or Department Order, dated April 2nd, 1851, was issued to postmasters regarding the rates of postage between Canada and the United States, California and Oregon. It is hardly necessary to reproduce this in its entirety and it will suffice to state that the rate on single letters to the United States was sixpence currency, equivalent to ten cents in United States money, while to California and Oregon the rate was nine pence currency per half-ounce. On newspapers, pamphlets, etc., the rates were the same as those for Canada itself with the stipulation that all such mail must be prepaid. Certain offices were named for handling the mail between Canada and the United States, viz: Post Sarnia, Windsor, Fort Erie, Queenston (the channel of communication with the United States for the country west of Toronto), Niagara, Toronto, Cobourg (a communication during summer only, by steamer to Rochester), Kingston, Brockville, Prescott, Montreal, St. John's, Dundee, and Stanstead.

On the 21st of April, 1851, an Order was issued from the Post Office Department referring to the issue of stamps. The most interesting paragraphs from this order are:—

Postage Stamps are about to be issued, one representing the Beaver, of the denomination of Three pence; the second representing the head of Prince Albert, of the denomination of Six pence; and the third, representing the head of Her Majesty, of the denomination of One shilling; which will shortly be transmitted to the Post Masters at important points, for sale.

Any Letter or Packet, with one or more Stamps affixed, equal in amount to the Postage properly chargeable thereon, may be mailed and forwarded from any office as a prepaid Letter or Packet; but if the Stamps affixed be not adequate to the proper Postage, the Post Master receiving the Letter or Packet for transmission will rate it with the amount deficient in addition. This Regulation concerning Letters short paid has reference only to Letters passing within the Province.

Stamps so affixed are to be immediately cancelled in the office in which the Letter or Packet may be deposited, with an instrument to be furnished for that purpose. In Post Offices not so furnished, the stamps must be cancelled by making a cross (X) on each with a pen. If the cancelling has been omitted on the mailing of the Letter, the Post Master delivering it will cancel the stamp in the manner directed, and immediately report the Post Master who may have been delinquent, to the Department. Bear in mind that Stamps must invariably be cancelled before mailing the Letters to which they are affixed.

It is rather interesting to note that the series comprised only three values, though the postal rates, as shown in the Notice quoted above, and further amplified in a lengthy set of “Regulations and Instructions” called for numerous rates of ½d and 1d as well as 7½d so that it certainly seems strange that no provision was made for stamps by means of which such rates could be prepaid.

The beaver is typical of Canada, for the prosperity of the Colony is largely founded on this animal, whose skin has been a valuable article of commerce since the days of the early trappers in the land of the maple tree. The choice of a beaver as the central theme of the design of Canada's first stamp—the 3d value—is, therefore, particularly appropriate. The stamp is rectangular in shape and the centrepiece is enclosed within a transverse oval band inscribed “CANADA POSTAGE” at the top, and “THREE PENCE” below. Above the beaver is an Imperial crown which breaks into the oval band and divides the words “CANADA” and “POSTAGE.” This crown rests on a rose, shamrock, and thistle (emblematic of the United Kingdom) and on either side are the letters “V R” (Victoria Regina,[Pg 12] i.e. Queen Victoria). In each of the angles is a large uncolored numeral “3”. Mr. Howes tells us that this stamp was designed by Sir Stanford Fleming, a civil engineer and draughtsman.


The beaver, depicted on this stamp, rejoices in the scientific name of Castor fiber. It is a rodent of social habits and was at one time widely distributed over Europe and North America. It is now practically extinct except in Canada and even there it is said to be in great danger of extermination. Full-grown animals vary in length from thirty to thirty-six inches. They are covered with short, thick fur, which is of considerable value and their structural peculiarities are well worth noting. The beaver is furnished with powerful incisor teeth, with which it is able to bite through fairly large trees, and its fore paws are very strong. Its hind feet are webbed, so that it is a powerful swimmer, and its tail is flattened, and serves as an excellent rudder. Its ears are small and when laid back prevent any water entering them. Beavers generally live in colonies, and show remarkable intelligence and ingenuity in the construction of their homes or “lodges” and in the building of dams, where water in the vicinity of their dwellings has become too shallow to suit their tastes. These dwellings are often constructed on the banks of rivers, but the Canadian beaver is particularly fond of building lodges in the centre of large expanses of fairly shallow water. These are made of turf, tree-trunks, and other materials, and are often used as store houses for food reserves, as well as for living in.

The 6d stamp follows the usual upright rectangular form and its central design consists of the portrait of Prince Albert, the Royal Consort. The portrait is enclosed within an upright oval inscribed in a similar manner to the 3d but with, of course, “SIXPENCE” on its lower portion. The numeral “6” is shown in each of the four angles. Albert Francis Charles Augustus Emanuel the younger of the two sons of Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was born in 1819. He was carefully educated at Brussels and Bonn (1836-8), where he showed himself an ardent student, acquired many accomplishments, and developed a taste for music and the fine arts. King Leopold and Baron Stockmar had long contemplated an alliance between Prince Albert and Princess Victoria, and the pair were brought together in 1836. When the succession of Victoria was assured the betrothal took place, and on February 19th, 1840, the marriage, which was one of real affection on both sides, was solemnized in the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace. The Prince Consort's position as the husband of a constitutional sovereign was difficult, and in the early years of his married life his interference in matters of state was resented. Ultimately he became “a sort of minister, without portfolio, of art and education”, and in this capacity won much esteem and popularity. He also interested himself in agriculture and in social and industrial reform. To him was due the Great Exhibition of 1851, which resulted in a balance of a million dollars available for the encouragement of science and art. His personal character was very high, and he exercised great influence on his children. He was an ideal consort, and entirely worthy of the title “Albert, the Good”. On December 14th, 1861, he succumbed to an attack of fever, and was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. His remains were afterwards removed to the mausoleum at Frogmore.


The 12d stamp is very similar in design to the 6d denomination but bears the portrait of Queen Victoria. The life and reign of Queen Victoria are matters of such general knowledge that biographical details are hardly necessary. A few words, however, regarding the source of this handsome portrait, which was used to adorn so many of the earlier British Colonial stamps, will not be amiss. Mr. Howes tells us that this portrait “was taken from the full length painting by Alfred Edward Chalon, R. A., which was ordered by the Queen for her mother, the Duchess of Kent, as a souvenir of Her Majesty's first visit to the House of Lords. The[Pg 13] occasion was the prorogation of Parliament, on July 17th, 1837, and the Queen is portrayed in her robes of state, because of which fact the painting is sometimes described as ‘in Coronation Robes’, but this is erroneous.”

The 12d requires a few words in explanation of the manner in which the value was expressed for “One Shilling” would appear to be a more natural form for this amount rather than “Twelve Pence”. Mr. Donald A. King says:—“This was undoubtedly done intentionally, as though it was intended for a one shilling stamp, yet it could not be called that, as there were a number of shillings of different values in circulation in the Colony. If the stamp had been lettered ‘One Shilling’, the Post Office was liable to have tendered for it 6½d, 7½d, 10d or 12d, according to locality”.

Mr. Howes gives a fuller explanation which we cannot do better than quote in his own words:—

“A glance back at the rates of postage we have already quoted will show that it was generally necessary to give them in two forms, ‘currency’ and ‘sterling’. The somewhat depreciated Canadian currency required fifteen pence, as will be noted, to equal the shilling sterling—a point brought out on the two stamps issued subsequently for the British Packet rates. Add to this fact that in New England the ‘shilling’ was a current expression for 16⅔ cents (10 pence currency), while in New York it represented 12½ cents (7½ pence currency) and we can readily see that in Canadian territory contiguous to these sections the number of pence to a ‘shilling’ might often be a debatable quantity. As a matter of fact the French Canadians of Lower Canada made general use of the ‘shilling’ as reckoned at 10 pence (20 cents) in the old currency, while the ‘York shilling’ was extensively used in Upper Canada. ‘Twelve Pence’ was without doubt wholly intentional, therefore, as the designation of the stamp, and was happy solution of any ambiguity in its use, even if it has proved a stumbling block to the understanding of latter day collectors.”

The three values forming this first issue were manufactured by Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, of New York, who are, perhaps, better known to fame as the engravers of the 1847, 5c and 10c stamps for the United States government. All three stamps were printed from plates engraved in taille douce the plates consisting of one hundred impressions arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten each. The manufacturer's imprint—“Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York”—was engraved twice on each of the four sides quite close to the stamps. The imprints were so placed that the bottoms of the letters are always next to the stamps with the consequence that on the printed sheets of stamps the imprints read upwards at the left, downwards at the right, and upside down on the bottom margins.

A variety of the 3d denomination is catalogued with “double transfer”. This is, of course, a plate variety caused like all similar ones by a faulty or incorrect rocking of the roller impression on the plate and a correction on top of this impression which did not always entirely obliterate the first impression. Mr. Howes says this variety “is recognized by the letters EE PEN being ‘doubled’ at the top, making it appear as if a line had been drawn through the words and giving it the name occasionally used of the ‘line through threepence’ variety.” There are at least two other similar varieties of “double transfers” known on this value for in the Philatelic World for December, 1908, Mr. A. J. Sefi described and illustrated three different ones. One of these is a variety mentioned by Mr. Howes, another shows a distinct doubling of parts of the details of the two left-hand corners, while the third variety shows a doubling of the upper right hand corner. It is quite possible a close study of these stamps would reveal others and also similar varieties in the 6d and 12d. “Double strikes” are not uncommon on stamps produced by the line-engraved process though they are not often so striking as the first of these Canadian varieties and those found on the United States 10c stamp of 1847.

According to a valuable summary from official records published in the Metropolitan Philatelist we learn that the first delivery of stamps from the manufacturers took place on April 5th, 1851, when 100,000 of the 3d denomination were delivered to the Canadian Government. On April 20th, a second supply of the same value comprising 150,200 stamps arrived in Canada. On May 2nd 100,400 of the 6d were received followed two days later by 51,400 of the 12d this latter being the only consignment of the highest value ever received from the printers. We have already pointed out that the 3d was placed on sale on April 23rd, 1851. The date of issue of the 6d is not known for[Pg 14] certain as there are no official records relating to this though, as a supply was received on May 2nd, they were doubtless issued some time during the same month. The 12d was issued on June 14th as we shall show later.

The three values of this series, as well as other denominations in pence issued later, were withdrawn from use on July 1st, 1859, when decimal currency was introduced. By means of much diligent search through Post Office Reports and other records Mr. Howes has determined that a total of 3,528,700 3d stamps were issued and a total of 402,900 of the 6d value. Some of both these values were issued with perforation late in 1857 or early in 1858. Unfortunately there is no means of separating these from the imperforate ones as shown by the official figures but if we use the somewhat rough-and-ready means of reckoning afforded by catalogue quotations it would seem that of the above totals about three million of the 3d and 325,000 of the 6d were imperforate.

The 12d value, as every collector knows, is a very rare stamp. Even had the full supply of 51,000 stamps, received in the first and only consignment from the manufacturers on May 4th, 1851, been issued, it would have been a rare variety, but as a matter of fact, the greater portion of the consignment was destroyed and only 1510 were actually issued. An interesting article published in the Metropolitan Philatelist in 1902 shows that this denomination was first issued on June 14th, 1851, and supplies were made to various post offices as follows:—

No. Stamps
June 14th, 1851, Hamilton, 300
Oct. 17th, 1851, Chippewa, 100
Nov. 13th, 1851, Thorold, 20
Nov. 25th, 1851, Toronto, 200
Mar. 8th, 1852, Montreal, 200
Sept. 14th, 1852, Ingersoll, 100
Apr. 5th, 1853, Ottawa (then known as Bytown), 100
Oct. 20th, 1853, Sherbrooke, 15
Jan. 13th, 1854, Smith's Falls, 50
Jan. 20th, 1854, Ottawa, 100
Feb. 8th, 1854, L'Islet, 15
Feb. 27th, 1854, Ingersoll, 20
Mar. 22nd, 1854, Sault S. Marie, 25
May 15th, 1854, Port. du Fort, 15
Oct. 21st, 1854, Rowan Mills, 50
Oct. 26th, 1854, Melbourne, 50
Oct. 27th, 1854, Montreal, 100
Dec. 4th, 1854, Smith's Falls, 50
Total stamps, 1,510

The consignment sent to Smith's Falls on December 4th, 1854, was the last distributed. While we can trace no official notice referring to the discontinuance of this denomination, or the actual date at which it ceased to be used, the writer of the article referred to above says that the balance of 49,490 stamps were destroyed on May 1st, 1857, “in accordance with the practice of the Department in cases of the discontinuance of stamps” though as this was the first Canadian stamp to be discontinued, a precedent could hardly have been established.

The following interesting excerpt from the Stamp Collectors' Magazine for April, 1870, states that the 12d value was discontinued in 1855 and it also lays considerable stress on the scarcity of used specimens of this stamp, viz:—

One of our readers observing from a reply we made to a correspondent in the last October number, that we were in doubt as to whether the 12d was ever actually used, has been good enough to write the Deputy Postmaster-General on the subject and has obtained from him the following reply:—

“Ottawa, 28th October, 1869.

Dear Sir:—In reply to your note of the 26th inst., let me say that the twelve penny postage stamps were issued to the public in 1851, but did not find favor, and so few were sold—only a few hundred altogether in three or four years—that they ceased to be issued in 1855.

I am, dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

W. A. Smyth.”

This is satisfactorily conclusive as to the emission of the stamp in question; but if even only a few hundreds were used, we are surprised that no used copies turn up. Were they used otherwise than for postage? Mr. Philbrick informs us that no unused copy of the stamp was ever seen by him, nor does he know of its existence. Plenty of proofs on India paper, etc., exist, but the paper of the stamp was laid and thin, of a hard texture.

An extract from the Stamp Collectors’ Monthly Gazette, published at St. John, New Brunswick, in September, 1869, shows that the rarity of the 12d was already recognised as witnessed by the fact that “even $5” could be obtained for a specimen. We give the paragraph in full:—

This stamp, as some of our readers are aware, was in use but a short time, so short, that many persons even those residing in Canada, knew nothing about it. One gentleman liv[Pg 15]ing in Quebec, to whom we had written on the subject some time ago, informed us that we must have been laboring under some mistake, when we asked him for some particulars about it. He told us that no such stamp was ever issued; but a subsequent letter from him told a totally different tale (as was expected)—he gave us a few facts, and that was all we wanted. It was first intended for postage to England, and was actually used for a time. The postage was afterwards reduced and the 10d stamp took the place of the 12d. The latter is now (the genuine) one of the rarest in existence, and very readily obtains such prices as $4.00 and even $5.00 for one specimen. Proofs are often offered for sale on India paper, with the word 'specimen' written on one side. Amateur collections must content themselves with this last, for it is utterly impossible to obtain the real Simon Pure article for less than the sums we name, and even then, it is doubtful whether it can be had at the price or not. The color of the genuine stamp is black, it is an adhesive, and contains a portrait of Queen Victoria in an inscribed oval, with figures 12 at corners.

All three values of this first set were issued imperforate and while the 3d, of which at least three millions were issued, varies but little in shade, the 6d, printed in comparatively small quantities, provides a number of striking tints. In his check-list, Mr. Howes gives “black-violet, deep-violet, slate-violet, brown-violet, dull purple, slate, black brown, brownish black, and greenish black”, and we have no doubt the list could be considerably amplified, though the above should be sufficient for the most exacting of specialists.

The catalogue gives two distinct sorts of paper—laid and wove—for all three values, with a sub-variety of the latter, designated “thin”, for the 3d and 6d denominations. But specialists are not satisfied with this meagre classification and recognise numerous other varieties such as thick white laid, soft white wove, thin and thick grayish, thick hard, thick soft, ribbed, etc. Mr. D. A. King, in his article in the Monthly Journal, says, “There are fourteen varieties that we are able to distinguish”, and he gives a general classification of their characteristics as follows:—

Series I, II, IV and V.—The texture of these papers is virtually the same, and it is indeed often difficult, particularly in the case of the 6d, to distinguish between the laid and wove papers. The lines in the laid paper are of a most peculiar character, and cannot, as a rule, be brought fairly out by holding the stamp between one's eyes and the light. The best way to test these two papers is to lay the stamps, face down, on a black surface, and let the light strike them at about an angle of fifteen degrees, when the laid lines are brought most plainly into view. It is necessary, however, to place the specimens so that the light will strike them parallel to their length, as the laid lines run horizontally in the 3d, and vertically in the 6d and 12d.

Series III.—This is an entirely different paper to those mentioned above. The laid lines are most distinct, while the paper is of a different texture and color from the regular gray shade.

Series VI.—The paper of this series is almost as thick as that employed for series XII. There is a vast difference, however, in its appearance, as the paper of series VI. is much harder than that of series XII. It feels greasy when rubbed between the thumb and finger, and the color of the paper is distinctly different from that shown by series XII.

Series VII, VIII and IX.—We are able to divide the thin-ribbed papers into three varieties, which the description plainly indicates. They are very distinct, and can be distinguished by a moment's inspection without hesitation.

Series X.—This is a very peculiar sort of paper, which is quite fragile, and will not bear much handling. It is quite as soft as that of series VII.

Series XI.—This paper is also of a peculiar texture; the surface presents a sort of hairy appearance, and the quality is better than Series X, although not as tough as series XII.

Series XII and XIII.—This paper presents, even when looking at the face of the specimens, so entirely different an appearance to that employed in any of the other series, that a reference to the back is hardly necessary. It is found in two thicknesses, which have the same appearance, and seems to have been employed for all the values except the 12d.

Series XIV.—We are surprised that this variety has hitherto escaped notice. It is so distinct, both in paper and color, from any of the other 6d stamps. It has only been found in shades of a peculiarly brownish purple which is a color entirely different [Pg 16]from that presented by specimens on any other of the papers employed. It is an exceedingly rare variety.

It would indeed be a task for the most intrepid of specialists to try and complete his Canadian stamps on such ambitious lines, to say nothing of acquiring the ingenuity necessary to differentiate between them. Their philatelic importance is, in our humble opinion, not a matter of very great consequence. At that period, hand-made paper was still being used to a very large extent and even machine-made paper was not manufactured with the nicety of standardisation that is possible with the improved machinery of today. Consequently, the sheets of paper, even in such a small commercial quantity as a ream, would generally show considerable variation in texture. Thin and thick sheets were frequently mixed to obtain the necessary weight per ream specified in any particular grade of paper. No particular quality of paper was, apparently, specified for the manufacture of these stamps, and so long as it looked much about the same it is very obvious the printers made no particular effort to maintain an exact standard. It is even questionable that the wove and laid varieties mark distinct consignments or printings of the stamps. Indeed, so far as the 12d is concerned at any rate, both varieties must have been included in the same consignment. But, more serious still, from the point of view of those collectors who consider the wove and laid papers should be treated as major varieties, Mr. King admits that “the lines in the laid paper are of a most peculiar character” and that “it is often difficult to distinguish between the laid and the wove papers”, while Mr. Howes states, “It happens sometimes that it is quite difficult to distinguish the laid paper, a very careful scrutiny or even the extreme resort to the benzine cup being necessary to bring out the watermarked lines, and perhaps then only in a half suspicious way.” Writing in the Canada Stamp Sheet (Vol. IV, page 142), concerning the 12d value, Mr. John N. Luff stated, “It is my opinion that both the wove and laid papers are quite genuine and I think it is possible that both varieties might occur though there was only one lot sent out by the printers. It does not, of course, follow that the entire batch was printed on the same day or that two varieties of paper may not have been used. The early printers were not always very particular about their paper, provided it was somewhat alike in a general way. Some collectors claim that laid paper is often of such nature that the lines do not show in some parts of the sheet, and I believe there is evidence to support this theory.”

It is quite within the bounds of possibility that the paper generally used for these stamps was intended to be what is known as “wove” to the trade, and that the “laid lines” originated in a purely accidental manner and are rather on the order of the “laid paper” varieties found in connection with the first 8c and 12c stamps of Sarawak. In short, it is probable that in some sheets at any rate the laid lines showed only in part. At best, therefore, it would appear that the “wove” is but a minor variety of the “laid” or vice versa, and while both varieties, as well as other varieties easily distinguished, such as the very thin and very thick, are of interest to specialists, they throw no light whatsoever on the history of the stamps, and do not, from all the available facts, represent separate printings, so that their philatelic importance (aside from comparative rarity as minor varieties, with its accompanying variation in monetary worth) is not of a particularly high order.

One peculiarity resulting from the use of papers of such varying quality is an apparent difference in the size of stamps of the same denomination. For instance, the stamps on the thinner kinds of paper generally measure 22 × 18 mm., while those on thicker paper measure 22¾ × 17½ mm. and papers of other thicknesses provide still other measurements. These differences in size (fairly considerable in relation to the comparatively small area of a postage stamp) proved very puzzling to collectors of twenty years or so ago for, though it was felt that the stamps came from the same plates, it was at the same time found impossible to account for such varieties, except on the hypothesis that all the impressions of the plate were not all applied alike or that the hardening of the plates before printing resulted in contraction in parts with a consequent variation in the size of different impressions. The same sorts of varieties have been noticed in many other stamps printed by the line engraved process, notably in such stamps as the “pence” Ceylons, and proper investigation finally proved beyond a shadow of doubt that these differences in size were due to nothing more than uneven contraction of the paper after[Pg 17] printing. It must be understood that in printing stamps by the line-engraved method the paper usually has to be slightly wetted (this was an invariable rule at the time these early Canada stamps were printed) and it can be easily seen that the wetting would have quite different results on different qualities of paper. Some would be more absorbent than others and would stretch while damp and contract again when drying. The amount of wetting administered would, also, result in differences even in the same qualify of paper. These variations in the size of the design, therefore, while interesting in themselves as examples of paper vagaries, are of little, if any, philatelic importance.

Bi-sected stamps were not used in Canada to anything like the same extent that similar varieties were used in the other British North American provinces. The 6d is catalogued as having been divided diagonally and the halves used as 3d stamps, though there can have been no real necessity for such bi-section. A bi-sected stamp of quite another character was mentioned in the Monthly Journal for April, 1898, as follows:—

The Post Office describes a so-called “split provisional” of the early 3d stamp, which is described as consisting of one and a half of the unperforated 3d on wove, upon an entire envelope postmarked “Port Hope, July 16th, 1855, Canada, Paid 10c.” Our contemporary does not appear to perceive that the postmark plainly indicates that the supposed half stamp is really only a badly cut copy; the 3d of Canada passed for 5 cents, and as this letter is plainly marked “Paid 10c”, the stamps upon it evidently passed as two 3d, not as one and a half, which would have corresponded to no rate of postage.

The same journal, two months later, made more extended reference to this variety and while its bona-fides as a “split” is established its use as a half stamp is as much a mystery as ever. We cannot do better than give the paragraph in full:—

In the New Issues column of our number for April, we called in question the character of a supposed “split” three pence stamp of Canada, which had been chronicled in the Post Office, New York. In reply to our criticism, Messrs. Morgenthau & Co., the publishers of that magazine, have most kindly forwarded to us the letter bearing the divided stamp, and have requested our opinion upon it. The specimen is such a curious one and presents, we think, such a puzzle for philatelists, that we have taken the liberty—which we hope its owner will pardon—of having a photographic block made from it, and we give a full size illustration, showing both the stamps and the postmarks, herewith. As our readers may perceive, we were quite wrong in suggesting that the “split” stamp was merely a badly cut copy, as it appears to have been carefully bi-sected diagonally and to have been intended to pass as a half stamp, making up, with the entire stamp to which it is attached, a rate of 4½d. If this were all, though the specimen would be a great rarity—indeed, we believe it to be unique—it would not be necessarily a great puzzle to us. It is true that we do not know of any 4½d rate in Canada, and there never was a 4½d stamp in use there; but still, such a rate might have existed, although there was no possible means of making it up except by the use of at least three ½d stamps; but the puzzling part about this letter is that it is addressed from Port Hope in Canada to New York, the single rate from Canada to the United States was 10 cents; the letter is marked “CANADA—PAID 10 Cts.” by the side of the stamps, and that rate was sixpence in Canadian currency. The whole document appears to us to be perfectly genuine and bona-fide; we have examined it with a skeptical mind and a powerful magnifying glass, and we can only say that if it is a “fake” it is wonderfully well done. On the other hand, if it is genuine, the half stamp must have done duty as a whole one, because it certainly took two 3d stamps to make up the 10 cents rate. The puzzle remains a puzzle to us, but we are grateful to Messrs. Morgenthau for their courteous reply to what may have appeared a captious criticism.

Reference List.

1851. Engraved and printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York, on laid or wove paper. Imperforate.

  • 1.   3d  vermilion, Scott's No. 1 or No. 4.
  • 2.   6d  violet, Scott's No. 2 or No. 5.
  • 3.  12d  black, Scott's No. 3 or No. 6.

[Pg 18]

Chapter IV.—The Second Issue.


The third report of the Postmaster-General for Canada, dated March 31st, 1854, refers to a change in the rates of postage on single letters sent abroad and also mentions the possibility of additions to the meagre set of three values then current, viz.:—

In March, 1854, the charge on packet letters between Canada and the United Kingdom and most foreign countries was reduced by the Imperial Government from 1s 2d sterling to 8d sterling the ½ oz., when sent in the closed mails through the United States, and from 1s sterling to 6d when sent from a provincial port—Quebec and Halifax. Should no further changes be likely soon to take place in the charges on the correspondence with England, it would promote the public convenience to procure postage stamps of the value of 10d and 7½d respectively, to correspond with the present packet charges.

In the Postmaster-General's fourth annual report, issued in the following year, the above recommendation was adopted so far as the 10d value was concerned, for we read:—

To promote the general convenience of the public in prepaying letters to the United Kingdom at the new rate, postage stamps of the value of 10d currency, equal to 8d sterling, were procured, and issued to the public.


According to documentary evidence unearthed by Messrs. King and Howes the plate for this value was made, and the first stamps were printed from it during the last quarter of 1854, for in the Post Office accounts for that period the item, “Rawdon, Wright & Co., Making Stamps, £42-18-6,” appears. According to another list compiled from official sources the stamps did not reach Canada until January 2nd, 1855, and though we know of no official document bearing on the actual date of issue, or of any very early dated cover, in view of the fact that the stamps represented a denomination for which there was an urgent demand, it is only reasonable to suppose that this 10d value was placed on sale some time during the month of January, 1855.

Mr. King states that this value was printed in sheets of 100 stamps, arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten, and with the manufacturers' imprint shown eight times on the margins, as in the case of the three stamps previously issued. Mr. Howes, however, is of the opinion that these 10d stamps were printed in sheets of 120, 10 rows of twelve each, like the 7½d value issued later, and in support of his theory points out that the quantities delivered in the first supply (100,080) and second supply (72,120) are exactly divisible by 120 into 834 and 601 full sheets respectively, whereas neither of these numbers is divisible by 100 into an even number of complete sheets. In view of the absence of positive evidence in the shape of an entire sheet or full horizontal row of stamps, it must be admitted that there is much to be said in favor of Mr. Howes' theory. It will be noted the stamps have the values expressed in English currency, and the almost universal rule for stamps printed with values in shillings or pence, has been sheets of 60, 120, or 240 owing to the fact that with such an arrangement reckoning in this currency is greatly simplified.

The design corresponds in its general appearance to the 6d and 12d of 1851 though the portrait in the central oval is of Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of Canada. In the 'eighties there was some little discussion regarding the portrait on this 10d stamp some claiming it was not intended to represent Cartier, but Sebastian Cabot. A writer on the Halifax Philatelist for 1888 says: “It is identically the same as all the existing portraits of Jacques Cartier, and totally unlike those existing of Sebastian Cabot. The style of dress and the way the beard is worn is that of the sixteenth century, instead of the fifteenth. There is a very rare and old print of Sebastian Cabot, taken from the original painting in the possession of Charles Jost Harford, Esq., in the Legislative Library at Halifax, and anything more dissimilar to the face on the 10 pence stamp cannot be imagined.” The official notice announcing the issue of the stamp, to[Pg 19] which we have already referred, makes no mention of the design at all but the portrait is undoubtedly that of Cartier and Mr. Howes tells us that the original is a “three-quarter length portrait in the Hotel de Ville at St. Malo, France, the birthplace of Cartier.”

Jacques Cartier was born at St. Malo, as stated above, in 1491. In 1534 he sailed with two small vessels on a voyage of discovery, touching at Newfoundland, and discovering New Brunswick. In a second voyage (1535-6) he explored the St. Lawrence, and took possession of the land he discovered in the name of Francis I of France. He made a third voyage in 1541 and died in 1557.

The words CANADA POSTAGE and TENPENCE on the inscribed oval frame are separated by a small beaver at the right and three maple leaves at the left. In the lower corners are the numerals “10” followed by “cy” for currency, while in each of the upper angles is “8d stg”, representing the equivalent value in sterling.

Only the two supplies of this value, mentioned previously, were printed making a total of 172,200 stamps. When the decimal currency was introduced there was a balance on hand of 31,200, which were afterwards destroyed so that the total quantity of 10d stamps issued was 141,000.

A double-transfer variety of this denomination is described by Mr. Howes as follows:—

In this case we find the letters A D A and S of “Canada Postage”, and P E N of “Pence”' showing a distinct doubling at the bottom, the transfer roller having been set a little too high at first and a very slight impression made on the plate. The stamp has not been seen in a pair to prove its character absolutely, but it bears all the ear-marks of being a proper plate variety and not due to a careless impression when printing.

The Postmaster General's report dated Sept. 30th, 1857, refers to the many benefits accruing to both the Department and the public by the increased use of postage stamps in the prepayment of postal charges and also mentions the issue of two new denominations, viz:—

There is a very material economy of labor to the Department in dealing with letters prepaid by stamp as compared with letters on which the postage is collected in money, as well as a manifest gain to the public, in the increased facilities which prepayment by stamp enables the Post Office to afford for posting and delivering letters so prepaid.

It is gratifying, therefore, to observe that the use of stamps is gradually gaining ground, encouraging as it does the hope that it may be found practicable and expedient ere long to make prepayment by stamp the prevailing rule in Canada, as it has for sometime been in, the United Kingdom, in France, and in the United States.

A reduction in the charge of Book Post Packets when not exceeding 4 oz. in weight, between Canada and the United Kingdom of one-half the former rate has been made.

To facilitate the prepayment of letters passing from Canada to England by the Canadian steamers, a new stamp bearing value of 6 pence sterling, or 7½ pence currency, being the Canadian Packet rate, has been secured and put in circulation.

A new stamp has also been introduced of the value of one halfpenny to serve as the medium for prepaying transient Newspapers.

Moreover, the Department has been led, by the increasing use of Postage Stamps, to take measures for obtaining the Canadian Postage Stamps in sheets perforated in the dividing lines, in the manner adopted in England, to facilitate the separation of a single stamp from the others on a sheet when required for use.

It will thus be seen that the 7½d value, which was recommended three years earlier (at the time the 10d was issued), materialised at last, though there appears to be no official record bearing on the date the new value was placed on sale to the public. The volume dealing with the postage stamps of British North America, published by the Royal Philatelic Society some twenty years ago, gives the date of issue as June 2nd, 1857, though no authority for this statement is given.


The design was adapted from that of the discarded 12d of 1851, the same portrait of Queen Victoria adorning the[Pg 20] central oval. The inscribed band around this contains the words CANADA PACKET POSTAGE at the top, and SIX PENCE STERLING at the bottom, the two inscriptions occupying so much space that there was no room for dividing ornaments of any kind. In the upper and lower left hand corners is “6d stg.” and in the right hand corners “7½d cy.” is shown. A word of explanation regarding the use of the word PACKET in the inscription is necessary. This does not refer to any parcel post (indeed, there was no parcel post at that period) as has sometimes been erroneously asserted, but refers to the fast mail steamers of the day which were then known as “packets”. This denomination, as shown by the extract from the Postmaster-General's report printed above, was intended for use on single letters sent to England via the Canadian packets.

This 7½d stamp was, according to Mr. Howes, printed in sheets of 120 arranged in ten horizontal rows of twelve each, each sheet showing the imprint of the manufacturers eight times on the margins as in the case of the values issued previous to 1857. Only one consignment, consisting of 834 sheets (100,800 stamps) was received, and as 17,670 of these were still on hand when the decimal currency was introduced in 1859, a simple calculation will show that the total quantity issued was 82,410 stamps.

Although there had been a real need for a halfpenny value since the first adhesives made their appearance in Canada—as shown by several rates it was impossible to prepay in stamps without them—it was not until 1857 that a stamp of this denomination was placed in use. The following circular announced their impending issue:—

Postage on Newspapers and Periodicals.
Post Office Department.

Toronto. 18th July, 1857.

Under the Post Office Law of last Session taking effect from 1st August, 1857, Newspapers printed and published in Canada, and mailed direct from Office of Publication, will pass free of Canadian Postage.

Periodicals so printed, published, and mailed when specially devoted to Religious and to General Education, to Agriculture, or Temperance, or to any branch of Science, will pass free from any one Post-Office to another within the Province.

Transient and re-mailed Papers and Periodicals will pass by Post if prepaid by Postage stamp—one halfpenny if not exceeding 3 oz. in weight, and 2d if over 3 oz.

Postage Stamps of the value of one halfpenny each will be sold to the public at all the principal Post Offices (including all Money Order Offices), with a discount of 5 per cent. upon purchases of not less than twenty stamps and will be available in prepayment of Newspapers and Periodicals, and of Drop and Town Letters.

R. Spence, Postmaster-General.

The Royal Philatelic Society's book gives the date of the above notice—July 18th, 1857—as the date of issue of the new stamp but, as Mr. Howes observes “it is more likely that the stamp was issued on 1st August, the day the new rates took effect.”

Although this stamp is generally conceded to be the last of the “pence” values to be issued, until more definite information regarding the date of issue of the 7½d can be procured, this supposition can rest on no more substantial basis than that of mere conjecture.


The design is quite unlike that of any of the other values expressed in pence and consists of the conventional profile portrait of the Queen shown on so many of the stamps of the British Empire, within an oval band inscribed CANADA POSTAGE, at the top, and ONE HALF PENNY, at the bottom. There are no numerals or inscriptions in the corners but merely a plain pattern of diagonally crossed lines. Mr. Howes states “the stamp was printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten, with the right marginal imprints as described for the series of 1851.”

From the Postmaster-General's report we gather that 1,341,600 halfpenny stamps were received prior to October 1st, 1857, though whether these were all in one consignment or not is not quite clear. At any rate judging from the statement in the same report that “the Department has been led to take measures for obtaining ... sheets perforated” it would appear that the above quantity comprised all the imperforate[Pg 21] stamps of this denomination. On the other hand the total number of halfpenny stamps issued was 3,389,960 and catalogue quotations for the imperforate and the perforated varieties hardly bear out the supposition that only the first lot were issued without perforation.

While the 10d value is found on several sorts of paper no such extreme variation is provided as in the case of the stamps of 1851. The 7½d and ½d values, printed at a later date, provide still fewer varieties, which would seem to indicate that as time progressed the manufacturers exercised a nicer discrimination in their choice of paper. Most of the stamps seem to have been printed on a hard wove paper, varying a little in thickness; the 10d is found on a very thin paper; and the ½d is recorded on ribbed paper, though whether this is a true “ribbed” variety or merely the result of some peculiarity in printing is open to discussion. As the ribbed lines are anything but distinct, though the paper showing this peculiarity is a little softer than that generally used, it is more than likely that the ribbing was purely accidental.

Owing to the differing qualities of paper used the same idiosyncrasies of measurement in the size of the designs may be noted, especially in the case of the 10d as was referred to in a previous chapter. But as all variations of this character in stamps printed from line-engraved plates were long ago conclusively proved to be due to nothing more exciting than paper shrinkage it is hardly worth while wearying our readers with a resurrection of all that has been written on the subject leading up to the proof. While examples showing the extremes of size are of interest in a specialised collection little can be said in favor of their philatelic value.

Reference List.

1855-57. Engraved and printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York, on wove paper. Imperforate.

  • 4.   ½d  pink, Scott's No. 8.
  • 5.  7½d  green, Scott's No. 9.
  • 6.  10d  blue, Scott's No. 7.

Chapter V.—The Perforated Pence Stamps.


In the Report of the Postmaster-General for September 30th, 1857, to which we have already made reference, we read:—

Moreover, the Department has been led, by the increasing use of Postage Stamps, to take measures for obtaining the Canadian Postage Stamps in sheets perforated in the dividing lines, in the manner adopted in England, to facilitate the separation of a single stamp from the others on a sheet when required for use.

From the above statement, one would naturally infer that such a useful innovation would be adopted at once, especially so when it is considered that the utility and convenience of perforation had already been amply tested and had proved eminently satisfactory in England. Unfortunately, no further mention of perforation is made in the Reports of succeeding years, and this absence of direct official evidence combined with the existence of certain facts has given rise to much theorising as to the actual date of issue of the perforated varieties, and as to whether the perforation was applied by the manufacturers of the stamps, by the Canadian Government, or by private parties in Canada.

Mr. Donald A. King in his article in the Monthly Journal says:—

It is an open question whether these stamps were delivered to the Canadian Post Office Department in a perforated condition or not. The manufacturers are wholly unable to throw any light on the subject; and while there is much to be said in favor of their having perforated the stamps, there are points against it almost as strong.

In favor of it there is the fact that, at the date that these stamps were issued, it was more than probable that a firm like the manufacturers would have perforating machines. The normal gauge of the perforated set is 12, that being the only size ever used by the manufacturers, or their successors, the American Bank Note Company; indeed, they call 12 their standard and only gauge.

On the other hand, we find that there are perforated stamps of the first series issued, viz., the 6d on laid paper; also, that there exist two different varieties of perforation that were never used by the makers, viz., one gauging 14, and another that is described in the American Journal of [Pg 22]Philately for January, 1891, as follows:—

“CANADA.—In a large lot of pence issues, purchased by us lately, we have found two copies of the 3d. on greyish wove paper, perforated 13, with oblique parallel cuts. This seems to confirm the theory that the pence issues of Canada were not perforated by the manufacturers, but either by the Canadian Government, or by some persons authorized by them, who most likely experimented with different perforating machines, finally selecting the one perforating 12.”

Considering these facts, it may be that the stamps were sent to Canada in an imperforate condition, and that the Post Office Department had them perforated there, either buying a perforating machine, or entrusting them to some manufacturers of stationery. Perforations gauging 13 and 14 may have been experimental, as specimens of these varieties are rare; perforation 12 being adopted as giving the best results, the other sizes not being at all clearly cut, as the 12 generally is. All the stock of ½d, 3d and 6d on hand would, in this case, have been perforated, which might account for the copy of the 6d on laid paper that is known in this condition. There always remains the query why the 7½d and 10d were not treated in the same manner, and to this no answer can be given. Probably the safest theory to advance, and the one that I think is correct, is that the 12 gauge was the official one used by the manufacturers, and that the 13 and 14 were the result of private enterprise by people using large quantities of stamps, and they may possibly antedate the regularly perforated issue. This point can only be settled by copies being found on the original covers.

In commenting on the above it will save undue confusion if we state that the copy of the perforated 6d on laid paper to which Mr. King refers was proved to be a forgery as shown by the following extract from the American Journal of Philately for 1891:—

There is no longer any mystery in regard to the origin of that great rarity! the perforated 6 pence on laid paper, these stamps having been perforated for four or five years in the shop of Messrs. Benjamin, Sarpy & Co., Cullum street, London, who openly boast of having manufactured and sold those in the collection of the late Hon. T. K. Tapling and other prominent collectors.

With regard to the varieties perforated 13 and 14—while these are undoubtedly rare, all the evidence strongly points to the fact that they are unofficial varieties, a statement, we believe, which has never been seriously combated by students of the early Canadian stamps.

Thus, most of the “contrary” evidence adduced by Mr. King carries no weight with it at all. The most interesting point he raises is the fact that, though the 7½d and 10d denominations were current at the same time as the ½d, 3d and 6d, these values were not perforated. So far as the 10d is concerned this seems all the more strange when it is considered that one supply of this value was certainly printed after September, 1857, the date of the Report mentioning the adoption of perforation.

Mr. Howes has made diligent search through official records and carefully scanned itemised reports of more or less petty expenditures, and he was unable to find any reference whatsoever to a disbursement such as would have been necessary had the Government purchased a perforating machine or had the stamps perforated by some private concern. It is, therefore, unquestionable that the natural course—i.e., that the manufacturers should perforate the stamps—was the one followed.

The real root cause of all the problems surrounding these perforated stamps seems to lie in the general acceptance of the assumption that they were issued in 1857 or early in 1858—an assumption that appears to be entirely devoid of the support of tangible facts when the matter is scrutinised thoroughly. Mr. Howes has delved into the subject with his usual thoroughness and his deductions are so well founded that we imagine no unbiased student will venture to do other than agree that his findings are fully borne out by the history of the stamps so far as we know it. We, therefore, make no apology for reproducing his arguments in full:—

The date usually assigned to the appearance of the perforated stamps is January, 1858. The London Society gave simply “1857,” which is apparently set down merely because they have just quoted the announcement from the Postmaster General's Report for that year. Evans and Moens, in their catalogues, both name the date as November, 1858. Unfortunately, no more authoritative state[Pg 23]ment has been found, except that in Messrs. Corwin and King's article they say “Mr. Hooper positively states that it took place in January, 1858.” Mr. John R. Hooper was at that time (1890) connected with the Canadian Post Office Department at Ottawa and took pains to look up much information for the above-mentioned gentlemen. His reasons for the “positive statement” are not given, and inasmuch as he is quoted elsewhere as saying that “the records of the Post Office Department are silent as to where this perforation was performed and by whom,” and also seems a little uncertain in some other details, we feel that further confirmation is needed.

In our table above we have given the supplies received after the 30th September, 1857, and deducted the remainders so as to have the actual number issued. The 10d has already proved a stumbling block, for it was not perforated at all! Next we find the 6d to the number of 150,000, when the total issue, including the laid paper, was but 400,000; yet the catalogue value of the imperforates is some $6 for each variety, and of the perforated stamp at least $30! Can anyone doubt that all these 150,000 6d stamps were not perforated? In the case of the 3d we have one and a third millions to compare with a total issue of three and a half millions—about a third in the supposed perforated class. Yet the catalogue value of the latter is $2.50 against 36 cents for the wove paper imperforate alone. With the ½d stamp there are two millions against a total of three and a third millions, or about two to one in favor of the supposed perforated stamps, yet the latter are double the catalogue price of the former! The only conclusion to be drawn from these regularly appearing inconsistencies in each value is that all the supplies after 30th September, 1857, were not perforated, as the 10d stamp very glaringly intimates!

If this be so, is it not possible that the order to perforate the new supplies was given to the manufacturers much later than has hitherto been thought to be the case? It hardly seems likely that this improvement would be ordered for a few supplies and then dropped, only to re-appear a year and a half later as a permanent feature of the new set. Once adopted it was more than likely to be retained.

Let us see, then, just for curiosity's sake, what the supplies of the last six months of issue yield us for data. For the ½d we find 850,000 roughly, with 60,000 remainders. Call it 800,000 issued which, if perforated, would be a quarter of the total issue of ½d stamps, or a ratio to the imperforates of one to three. This is not so far away from the catalogue ratio of two to one (inversely, of course,) in the value of the perforated stamps. With the 3d stamp we have 450,000 roughly, with 20,000 remainders, say 430,000 issued. Of a total issue of 3,500,000 this represents one-eighth, or a ratio of one to seven. The inverse ratio of seven to one for catalogue value comes pretty close when we compare $2.50 with 36 cents! In the case of the 6d there are 70,000, less 17,500 remainders, or 52,500. This is approximately one-eighth the total issue of 400,000, or again a ratio of one in seven. The inverse ratio of seven to one for a catalogue value would make the perforated stamp list $42 with the imperforate at $6. But both laid and wove paper 6d stamps list at approximately $6, whereas, if all had been issued on but one variety of paper, we might find, perhaps, a single list price of, say $4. With this as a basis, the catalogue value of $30 for the perforated 6d is in as close agreement with our supposition as are the others. And, best of all, the second supply of the 10d stamp is disposed of without any difficulty whatever under this hypothesis!

It may be argued that reasoning thus from catalogue prices is too uncertain to prove of value. Granted in many cases. But here is an issue from fifty to sixty years old; the stamps were regularly used in increasing numbers during their years of issue; they have always been popular and eagerly collected, so that the stock in existence has been pretty well handled and pretty well distributed. Under these conditions the catalogue prices should by this time reflect fairly accurately the relative rarity of the main varieties of each stamp at least; and it is this relative rarity that we are after in order to approximate the original supplies of the main varieties. The result is certainly of more than mere interest, the agreement being such that we are tempted to lay down[Pg 24] the following propositions in regard to the perforated stamps for further proof or disproof:—

First. The regular perforation (gauge 12) was done by the manufacturers and applied to the last requisitions previous to the change to decimal stamps.

Second. The date of the supposed issue of the perforated stamps should be changed from January, 1858, to November, 1858, or January, 1859.

Third. The quantities of perforated stamps issued are placed approximately at:—½d, 789,440; 3d, 428,200; 6d. 52,422. In further support of the above postulates, we must say that every cover bearing any one of the three perforated stamps which we have been able to get a satisfactory date from has been postmarked in 1859! Not one has yet been seen which bore a date in 1858 even, and one 6d from the Seybold collection, which was dated at Brantford, December 29, 1857, turned out to be bad. Of course, perforated stamps are hard to find on original covers, but it is curious that so far not one has upset the theory we have laid down.

These three perforated stamps do not provide much variation in the quality of the paper. Most of the stamps are found on a hard wove paper, varying slightly in thickness, and though the ½d and 3d are listed on ribbed paper, we venture to doubt that this is a true ribbed paper for the reasons set forth in our last chapter.

Mr. King records the 6d bi-sected diagonally and the halves used as 3d stamps, but, as in the case of the similar variety in the imperforate issues, there could have been no real need for such bi-section.

Reference List.

1858-9. Stamps of preceding issues perforated 12.

  • 7.  ½d  pink, Scott's No. 11.
  • 8.   3d  red, Scott's No. 12.
  • 9.   6d  violet, Scott's No. 13.

Chapter VI.—The First “Cents” Issue.


While the somewhat cumbrous English currency of pounds, shillings and pence has presented little or no difficulty in those parts of the Empire where it has always been on the same basis as in the Mother country, the fact that in Canada it had two valuations—“currency” and “sterling”—made it an inevitable conclusion that a change would have to be made sooner or later. The close proximity of Canada to the United States gave it a very practical illustration of the advantages of a decimal system of money; the American currency of dollars and cents was legalised in the Province of Canada in 1853; and it is, therefore, small matter for wonder that ultimately a decimal system of currency similar to that in vogue in the United States was adopted. This change took place in 1859 and the Postmaster-General's Report for that year alluded to the necessary changes in the postage stamps as follows:

The Law of last Session directing the conversion of all postage rates into decimals, and the collection of postage in the new decimal currency, was put in operation on the 1st July. Decimal stamps of the value of 1 cent, 5 cents, and 10 cents for ordinary correspondence, and of 12½ cents for Canadian, and of 17 cents for British Packet Postage Rates were obtained in readiness for the commencement of the Decimal Postage Law in July, 1859, and have from that date been issued in lieu of the stamps previously in use.

The Law referred to on the above mentioned Report was assented to on May 4th, 1859, and as some of the provisions are of philatelic interest we reproduce them as follows:—

1.—There shall be payable on all Newspapers sent by Post in Canada, except “Exchange Papers” addressed to Editors and Publishers of Newspapers, such rate of Postage, not exceeding one cent on each such Newspaper, as the Governor in Council shall from time to time direct by regulation and such rate shall be payable on all such Newspapers, posted on or after the first day of July next.

2.—So much of any Act as provides that Newspapers posted within this Province shall pass free of postage, in cases other than those in which they will be free under this Act is hereby repealed.

3.—In order to adapt the operations of the Post Office to the Decimal Currency, the internal letter postage rate shall be changed from three pence to [Pg 25]its equivalent of five cents, per half ounce—the charge for advertising a dead letter from three farthings to two cents—the charge for returning a dead letter to the writer, from one penny to three cents; and in all cases where a one halfpenny or penny rate of Postage is chargeable, these rates shall be changed to one cent and two cents respectively.

4.—To promote simplicity and economy in the business of the Post Office, all letters posted in Canada for any place within the Province, and not prepaid, shall be charged seven instead of five cents per half ounce on delivery; and on letters posted for the British Mails, for the other British North American Provinces, or for the United States, when not prepaid, there shall be charged such addition to the ordinary rate, not in any case exceeding a double rate, as the Post Master General may agree upon with the Post Office Authorities of those Countries, for the purpose of enforcing prepayment.

5.—The Post Master General may establish a Parcel Post and parcels other than letters and not containing letters, may be sent by such Parcel Post, and when so sent shall be liable to such charges for conveyance and to such regulations as the Governor in Council shall from time to time see fit to make.

It will be noted that the above Act, aside from showing the rates in the new currency as compared with the old, provides for a greater limitation of the privilege of free transmission of newspapers, and also provides for the establishment of a Parcel Post.

No further reference seems to have been made to the parcel post until the Postmaster-General's Report for June 30th, 1864, where it is stated:—

By means of the Parcel Post a parcel may be sent within the Province to or from any place, however remote from the ordinary lines of traffic conveyance, on prepayment of a postage rate of 25 cents per lb., provided that the weight or size of the parcel does not exceed the carrying capacity of an ordinary mail bag; and provided that the contents of the parcel are not of a character to injure the rest of the mail.


Later the parcel post system was extended so that it embraced the sister Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the rate remaining at 25c per lb. Apparently the weight and size of a parcel acceptable by the postal authorities still remained delightfully vague and indefinite and was simply limited by “the carrying capacity of an ordinary mail bag.”


As we have seen from the Postmaster-General's Report for 1859 the first “cents” stamps were placed in use on July 1st of that year. The series comprised the values 1c, 5c, 10c, 12½c and 17c these corresponding to the ½d, 3d, 6d, 7½d and 10d denominations previously in use. The designs of the new stamps were adapted from those of the corresponding values of the old issue as a comparison of the two series will amply demonstrate. The 1c differs from the ½d only in the words denoting the value below the portrait. The 5c differs from the 3d not only as regards the new inscription of value but has small ornaments on the oval band dividing CANADA POSTAGE from FIVE CENTS. In the corners the numerals “5,” replacing “3,” are placed in an oblique position on a ground of crossed lines. The 10c differs from the 6d in having the corner numerals (represented by the Roman “X”) placed obliquely on a cross hatched ground instead of upright on a ground of foliate ornamentation, while TEN CENTS replaces SIX PENCE under the portrait. The 12½c differs from the 7½d only as regards the corners where “12½c” replaces the former values of “6d. stg” and “7½d cy”. On the new 17c the words of value required so much more room than the TEN PENCE on the old denomination that the emblems between the upper and lower inscriptions on the[Pg 26] oval were retired in favor of small elliptical ornaments. The upper corners were unaltered but in the lower ones “10cy” was removed and “17” substituted.


It is obvious that the original dies were made use of in each case, the central portions being retained and new orders engraved.

The stamps were manufactured by the American Bank Note Company, of New York, which firm had succeeded to the business established by Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson. The new firm name came into effect on May 1st, 1858.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 100 by the line-engraved process the manufacturers' imprint, “American Bank Note Co., New York” appearing twice in each margin in very small letters. For some reason or other no imprint was applied to the plate for the 17c value.


In the Law relating to the adoption of decimal currency, reproduced above, we read in section 3 that “in all cases where a one-half penny or penny rate of Postage is chargeable, these rates shall be changed to one cent and two cents respectively.” Yet, though a 1c stamp was included in the series in 1859 no 2c made its appearance until 1864. This new value was issued on August 1st, 1864, according to the Postmaster-General's Report for that year while the Report for the following year states that “A provision has been made for the transmission and delivery of Canadian periodicals, addressed to the United Kingdom, at the reduced rate of two cents each” and it is probably due to the increased demand for the 2c denomination under this new rate that the stamp made its appearance.

The design was evidently copied from the 1c though the addition of numerals in each of the lower corners gives it a strikingly different appearance from that of the lower value. Curiously enough the 2c was printed in almost the same color as the 1c and in commenting on this fact the Stamp Collectors' Magazine for October 1st, 1864, stated:—

We are surprised that a different hue was not chosen for the 2 cents, and should imagine its great similarity to the 1 cent, should the latter not be withdrawn from circulation, would tend to create confusion.

This new denomination was printed in sheets of 100 like the others of the series, and also had eight imprints in the margins.

A close study of these stamps should reveal many points of interest. For many years a double transfer of the 5c, of a similar character to that found on its predecessor the 3d has been known. This is recorded in Scott's catalogue as a “double transfer” while Gibbons notes it as a variety “with extra line in outer oval at left”. This variety, which is simply the most prominent of many double transfers found in connection with this 5c stamp, shows the outer line of the oval at left distinctly doubled, and the frame lines above are also double. Other varieties which, though not so prominent, are of equal philatelic importance are found. We have seen the following and have no doubt many others exist:—

  1. There are distinct traces of doubling in the letters ADA and POST of CANADA POSTAGE, in the numerals in the upper angles, and of the lines of the oval band.

  2. There is a faint doubling of the outer frame lines at the top right hand corner.

  3. There is a similar doubling of the outer frame lines affecting the lower right hand corner.

  4. The lines of the oval band are faintly doubled at the lower left.

  5. The letters POST of POSTAGE, the “5” above, and the lines of oval and frame all show distinct signs of double transferring.

  6. This double transfer affects the lines, numeral, and letters NADA of CANADA at the upper left corner and while not so distinct as No. 5 is nevertheless a true plate variety.

We have found no traces of double transfers in the other denominations except a slight one on the 12½c. This shows a slight doubling of the frame lines in the top left corner, as well as[Pg 27] traces of colored lines in the adjacent “12½c”. It is quite probable that any collector having sufficient material would find “doubles” in all of these values.

In laying down the impressions on the plate or plates for the 5c value a guide dot was applied to the transfer roll. This occupied such a position that as each succeeding impression was applied to the plate it fell so that the guide dot would fall about the centre of the C of CENTS. Consequently, the vast majority of these stamps show a conspicuous dot of color in the position indicated. The stamps without the colored dot are, usually, those from the extreme left vertical row of the sheet. On this same value—the 5c—we have seen specimens with colored dots outside and slightly to the left of the lower left corner. These are possibly plate dots marked to indicate where each row should commence. Varieties with broken frame lines are not uncommon and these may be due in part to defective transfers and in part to wear. Extreme wear is also shown, in some instances, by the numerals appearing on an almost plain ground.

Whether guide dots were used for the other denominations or not we cannot say. At any rate if they were used they were applied in such a position as to be completely hidden by some part or other of the designs. A small peculiarity in the 10c is worth noting. On the majority of specimens there is a slight defect or break in the outer line of the oval band above and to the right of the O of POSTAGE. This is probably due to a minute defect on the transfer-roll impression. Many specimens of the 12½c value show the tongue of the E of POSTAGE the same length as the upper and lower arms though the end is generally covered with a colored smudge. We are at a loss to account for the cause of this variety but that it is a “constant” one we have satisfied ourselves by the examination of a number of identical specimens. The 17c also exhibits a small peculiarity of engraving. A colored line projects upwards into the uncolored oval band above the space between OS of POSTAGE. This was evidently caused by an accidental touch of the engraver's tool on the die for it is quite distinct on every specimen we have examined.

The paper upon which the stamps of this series were printed does not provide so much variation as that of the earlier emissions. Mr. D. A. King in his article in the Monthly Journal says:

The papers upon which these stamps are printed may be divided into five classes:

  1. —Ordinary, coarse, white wove paper.
  2. —Similar paper, of a yellowish tint, and slightly ribbed.
  3. —A hard greyish paper, very slightly ribbed.
  4. —White wove paper, very slightly ribbed.
  5. —A white paper, very hard and closely ribbed.

In addition we are told that all the above varieties come in at least two thicknesses. Scott's catalogue is content with a classification of “wove” paper with a sub-variety of “ribbed” for the 1c and 5c denominations. Mr. Howes extends the “ribbed” variety to all values but, as we have pointed out in earlier chapters, it is extremely unlikely that any such variety as a real ribbed paper was used, the ribbed lines being simply due to some idiosyncrasy of manufacture. To again quote Mr. King:

The best way to distinguish this paper from the others that have the appearance of ribbing, is to hold the stamp before a strong light, when the ribbing will appear like fine horizontal laid lines on the 5c, and vertical laid lines in the other values. Looking through the paper is the only sure test, as many of the stamps on the other papers have the appearance of being ribbed.

To differentiate between stamps on ribbed paper and those having the “appearance” of being ribbed is surely getting very close to the ridiculous.

With the exception of the 10c the stamps of this issue provide but little variation in shade but the 10c more than makes up for this lack in the others for it exists in almost every conceivable tint from bright red-lilac through shades of violet and brown to a brown so intense as to be catalogued as a distinct variety described as “black-brown”.

All the stamps of this series were normally perforated 12 by single line machines. All values are known entirely imperforate and it would seem that these, or most of them, are perfectly legitimate errors. The Philatelic Record for October, 1882, says:—“We have seen a used imperforate copy of the 5 cents, 1859, which is beyond challenge”. Mr. King states:—“The im[Pg 28]perforate varieties are all legitimate, and undoubtedly genuine, having been seen in pairs, or in single copies with margins beyond cavil”. Mr. Charles L. Pack writing in the London Philatelist regarding these varieties says:—

I have the 1c and 5c postmarked in 1860 and 1861 at Toronto and Prescott, Canada West. I also believe that these varieties were on sale at Kingston, Canada West, at about that time. I have also the 2c and 10c in undoubtedly early used condition.

Bi-sected varieties of the 5c and 10c of this issue are known though, as Mr. Howes states of these varieties, they “were never authorised and seldom used”. The Philatelic Record for October, 1888, mentions a part of a cover with a 10c and half of a 5c side by side which were evidently used in prepayment of the 12½c rate, while Mr. Howes records the existence of a pair of the 5c used with a half stamp of the same denomination to make up the 12½c packet rate. The same writer records a diagonal half of the 10c used as a 5c stamp from Bowmanville, Upper Canada, on February 15th, 1860. Whether these “splits” were the work of private parties or were made by postal officials to fill a temporary shortage of certain values will probably never be known.

Reference List.

1859-64. Engraved and Printed by the American Bank Note Co., New York, on white wove paper. Perforated 12.

  • 10.  1c  pink, Scott's No. 14.
  • 11.  2c  rose, Scott's No. 18.
  • 12.  5c  vermilion, Scott's No. 15.
  • 13.  10c  lilac, Scott's No. 16.
  • 14.  12½c  green, Scott's No. 19.
  • 15.  17c  blue, Scott's No. 20.

Chapter VII.—The First Dominion Issue.


The steady growth of Upper Canada, chiefly due to immigration, until it had twice the population of its sister Province, Lower Canada, aroused cries for a readjusted representation, which threatened the French with a hopeless minority in Parliament and the country with another impasse. The federation of all the provinces under something like the American system was the only solution; and with, for the most part, the cordial coöperation of the maritime provinces, the great scheme was carried through, and the new dominion launched in 1867. Each province retained its local autonomy and separate legislature under a lieutenant-governor, always a Canadian, nominated by the federal executive. To the latter was reserved all great affairs, such as defense, customs, Crown lands, Indians, and the organisation of the vast western territories then just beginning to open up.

The famous Sir John Macdonald, the most illustrious of Canadian statesmen, was prominent in the federal movement, as also was Sir Charles Tupper. A final meeting was held in London, and early in 1867 the British North America Act was passed through the Imperial Parliament. The new capital was fixed at Bytown, a small town up the Ottawa well removed from the frontier, fairly central to all the provinces, and felicitously rechristened Ottawa. Here were erected the stately houses of parliament for senate, commons, and the entire government staff, familiar to all travellers, and there, too, the governor-general of all British North America took up his residence, Lord Monck being the first to hold this high office, and Sir John Macdonald the first premier.

The British North America Act, referred to above, provided for the division of the Dominion of Canada into four provinces named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and also made provision for the admission of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, etc., when such admission should be deemed advisable. The Act went into force on July 1st, 1867, and as a mark of the importance of this event the first day of July is now a national holiday known as “Dominion Day”.

It only remains to say that Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Manitoba (not then organised) came into the federation shortly afterwards.

One of the chief duties of the first Parliament, which met at Ottawa on November 6th, 1867, was the revision and consolidation of the laws of the various provinces now federated, and amongst these were, of course, the laws relating to the Post Office. The Act passed for the regulation of the postal service is a lengthy one and the only provisions of special interest to us as philatelists, those relating to the rates of postage,—are more clearly and definitely tabulated in a Department Order issued from Ottawa on March 1st, 1868,[Pg 29] to which we shall make reference later. Before doing so, however, we make a short extract from the Post Office Act insofar as it relates to definitions of various terms and expressions, viz.:—

The term “Letter” includes Packets of Letters;

The term “Postage” means the duty or sum chargeable for the conveyance of Post Letters, Packets and other things by Post;

The term “Foreign Country” means any country not included in the dominions of Her Majesty;

The term “Foreign Postage” means the postage on the conveyance of Letters, Packets or other things, within any Foreign Country or payable to any Foreign Government;

The term “Canada Postage” means the postage on the conveyance of Letters, Packets and other things by Post within the Dominion of Canada or by Canada Mail Packet;

The term “Mail” includes every conveyance by which Post Letters are carried, whether it be by land or water;

The term “British Packet Postage” means the postage due on the conveyance of letters by British Packet Boats, between the United Kingdom and British North America:—And the term “British Postage” includes all Postage not being Foreign, Colonial or Canadian;

The term “Post Letter” means any letter transmitted or deposited in any Post Office to be transmitted by Post:—And a letter shall be deemed a Post Letter from the time of its being deposited or delivered at a Post Office, to the time of its being delivered to the party to whom it is addressed.

The Department Order addressed to “All Postmasters, and Other Persons Employed in the Postal Service of Canada” dealt chiefly with the rates of postage and as these are important we feel it is necessary to reproduce most of this rather lengthy document in extenso:



5.—On letters passing between any two places within the Dominion of Canada, a uniform rate (irrespective of distance), of three cents per ½ oz., if prepaid; and five cents per ½ oz. if unpaid.

6.—On letters between any place in the Dominion and any place in the United States, 6 cents per ½ oz., if prepaid; and ten cents per ½ oz. if unpaid.

7.—On letters to or from the United Kingdom, in Mails by Canada Packets, to or from Quebec in summer, or Portland in winter; or by Mail Packet to or from Halifax, 12½c per ½ oz.

On do. in Mails via New York Packet, 15 cents per ½ oz.

On letters to Prince Edward Island, if prepaid, 3 cents per ½ oz.; if posted unpaid, 5 cents per ½ oz.

On letters to Newfoundland, to be in all cases prepaid, 12½c per ½ oz.

On letters to British Columbia and Vancouver Island, in all cases to be prepaid, 10 cents per ½ oz.

On letters to Red River, to be in all cases prepaid, 6 cents per ½ oz.

Newspaper Rates.

8.—Newspapers printed and published in Canada may be sent by Post from the office of publication to any place in Canada at the following rates, if paid quarterly in advance, either by the Publisher, at the Post Office where the papers are posted, or by the subscriber, at the Post Office where the papers are delivered:—

For a paper published once a week, 5 cents per quarter of a year.

For a paper published twice a week, 10 cents per quarter.

For a paper published three times, 15 cents per quarter.

For a paper published six times, 30 cents per quarter.

If the above rates are prepaid by the Publisher, the Postmaster receiving payment must be careful to have the papers so prepaid separately put up, and marked, distinctly, as prepaid.

When the above rates are not prepaid in advance, by either the Publisher at the office of posting or by the subscriber at the office of delivery, the papers are to be charged one cent each on delivery.

9.—Canadian Newspapers, addressed from the Office of publication to subscribers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, may be forwarded, on prepayment at the Office in Canada where posted, at the above commuted rates, applicable to such papers within the Dominion.

10.—Exchange Papers passing between publishers in Canada, between publishers in Canada and publishers in the United States, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, [Pg 30]are to pass free—one copy of each paper to each publisher.

11.—Transient Newspapers include all Newspapers posted in Canada, other than Canadian Newspapers sent from the Office of publication, and when addressed to any place within the Dominion, to the United Kingdom, to the United States, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland, must be prepaid two cents each by postage stamp.

12.—Newspapers coming into Canada will be subject to the following charges on delivery:—

If from the United Kingdom, by mail packet to Quebec, Halifax or Portland—Free on delivery.

By mails via the United States (New York), two cents each.

If from the United States, two cents each, to be rated at the Canada Frontier, or exchange office receiving mails from the United States.

If from Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland, when received by regular subscribers in Canada from the Office of publication, the ordinary commuted rates applicable to Canada Newspapers.

Transient Papers—two cents each.

13.—The Canada Postage rates on Newspapers coming or going to the United Kingdom and the United States, will thus be the same as those charged in the United Kingdom and the United States on Newspapers there received from or sent to Canada.

14.—Canada News Agents may post to regular subscribers in Canada, British Newspapers free, and United States Newspapers unpaid, such papers in the latter case, must be duly rated two cents each for collection on delivery.

Printed Papers, Circulars, Prices Current, Hand Bills, Books, Pamphlets.

15.—The rate on printed matter of this description posted in Canada, and addressed to any place in Canada, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland or the United States, will be one cent per ounce, to be prepaid by Postage Stamp; and a like rate will be payable on delivery, when received from the United States, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland.

Periodical Publications.

16.—When posted in Canada, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland or the United States, the rate will be one cent per four ounces.

17.—A like rate will be payable on delivery in Canada, when received for the United States, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland.

18.—Periodicals weighing less than one ounce per number, when posted in Canada for any place within the Dominion, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland or the United States may, when put up singly, pass for one-half cent per number, to be prepaid by Postage Stamp.

19.—As the Postage Rates on Periodicals, other than Newspapers, will be payable in advance, and as certain classes of such periodicals, printed and published in Canada, and sent from the office of publication to regular subscribers, have for some time past been exempted from postage when exclusively devoted to the education of youth, to temperance, agriculture and science, or for other reasons, it is ordered, that with respect to periodicals which do now enjoy this privilege or exemption, the exemption shall continue until the expiration of the current year—that is, until the 31st December, 1868, and that from the 1st January, 1869, all such special exemptions and privileges shall cease.

Parcel Post.

20.—The rate on Parcels, by Parcel Post, will be 12½ cents per 8 ounces, that is to say:—

On a parcel not exceeding 8 oz., 12½ cents.

Over 8 oz., and not exceeding 1 lb., 25 cents.

Over 1 lb. and not exceeding 24 oz., 37½ cents.

And so on, to the limit of three lbs.

Book and Newspaper Manuscript, and Other Miscellaneous Matter.

21. On Book and Newspaper Manuscript (meaning written articles intended for insertion in a newspaper or periodical, and addressed to the Editor or Publisher thereof, for insertion), Printers' Proof Sheets, whether corrected or not, Maps, Prints, Drawings, Engravings, Music, whether printed or written, packages of Seeds, Cuttings, Roots, Scions or Grafts, and Botanical Specimens, the rate will be 1 cent per ounce, when posted for any place in Canada or the United States, and prepaid by Postage Stamp.[Pg 31]

Postage Stamps.

22.—To enable the Public to prepay conveniently by Postage Stamps the foregoing rates, the following denominations of Postage Stamps for use throughout the Dominion, have been prepared, and will be supplied to Postmasters for sale:—

Half cent Stamps }
One cent do. }
Two cent do. } All bearing, as a
Three cent do. } device, the effigy
Six cent do. } of Her Majesty.
Twelve and a half cent do. }
Fifteen cent do. }

23.—The Postage Stamps now in use in the several Provinces may be accepted, as at present, in prepayment of letters, etc., for a reasonable time after the 1st. of April; but from and after that date all issues and sales to the public will be of the new denomination.

The section regarding “Franking and Free Matter” provides that only letters sent to or by the Governor-General, the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Senate or of the House of Commons, Parliamentary papers, and legislative documents, such as petitions, addresses, and votes, shall be carried free of postage.

The most important change effected by the above quoted regulations was the reduction of domestic postage from five cents to three cents. It will be noted there are now no prepaid 5c or 17c rates and but one at 10c (on letters sent to British Columbia and Vancouver Island) consequently these denominations were dropped from the new series. On the other hand the ½c rate on transient newspapers, which had to be prepaid, the regular 3c letter rate, the 6c rate to the United States, and 15c for the new British Packet rate made necessary the issue of these four values in addition to the 1c, 2c, and 12½c denominations, which were retained. All these stamps were printed by the line-engraved process, as in the case of the earlier issues, the sheets consisting of one hundred specimens arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten each. A new firm—the British American Bank Note Company, of Montreal and Ottawa—were entrusted with the manufacture of these stamps and, like their predecessors, they applied their imprint to the plates, so that it is shown four times on the margins of the sheets of the printed stamps. Mr. Howes describes the imprint as follows:—

The imprint appears in colorless capitals on a narrow strip of color with bossed ends, and reads BRITISH AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO., MONTREAL & OTTAWA. This strip is framed by a very thin parallel line, its entire width being but one millimeter, while its length is about 51 mm. It occurs but once on a side, being placed against the middle two stamps (numbers 5 and 6) of each row at a distance of about 3 mm. The inscription reads up on the left and down on the right, as before, but the bottom one is now upright, instead of being reversed.

In the case of the half cent stamp at least, we find an additional marginal imprint over the second and third stamps of the top row. This consists of the words HALF CENT, in shaded Roman capitals 4 mm. high, the whole being about 40 mm. long. Presumably the same thing, varied for each denomination, occurs on other values of the series, as we find it does on the succeeding issue; but a strip from the top of a sheet of the 15 cent stamps proves that it was lacking on that value at least.

The new stamps came into use on April 1st, 1868, and are all much alike in design. All values show a profile portrait of Queen Victoria, with head to right, on a background of horizontal lines within a circle, but the ornamentation and disposition of the inscriptions and numerals of value in the surrounding frame is different on each. The Stamp Collector's Magazine for May, 1868, in announcing the issue, gives a good description which we cannot forbear quoting, viz:—

We are now in possession of, as we presume, the entire series of stamps for the Dominion of Canada, consisting of seven values—½ cent, 1, 2, 3, 6, 12½, and 15 cents. It would be indeed odious to compare them with the issues for another confederation lately formed. They are the work of a newly-formed colonial company, and are worthy to take rank beside any which have been manufactured by the rival companies of New York. The design, as we stated last month in noticing the 15c—the first of the set to appear—bears a resemblance to that of the lower values of Nova Scotia, but shows the Queen's head turned to the right. The new “British American Bank Note Company, of Montreal and Ottawa”, has done well to copy so good a device, and certainly has not [Pg 32]spoilt it, as the English engravers did in the four penny South Australian. Moreover, whilst retaining the central figure, by enclosing it in a differently-patterned frame for each value, they have given greater variety to the series. In all, care has been taken to make the numerals distinct; and it is as well that this has been done, as two of the values assimilate considerably in shade. The half cent is distinguished from the rest by its smallness—it is quite one-third less in size, but the device is the same. The stamps are all printed on substantial paper, are perforated, and of the following colors:

½ cent black 3 cents vermilion
1 dull red 6 brown
2 green 12½ deep-blue
15 cents mauve

The two lowest values are for newspapers, and are far from being acceptable, notwithstanding their beauty of design, to the journalists. It had been expected that newspapers would be sent throughout the Canadian provinces free of charge; and there has been in consequence, a loud but ineffectual outcry against the general imposition of even a reduced rate of postage, and more especially at the enactment, that the charge must be paid by senders. “Proprietors of journals,” says the Quebec Chronicle, “find it hard enough at present to collect the simple subscription, without demanding postage in advance. People who writhe at present under the payment of their bare paper account, will find forwarding postage, in advance, an excruciating sacrifice.” The 2 cents is no doubt primarily intended for soldiers' letters. The 3 cents pays the new single rate for postage; the 6 cents the charge on letters to the United States. The 12½c represents the postage to England; and the 15c the rate for letters sent via New York. Possibly a 10c will yet be added to the series, but the old 17c will find no substitute in it. The new rates came into operation on the 1st April, and we suppose on that date all the pre-existing stamps of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were withdrawn.


The stamps of this series provide quite an extensive range of shades, especially as regards the 2c, 6c, and 15c. In the case of the latter value the range of tints is so great that it is difficult to know what was its originally intended color. The first shade was evidently mauve, as given in the Stamp Collector's Magazine chronicle, but, as is so frequently the case with mauves, lilacs and violets, tint variations were soon noticed. Shades varying from deep red lilac to grey and blue-grey are known. It is difficult to draw the line, in some instances, between true shades and “fades” but the grey would appear to be undoubtedly a true color variety and one that should be recognised as a provisional, if wholly unintentional, color change. Scott, in fact, lists it as a separate issue under the date 1875-77, but this is an arbitrary classification which has, apparently, no foundation in fact, and the best plan is to include the variety in its logical place with the rest of the 1868 series.

The paper used for this set of stamps is what is generally known as “wove” and it varies, as Mr. Howes states, “from a very thin, almost pelure quality to a quite hard and thick variety.” Mr. King, who was evidently untiring in his efforts to discover varieties of paper, says, “This series is of a most interesting nature, having a very large number of varieties of paper, all quite distinct, and specimens of some are of considerable rarity.” Mr. King then lets himself go and describes some seventeen varieties of paper but, with the exception of two well marked varieties to which we shall make extended reference shortly, they all seem to resolve themselves into minute variations of the wove paper such as can be found in connection with most stamps of the 'sixties and 'seventies with the aid of a micrometer and a well trained imagination! We doubt whether any specialist, however willing and enthusiastic, could follow Mr. King through his intricate listing.

Scott's catalogue lists a sub-variety of all values except the ½c on “watermarked” paper. The watermarked letters found in these stamps were known at least as early as 1870 and much speculation was rife as to their meaning. Mr. John N. Luff finally solved the problem by assembling a large number of the watermarked stamps so that he was able to reconstruct the complete watermark, viz:—


The letters are large double lined capitals 12½ mm. high with the exception[Pg 33] of the initial letters E, C and B of the upper line, which are 13 mm. high. The “watermark” is, of course, the trademark of the paper manufacturer and, like other watermarks of a similar nature, it is not of very great philatelic importance. It is very generally presumed that the paper watermarked in this manner was used provisionally—an opinion with which Mr. Howes seems to concur by his statement that “the watermarked paper must therefore have been used sometime during the course of the year 1868, probably the middle, when supplies of all values except the ½c were printed.” But we fail to find from any evidence so far adduced that this watermarked paper was in use only during some well defined period. The fact that it is not found in connection with the ½c proves nothing for this value was of a different size from the others and doubtless paper of a different size, but the same quality was used so as to prevent unnecessary waste in cutting into sheets for printing. At best, as we have already stated, it is but a papermaker's trade mark, and it is difficult to understand on what grounds it is included in the catalogue as a variety to the exclusion of similar and well known examples in the stamps of other countries. We must confess that more importance seems to be attached to the variety than is warranted by its philatelic status and we commend to our readers' attention Major E. B. Evans' pertinent comments regarding it, viz:—

We feel bound to state that, unless the paper itself is of a different nature from the plain wove, this watermark seems to us to possess no interest whatever. It is evidently entirely unofficial, and it is quite possible that it only occurred in one sheet out of several of identically the same paper.

The other variety of paper which calls for special mention is a “laid” paper found in connection with the 1c and 3c values. It is obviously a true “laid” paper, the laid lines being very distinct, fairly wide and quite evenly spaced. While the use of this paper was, no doubt, quite unintentional, it is a distinct variation from the normal wove which cannot be ignored by specialists, though we hardly think it is entitled to rank as a “major” variety as shown by the classification followed in Scott's catalogue. The 3c was discovered first and was mentioned in the Philatelic Record for March, 1882, as follows:—“Mr. Tapling informs us that he possesses the 3 cents red, issue of 1868, on laid paper.” A few months later Mr. Corwin discovered a copy of the 1c which he described in the National Philatelist for January, 1883, as follows:—

Some time since I saw noted in the Philatelic Record the existence of a 3 cent Canada stamp, emission of 1868, on laid paper. In looking through my Canadian varieties, after reading this note, I discovered also a copy of the one cent red, same emission, on laid paper.

This laid paper was evidently used during the printing of the early supplies of the 1c and 3c denominations. Scott's catalogue lists the varieties under the date “1870” but we can find no evidence of any kind in support of this classification. Messrs. Corwin and King record a copy of the 1c postmarked November 27th, 1868, and the 3c is known dated August 31st, 1868, all of which points to the early use of this laid paper. The 15c on “thin paper, horizontally laid” was mentioned in the American Journal of Philately for October, 1892, on the authority of Mr. F. de Coppet but as the variety is not now catalogued and no copy seems to be known we presume its authenticity is a debatable question. The 1c, orange, was at one time listed on laid paper but this has been satisfactorily proved to be simply a “figment of the imagination”.

In his article in the London Philatelist Mr. C. L. Pack describes the 15c as existing on “distinctly soft ribbed paper”. Mr. King gives “ribbed” varieties for all values on both thin and thick soft paper but, as in the case of the earlier Canadian stamps found on ribbed paper, we think a lot of proof is yet necessary before these varieties can be accepted as anything better than accidental vagaries of printing.

The perforation used for the stamps of this series had a gauge of 12, as with the stamps of the preceding issue, and was the work of single line or guillotine machines. That is, each line of perforation, both horizontally and vertically, represented a separate stroke on the machine. The Monthly Journal for February, 1899, lists a minor variety of perforation in the 2c, 3c, 6c, 12½c and 15c denominations in which the measurement is 11½ × 12. Whether a machine with a gauge of 11½ was in temporary use at some time or other is uncertain but if such was the case it seems strange that no copies are known perf. 11½ all round or perf. 12 × 11½. Even if it were due to a slight error in the placing of the perforating needles in some part[Pg 34] of the full row it is strange that specimens gauging 12 × 11½ are not known. We have been unable to find any further references to these varieties other than that stated above so that, until more information is forthcoming on the subject, they should be accepted with reserve.

The 15c of this series is known entirely imperforate and Mr. Howes records the ½c as existing in a horizontal pair, imperforate between.

The only “split” found in connection with this series occurs in the case of the 6c denomination, diagonal halves of which are known to have done postal duty as 3c. These appear to have been entirely unauthorized though, as they undoubtedly passed through the mail, they have an interest to collectors of stamps on cover.

Reference List.

1868. Engraved and Printed by the British American Bank Note Company, at Ottawa. Wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 16.  ½c black. Scott's No. 21.
  • 17.   1c  brown red. Scott's No. 22.
  • 18.   2c  green, Scott's No. 23.
  • 19.   3c  red, Scott's No. 24.
  • 20.   6c  brown, Scott's No. 25.
  • 21.  12½c blue, Scott's No. 26.
  • 22.  15c  lilac, Scott's No. 27.
  • 23.  15c  gray, Scott's No. 39.

Chapter VIII.—The 1c Orange of 1869.


The 1c and 3c stamps of 1868 were so alike in color that it was soon found that confusion was easily possible between the two values. Early in 1869, therefore, the color of the 1c was changed to orange to prevent further mistakes. The exact date at which this change took place is not known, but in the Stamp Collector's Magazine for March 1st, 1869, we read:—

We have just received copies of the one cent printed in brilliant orange. No doubt this colour has been adopted in order better to distinguish it from the 3 cents, which it has hitherto too nearly approached.

From the above extract it would seem that the orange colored stamps were in use at least as early as February and though it has been asserted that the change took place on January 1st, 1869, we believe there are no official documents or early dated specimens in existence that would substantiate this statement.

These 1c stamps may be found in both orange and yellow shades as well as a combination of both. So far as is known they were printed from the same plate or plates as the earlier brown-red stamps.

The paper is the same as that used for the other denominations, i.e. wove, and the fact that this variety is not known with the watermark of the papermaker's trade mark is generally adduced as the strongest evidence in support of the theory that this watermarked paper was only of a provisional nature and was used some time during 1868.

The perforation is the usual 12 and specimens are known entirely imperforate.

Reference List.

1869. Change of color. Wove Paper. Perf. 12.

  • 24.  1c   orange, Scott's No. 31.

Chapter IX.—The Large 5c Stamp.


Although it somewhat interrupts the chronological sequence of our narrative, before dealing with the small “cents” stamps, first appearing in 1870, it will be as well to give the history of the large 5c stamp which, though not issued until 1875, really belongs by virtue of its type and general appearance to the series of 1868.

It is known that the die for this 5c stamp was engraved in 1867 at the same time the dies for the ½, 1c, 2c, 3c, 6c, 12½c and 15c values were prepared for, in the American Journal of Philately for June, 1868, it is stated:—

The Canadian Government have had a 5 cent stamp prepared, engraved of the same type as the present set, the most noticeable difference being the circle round the head which is corded. The specimen sent us is printed in brown on India paper, bearing the Company's imprint underneath.

Though the die was all ready, as amply proved by the above extract, no plate was made as there was then no postal rate which required such a denomination. In 1875, however, the single letter rate between Canada and Great Britain was reduced to 5c as stated in the Postmaster-General's Report for 1875, viz.:—

A treaty for the formation of a General Postal Union, and for the adop[Pg 35]tion of uniform postal rates and regulations for International correspondence, was arranged and signed at Berne, Switzerland, in October, 1874, by the representatives of the Post Offices of the chief Nations of the world. This agreement took effect between all the countries which were directly parties to the Treaty in July last. The Treaty did not include the British Possessions beyond the sea, but Canada has, with the concurrence of the Imperial Government, applied for admission as a member of this Postal Union. Meanwhile the letter rate of postage between Canada and the United Kingdom has, by arrangement with the Imperial Post Office, been reduced to the International rate of 2½ pence sterling—5 cents currency—established by the Union Regulations; and this reduction has also been made applicable to correspondence passing by way of New York, making the rate between Canada and the United Kingdom uniform at 5 cents by whatever route conveyed.

Although the Report alluded to above is dated June 30th, it must have been published at a later date as the “July last” mentioned refers to July, 1875, and when the 5 cent rate came into operation stamps to fit this new rate were wanted in such a hurry that, as a temporary expedient, a plate was made from the die engraved in 1867 pending the preparation of a die conforming to the small sized stamps then in general use. There was only one printing and the total number issued is believed to have been about one million. Mr. Howes says it was issued on October 1st, 1875.

In 1877 the 5c single letter rate was, by treaty, extended to embrace the German states of Prussia, Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Saxony and Wurtemberg and in the same year the rate on a single letter to Newfoundland was reduced from 6c to 5c. At this time, of course, the small sized 5c stamps were in use but it will better preserve the continuity of our study of the postal rates to make one more extract from the Postmaster-General's Reports—that for 1878,—viz.:

At the meeting of the International Postal Congress, which, under the provisions of the Postal Treaty of Berne, concluded in October, 1874, took place at Paris in May, 1878, Canada was admitted to be a member of the General Postal Union from the 1st July, 1878, and in consequence the rate of letter postage between Canada and all Europe became one uniform charge of 5 cents per half ounce. Newspapers and other printed matter, and samples and patterns of merchandise also became subject to uniform postage rates and regulations for all destinations in Europe.

The 5c rate was, thus, now well established, and Canada had obtained membership in the Universal Postal Union, for which she had been striving since 1875.

This large 5c stamp was printed by the line-engraved process, like the other denominations of similar designs. The portrait forming the centrepiece is like that on the values of 1868 though the medallion is enclosed within a “corded” circle instead of an ordinary plain line. “CANADA POSTAGE” is curved above the portrait, as usual, while below is “FIVE CENTS”. The numerals, shown in the lower corners, are somewhat smaller than those on the other denominations of this type.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 100, in ten rows of ten, and with regard to the marginal imprints Mr. Howes tells us that “The sheet bore four marginal imprints, arranged as before, but of a slightly different type for the 1868 issue. This new imprint is in capitals and lower case letters on a colored strip 56 mm. long and 2½ mm. wide, with a border of pearls, and reads: 'British American Bank Note Co. Montreal'. Doubtless the words FIVE CENTS in shaded Roman capitals would be found over the second and third stamps of the top row if one were fortunate enough to possess this portion of a sheet.”

The stamps were printed on the wove paper then in use and perforated 12 in the usual manner.

Reference List.

1875. Engraved and Printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Montreal. Wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 25.  5c   olive green, Scott's No. 37.

Chapter X.—The Small “Cents” Stamps.


In the American Journal of Philately for August, 1869, we read “Canada is shortly to have a new set of stamps. Taking lessons in economy from our own country, it seems they are about altering their stamps to make them[Pg 36] smaller, so as to save paper. The head will still remain exactly the same as now, but the frame and the margin around the head will be considerably less. We cannot see how this can be done without spoiling the beauty of the stamp. As to whether they are to retain the same colors we are unable to say.” The 1869 issue of the United States was in use at that time and though this series is now generally popular it was regarded with very mixed feelings then as may be imagined from the Stamp Collector's Magazine comments on the above statement, viz.:—“We trust this intelligence is incorrect; that the example of the new United States stamps can have any attractive influence on the Canadian authorities is hardly possible.”

The new issues do not seem to have formed the subject of any special official document or notice, nor does the reduction in the size of the labels seem to have been considered worthy of special mention in any of the Reports issued by the Postmaster-General.

These smaller sized stamps were issued as the stocks of the earlier issues became exhausted or, in some cases, presumably as the old plates were discarded owing to wear, but it appears very probable that the dies for the 1c, 2c, 3c, 6c and 10c denominations were all engraved at the same period and, as regards the 2c, 6c and 10c, it is very possible that supplies were printed and held in stock long before it became necessary to issue them to the public.

The 3c was the first value to appear and was probably on sale some time in January, 1870. The Stamp Collector's Magazine for March 1st of that year chronicled this new stamp as follows:—

It appears that the reduction in the size of the Dominion postage stamps, to which reference was made some months ago, is really to be carried out, and as an earnest of the execution of the project, we receive the three cents red, cut down to the size of the half cent, and with the design made to resemble that of the latter. The numerals in the upper corners are absent; the inscription, CANADA POSTAGE, is in almost microscopic lettering, and in lieu of the full denomination—THREE CENTS—in the lower margin, the word CENTS alone appears, flanked by the figure on each side. The cause of the change is not to be sought in any desire to economise paper; it lies in the simple fact that the smaller size is found the more convenient. The design certainly is not improved by it, and we might call upon these little stamps to “hide their diminished heads,” were it not that the head, and that alone, remains as large as ever. The stamps, though in a fair way to become small by degrees as the Canadian idea of convenience increases, are not likely to become “beautifully less.” A new value, however, made up from the parings of the old ones—an 8 cents—is said to be in preparation, and will help to make up in quantity, for any deterioration in the quality.

The next value to appear was the 1 cent, which was recorded in the journal referred to above in its issue for April 1st, so that it was no doubt on sale some time in March, 1869. In design it is similar to the 3c, the main difference being in the inscription at base. The denomination is given in full—ONE CENT—and this follows the curve of the medallion instead of curving in the reverse direction as CENTS does on the 3c.


Evidently there were large stocks on hand of some of the values of the 1868 issue for two years elapsed before any more of the small stamps appeared. Then in the Stamp Collector's Magazine for February, 1872, we read:—“We have received by the last mail specimens of a new 6 cents brown of the small size. It is printed of a warm tint, and is as effective as its congeners.” The design follows that of the 3c very closely with, of course, the numerals “6” instead of “3” in the lower angles.

In the following month the 2c was chronicled, its color being given as “a delicate chrome-green.” The design differs from the 3c and 6c chiefly in the direction of the curve of the word CENTS, which is reversed, as compared with those denominations, and much less pronounced.

The 10c was the next value to appear and it was not on sale until quite late in 1874, probably about November 1st. The design follows the general effect of the 2c but at the same time illustrates a new departure, inasmuch as the numerals of value are repeated in the upper corners in a smaller form. For what particular[Pg 37] purpose this value was intended is not clear for there was, apparently, no regular rate at that time which required such a denomination.

The next value placed on sale was the 5c, which was issued in February, 1876, and superseded the large 5c design after it had been in use for only about four months. Though the portrait is the same as that on the other values the frame is of a distinctly different style and CENTS is in much larger letters than before, showing that the previous values, following as they do a general pattern, were engraved much about the same time though many years elapsed before all were actually in use.


Finally in July, 1882, the ½c value appeared and was recorded in the Philatelic Record for July of that year in the following words:—

That “history repeats itself” is a proverb that is curiously illustrated by the latest issue of this colony. We all remember that in 1868 a ½c stamp of smaller size than the other values of the series was emitted. A few years later, some say for economical reasons, the other values were reduced to the smaller size. Recently it seems to have struck the Canadian authorities that their idea of fourteen years ago was a happy one, and the ½c has been proportionately cut down. The general arrangements of the design remain the same, but the ornamentation is simpler. The head and circle containing it are miniatures of the former, and the result is what the ladies would call “a dear little stamp,” about the size of our lately defunct “Halfpenny,” but an upright instead of an oblong rectangle. We trust the price of paper will not again cause a general reduction; for if the Canadian stamps go on growing “small by degrees, and beautifully less,” they will in time become too microscopic to be collectible.

After the issue of the ½c value the only denominations of the 1868 series not provided with successors in the issue under notice were the 12½c and 15c. Regarding the former value the Stamp Collector's Magazine for May, 1872, says, on the authority of a Canadian journal:—“It is unlikely that the 12½c small size will be issued, as the large ones are very little used, and can now be bought at the post-office for 12 cents.” But some three years later the American Journal of Philately asserted that “Canada will shortly issue the 12½c and 15c values of postals in small size, to correspond with the others of the series.” These stamps, however, never materialised though that dies and plates were made and stamps printed from them is evident from the existence of perforated essays of these two values. The portrait is exactly like that of the other denominations, and the borders are, on general lines, so like the 1c, 2c, 3c, 6c and 10c as to give considerable support to the belief that these unissued varieties were prepared for use at quite an early date.

The stamps of this series were all produced by the line-engraved process and all values, with the exception of the ½c, were at first printed in sheets of 100, arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten. The ½c was printed in sheets of 200, arranged in two panes of 100 each, placed side by side. A space of about 11 mm. separated the two panels and these large sheets were cut into halves before leaving the printing establishment, thus making “post-office” sheets of 100 stamps. In the later months of 1892 or early in 1893 the 1c, 2c and 3c values—the ones in most general demand—were printed in large sheets of 200 arranged in ten horizontal rows of twenty stamps each.

A close study of a large quantity of these stamps would probably result in the discovery of many interesting varieties in the way of double transfers. In the few stamps at our disposal we have found but one of any prominence. This occurs on the 3c denomination the top portion of the design having plainly been applied to the plate twice, the doubling being especially noticeable in the inscription CANADA POSTAGE.

As these stamps were in use for a fairly lengthy period—nearly thirty years in the case of the 3c—it is obvious that a large number of plates must have been made, especially for those denominations which were generally used. At different times different marginal imprints or arrangements of the imprints were used, and given sufficient material a study of these marginal varieties should reveal much of interest. Mr. Howes has paid particular attention to these varieties and the following notes are chiefly based on his investigations.[Pg 38]

The earliest plates of the 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c and 6c, and probably the 10c as well (as this value was in use before the 5c), had the denomination in words above the second and third stamps on the top row of each sheet. These inscriptions, “ONE CENT”, etc., were in large shaded Roman capitals 4 mm. high. In the centre of each of the four margins is the manufacturer's imprint, BRITISH AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. MONTREAL & OTTAWA, in colorless Roman capitals on a narrow strip of color 1 mm. wide and 51 mm. long; this imprint being, in fact, exactly like that found on the sheets of the 1868 issue. These remarks apply to the 1c, 2c, 3c and 6c (and probably to the 10c also), but not to the 5c.

The 5c, which was not issued until 1876, has the denomination shown in the upper margin in large shaded Roman capitals, as in the case of the others, but the imprint is different, being like that found on the sheets of the large 5c stamp, i.e. “British American Bank Note Co. Montreal”, in capitals and lower case letters on a strip of solid color 56 mm. long by 2½ mm. wide, with a pearled border. This imprint was shown on each of the four margins.

About this time new plates made for the other denominations also had this new style of imprint. Sheets of the 1c and 3c show the imprint on top and bottom margins only, but whether other plates were used for these denominations with imprints on all four sides is not known for certain, though this is highly probable. The 6c and 10c values of this series have large numerals, “6” or “10” as the case may be, above the second stamp in the top row, while above the ninth stamp of the same row is “SIX” or “TEN” in shaded Roman capitals. The numerals are very thick and 6 mm. in height, while the letters are 4 mm. high as on the earlier plates, though the word “CENTS” has now been dispensed with. This arrangement has not been noted on other denominations as yet, though there is no reason why it should not be found in connection with the 1c, 2c and 3c.

A sheet of the 3c value, with two marginal imprints, is noted with “THREE” in shaded Roman capitals above the first two stamps of the top row, while the 1c is recorded without any marginal designation of value and with but two of the “Montreal” imprints.

The printing establishment of the British American Bank Note Company was removed from Montreal to Ottawa in 1888 and plates made after that date show a new style of imprint viz:—“BRITISH AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. OTTAWA”, in white Roman capitals on a strip of solid color measuring 40 mm. long by 1½ mm. wide. This, it will be noted, is like the first type of imprint but with the words “MONTREAL &” removed. On the 2c this is known 49 mm. long and nearly 2 mm. wide, this being from a sheet in the 100 arrangement. The smaller style of imprint seems to have been characteristic of the sheets printed in the 200 size, and writing with regard to these Mr. Howes says:—

The “Ottawa” imprint appears three times, once in the middle of the top margin, over stamps 10 and 11, and twice in the bottom margin, beneath stamps 5 and 6, and again beneath stamps 15 and 16. There are no imprints at the sides. The denomination appears in the top margin at both right and left and in a new style of lettering on these larger plates. Thus we find ONE CENT or TWO CENT over stamps 2 and 3 as well as 18 and 19, or THREE CENT over the first four and last four stamps in plain Egyptian capitals.


The ½c value, which we have left until last on account of its different sheet arrangement, had the “Montreal” imprint, described in connection with the other values, arranged six times on the margins—above and below each pane, at the right of the right hand pane, and at the left of the left hand pane—so that there were three imprints on each of the “post-office” sheets of 100 stamps. In addition, to quote Mr. Howes, “over the top inscription of the right pane is the reversed figure 1, 4 mm. high, and in the same position on the left pane the corresponding figure 2, evidently to designate the panes.”

This series provides a number of shade varieties, as is only natural in a set having such long currency, and their proper treatment is a matter involving some little perplexity. It was evidently the original intention of the printers to keep the colors of the small stamps as nearly like those of the large ones they superseded as possible, and while many shades match the colors of the earlier stamps to a nicety others show a divergence that[Pg 39] at times almost approaches a “color change.” As early as May, 1873, the Stamp Collector's Magazine noted a change in the shade of the 3c viz.:—

By the courtesy of a Montreal correspondent we are in possession of specimens of the current three cents, printed in bright orange-vermilion. A supply in this color has just been issued.

The Philatelic Record for March, 1888, says “The 10c is now in carmine-red”, and again in May that “the 5 cents has changed its color from bronze-green to greenish grey.” More than a year later (July, 1889) the same journal says “the 2 cents stamp is now blue-green;” in December, 1890, the 6c is recorded in “chestnut-brown”; while in April, 1892, the 5c is chronicled as having been issued in “grey-black.”

Similar color changes in most values were recorded in other journals but as there is an almost total lack of agreement as regards the names chosen to designate the different shades these chronicles are of little value in determining the chronological order of issue of even the most striking of the tints. It is also more than probable that after a change had been made the original or earlier tints were reverted to later on. The catalogues are equally at variance in their choice of color names and while Gibbons' gives four shades for each of the 1c and 3c values, Scott gives but two for the 1c and of the four given for the 3c not one agrees with any of the names given by Gibbons'. The only point on which both catalogues agree is that a general change of colors took place during the period of 1888-90, i.e., after the printers had moved their establishment from Montreal to Ottawa. But though the later printings of the 6c and 10c do, undoubtedly, differ very materially from the earlier colors—almost enough so, in fact, to be classed as distinct colors—such varieties seem to have been purely accidental and to classify them as separate issues hardly seems correct. In this connection it is interesting to quote Mr. Howes' remarks:—

That the above changes were hardly of a character to warrant dignifying them as a “new issue,” which is frequently done, is shown by a moment's consideration. The ½c and 1c stamps showed no appreciable difference in coloring and therefore caused no comment. The 2 cent did not retain its blue green shade unaltered, and the 3 cent soon reverted to its former brilliant red hue, as the Philatelic Journal of America for May, 1889, says that “the carmine color recently adopted has been dropped, and the stamps are printed in colors similar to the ones in use before the change was made.” The 5, 6, and 10 cent stamps, however, made permanent changes, but only such as might readily be traceable to a new mixing of the inks in the case of the first two. The 10 cent can hardly be so easily disposed of, as lake and brown-red are of quite different composition from a rose-lilac. But there can have been no official intention of altering the shades or colors or more definite and permanent changes would certainly have been made throughout the set. It remains, therefore, to classify them simply as shade varieties of the original set.

Mr. Donald A. King, in his article in the Monthly Journal, gives no less than eight varieties of paper for the stamps of this issue, though all resolve themselves into slight, and in many cases probably imperceptible, variations in quality and thickness of the usual “wove” paper. Mr. Howes gives a thick and thin wove and “a closely ribbed paper.” This latter like the ribbed varieties in the earlier issues, is evidently due to nothing more than some eccentricity of printing and is, consequently, of doubtful philatelic importance. The classification of the series into thick and thin papers seems to have more to be said in its favor if the statement made in Gibbons' catalogue is to be relied on. According to a foot note the stamps printed prior to 1888 (that is, in Montreal), are on a thinner paper than was used for subsequent printings. The Philatelic Record for October, 1893, mentions the 10c as being found on “fine laid paper” but this was evidently the variety more generally classified as “ribbed.”

The perforation used for the stamps of this series was the usual 12—the work of single-line or guillotine machines. All values are reported to exist perforated 11½ by 12, as mentioned in connection with the issues of 1868, but this statement requires verification before it can be accepted as authoritative. All values are known entirely imperforate, the 3c in this condition being first recorded in the Philatelic Record for December, 1882. Writing in the London Philatelist in 1907 Mr. M. H. Horsley says with regard to these varieties:—“Imperforated copies of various values were sold over the Post-office counter in Montreal about the years 1891-3 at their face value, and have been good for postage whenever people cared[Pg 40] to use them.” Writing a little later on the same subject Mr. C. L. Pack also vouches for them, viz.:—“I quite agree with Mr. Horsley in regard to the various imperforate copies of the issues of 1882 to 1895. There are a good many specimens of these stamps imperforate, and they were on sale at a Canadian Post Office.” Curiously enough Gibbons' catalogue entirely ignores these imperforate stamps though Mr. Howes is able to adduce documentary evidence in support of the statements made by philatelists of such undoubted authority as Messrs. Horsley and Pack.

Scott's catalogue records the ½c as existing in a horizontal pair imperforate between.

The same work records the 2c bi-sected diagonally or vertically and the halves used for 1c stamps, while Mr. Howes adds the 6c, cut vertically and used for 3c. But as the “Canadian Postal Guide” declares that “a mutilated stamp, or a stamp cut in half, is not recognised in payment of postage” such freaks can only have passed through the mails by carelessness or favor and their philatelic interest is negligible.

In 1875 an Act of Parliament was passed making the prepayment of letters by postage stamp obligatory and imposing a fine of double the deficiency on all insufficiently prepaid letters. At the same time local or drop letters (accepted for 1c) were restricted to ½ oz. in weight.

The Postmaster-General's Report for 1879 says:—

A reduction has been made, from the 1st September last, in the postage rate on closed parcels sent by post within the Dominion, from 12½ cents per 8 oz. of weight to 6 cents per 4 oz. Under this change small parcels not exceeding 4 ounces in weight are admitted to pass for 6 cents instead of 12½ cents as before.

It will thus be seen that this change did away with the chief use of the 12½c value and made it practically useless. Hence the reason it was never included among the series of small “cents” stamps.

In 1889 another Post Office Act increased the limit of weight of single letters from ½ oz. to 1 oz., and at the same time increased the postal rate on local or drop letters from 1c to 2c, though a weight of 1 oz. was allowed under the new schedule. An official notice recording these changes was published as follows:—


Changes in Postage Rates Under Authority of Post Office Act 1889.

The rate of postage upon Letters posted in Canada, addressed to places within the Dominion or in the United States, will be 3 cents per ounce instead of 3 cents per half ounce as heretofore. Upon Drop Letters posted at an Office from which letters are delivered by Letter Carrier, the postage rate will be 2 cents per ounce, instead of 1 cent per half ounce. The rate of postage upon Drop Letters, except in the Cities where free delivery by Letter Carrier has been established, will be 1 cent per ounce.

The fee for the Registration of a letter or other article of mail matter, will be five cents upon all classes of correspondence passing within the Dominion. For the present and until further instructed, the registration fee may be prepaid by using the 2 cent Registration Stamps and Postage Stamps to make up the amount.

Letters insufficiently prepaid will be charged double the deficiency as heretofore, provided at least a partial payment has been made. Letters posted wholly unpaid will be sent to the Dead Letter Office for return to the writer.

John G. Haggart,

Post Office Department,
Ottawa, 8th May, 1889.

Reference List.

1870-82. Engraved and Printed by the British American Bank Note Co. of Montreal and Ottawa. Wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 26.   ½c  black, Scott's No. 40.
  • 27.   1c   orange, Scott's No. 32.
  • 28.   2c   green. Scott's No. 33 or 41.
  • 29.   3c   red. Scott's No. 34 or 42.
  • 30.   5c   grey, Scott's No. 38 or 43.
  • 31.   6c   brown, Scott's No. 35 or 44.
  • 32.   10c magenta or brown red, Scott's No. 36 or 45.

Chapter XI.—The 20c and 50c Stamps of 1893.


The Postmaster-General's Report for 1892 states that “Postage stamps of the value of 20 cents and 50 cents are about to be issued. These will be useful in prepayment of parcel post.” These high values were, of course, intended to be used in making up relatively large amounts of postage. They were not[Pg 41] issued to be used in prepayment of any specific rates though a study of the postal rates of the period show that the postage on a parcel weighing up to one pound sent to the United Kingdom would require a 20c stamp, while a 2 lb. parcel sent to Japan would take the 50c denomination. The same rates show that the postage on 1 lb. parcels sent to Newfoundland was 15c, though no stamp of this value had been issued subsequent to the series of 1868 nor has one ever since been included in the regular series.


These new 20c and 50c labels were issued on February 17th, 1893, and while alike in design, except as regards the denotation of value, they are quite dissimilar from any of the previously issued postage stamps of the Dominion both as regards size and design. The portrait shows Queen Victoria in her widow's weeds and is similar to that shown on the Bill stamps which were first issued in 1868. Above the portrait CANADA POSTAGE is curved, and on straight labels at the foot is the value in words, while between this inscription and the lower part of the medallion are figures of value.

The stamps were, as usual, produced by the line-engraved process, and they were printed in sheets of 100 at the Ottawa establishment of the British American Bank Note Company. The manufacturer's imprint was shown twice on each sheet—in the centre of the upper and lower margins. This imprint consisted of the words “British American Bank Note Co. Ottawa,” on a strip of solid color measuring 38 mm. in length and 2½ mm. in height. This colored strip has square ends and is enclosed within a pearled border.

Both values were printed on the wove paper used for the other denominations then current and the perforation was the usual 12 made by single-line machines.

Evidently these values were but sparingly used, for Mr. Howes tells us:—

Both were ordered to the number of half a million copies in 1893, and in 1895 25,000 more of the 20 cent and 30,000 more of the 50 cent were delivered, with a final 200 copies in 1896. These quantities were sufficient to last until the 20 cent was superseded by the newer type in 1901, and the 50 cent by the King's head stamp in 1908. Some 1500 of the 20 cent were returned for destruction and about 10,000 of the 50 cent.

It seems hardly possible that but 200 copies of each were supplied in 1896—i.e. two sheets of each value—if they were the normal perforated stamps. Possibly this small supply consisted of the imperforates—both values being known in this condition—and if so they may have been printed to fill a special requisition. The imperforate 20c is on the normal shade but the 50c is, as Mr. Howes observes, in a “peculiar black blue” shade. There are no marked varieties in shade as can easily be understood from the few printings which took place.

Reference List.

1893. Engraved and Printed by the British American Bank Note Co. of Ottawa. Wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 33.  20c  vermilion, Scott's No. 46.
  • 34.  50c  deep blue, Scott's No. 47.

Chapter XII.—The 8c Stamp of 1893.


Until 1889 the registration fee had to be prepaid by means of the special stamps issued for the purpose. When, in 1889, a uniform registration fee of 5c was adopted the public were given permission to use the ordinary postage stamps in making up the difference between the old rate of 2c and the new one. This was done largely to enable the old 2c labels to be used up. In 1893 it was decided to discontinue the use of special registration stamps altogether and to permit the payment of the registry fee by means of the regular postage stamps. As the rate of domestic postage was 3c at that time and the registration[Pg 42] fee was 5c, a new stamp, by means of which both postage and registration could be paid together, it was decided, would be useful. Consequently an 8c denomination was issued, this being recorded in the Philatelic Record for October, 1893, though, judging from the following extract from the Weekly for August 10th, 1893, it would appear that the new value was in general circulation at least as early as August 1st:—

The following orders were posted up in all Canadian post-offices on August 1st:

A new postage stamp of the value of 8c is now being put into circulation. This stamp will be available for the prepayment either of registration fee and postage combined, or of postage only. The 5c registration stamp, when the present supply is exhausted, will be withdrawn.


The new denomination, as stated in the Philatelic Record, “resembles in design the 3 cents of the current series; but the head of the Queen has been turned the other way, and is now to the left.”

This stamp was of similar size to the other values of the set then current (excepting the 20c and 50c, of course) and it was printed from steel plates in sheets of 200 arranged in ten horizontal rows of twenty stamps each. According to Mr. Howes, there were no marginal imprints of any kind. This denomination was printed on wove paper and perforated 12 like the others. The variety with gauge of 11½ × 12 is reported in connection with this value but, like the similar varieties of the earlier issues which we have already mentioned, the statement requires verification before it can be definitely accepted.

The 8c is known entirely imperforate in the blue-grey shade, which was one of the earliest if not the first shade for this stamp. The Philatelic Record calls it “slate-grey” but evidently the tint now generally classified as “blue-grey” was meant.

This stamp provides a large number of very distinct shade varieties. Just 13 months after it was first chronicled the Philatelic Record says:—“Whether by accident or intention does not appear to be quite clear, but copies of the present 8 cents are found in much darker color than we have hitherto seen. Messrs. A. Smith & Son have shown us copies that are slate-black of the darkest kind.”

A writer in the Canada Stamp Sheet for October, 1900, says:—

There are three varieties of this stamp, the slate, the lilac-grey and the purple. The first and second tints are comparatively common, but the purple is not found in every dealer's stock nor has it a place in many stamp collections. In fact, it is a variety but little known to the average collector, from the fact that it is seldom offered, either on approval sheets or on the counter of the dealer. There ought to be no difficulty in distinguishing this stamp from its mates of the same denomination, for while the backs of the rest present a white surface, in this case the back or paper is of a decidedly purplish hue. In my opinion this stamp is a good one to pick up now, as its present value is far below its intrinsic worth.

Later still, a German paper referred to three main printings for this stamp a translation of the article appearing in Gibbons Stamp Weekly for June 13th, 1908, as follows:—

The last stamp issued showing a portrait of the late Queen Victoria as a young girl was the 8 cents, Canada, issued in July, 1893. The stamp was intended for a combined postage and registration stamp; 3c for postage (inland) 5c registration fee.

There were three distinct printings of this stamp; they may be easily distinguished from each other by differences of shade.

July, 1893, blue-grey.
October, 1895, slate-grey.
? 1897, purple-black.

The total number issued of these stamps was 5,885,000, but unfortunately there are no records of the quantities of each of the three printings.

It will be noticed that there is no 8 cents in the King Edward VII issue, for the simple reason that the inland rate had been reduced to 2 cents; therefore the present combined postage and registration stamp is a 7 cents.

The above extract, it will be noted, is very explicit as regards the actual number issued as well as the dates of issue of the three most distinctive shades. On what authority these statements are based we cannot say, but Mr. Howes[Pg 43] shows from official records that many more than the quantity stated were printed, viz.:—

The first delivery of these stamps, and of course the first printing, was of 100,000, as recorded in the stamp accounts for 1893. As these accounts were made up to 30th June, and there is no record of any “issue to postmasters,” the stamps were doubtless delivered just before the accounts were closed, so that opportunity had not been given to distribute the new value. For the next few fiscal years the amount received from the manufacturers averaged over a million and a half annually, so that by the time it was superseded it had been printed to the number of at least 7½ millions.

Reference List.

1893. Engraved and Printed by the British American Bank Note Co. Ottawa. Wove Paper. Perf. 12.

  • 35.  8c  grey, Scott's No. 48. 48a, 49 or 49a.

Chapter XIII.—The Diamond Jubilee Issue.


The year 1897 was an eventful one in the history of the British Empire, for on June 20th the greatly revered Queen Victoria celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of her accession to the throne. Naturally such an epochal event was marked in one way or another in even the most remote corners of the Empire. In some cases there were public celebrations and rejoicings with, perhaps the erection of memorials, while some of the colonies marked the event by the issue of special series of postage stamps. The Dominion of Canada commemorated the “Diamond Jubilee” by the issue of a highly ornate set of stamps comprising no less than sixteen different denominations, and the inclusion of what were widely termed “unnecessary” high values and the unbusinesslike and somewhat discreditable manner in which they were placed on sale by the Post Office Department cast a slur on Canada's postal history which took many years to live down.

Early in 1897 the idea of issuing a special series of stamps was mooted as witness the following extract from the Weekly Philatelic Era for January 30th:

Many suggestions are being made and many plans laid for the fitting celebration of the sixtieth year of Her Majesty's reign. In Canada ... a proposal has been made and an agitation started for the issue of a commemorative set of postage stamps by the Dominion government.... It has been suggested that the new stamps be made a trifle larger than the present ones, that a somewhat recent picture of Her Majesty replace the present one, and that the figures and colors be made more pronounced.... The agitation for a new issue is quite pronounced and is by no means confined to philatelists. There appears to be a general desire on the part of the people to have a change.

At first the intention seems to have been to issue only a 3 cent stamp but, alas, this original intention was stifled like many other good ideas and the Departmental officials, giving their enthusiasm free rein, finally decided on a set to consist of sixteen denominations ranging all the way from ½c to five dollars. The announcement of the forthcoming issue of the stamps aroused so much general interest that the series formed the subject of a question in Parliament and according to the Canadian Hansard—the official and verbatim record of Parliamentary proceedings—the Postmaster-General (Mr. Mulock) replied to his interrogator as follows:—

It is the intention of the Government to issue a set of Jubilee postage stamps. Such stamps will be put into public use by being delivered to postmasters throughout Canada for sale to the public in the same manner as ordinary postage stamps are sold. There will be a limit to the quantity to be issued. The denominations of Jubilee stamps, and the total number of such Jubilee stamps to be issued, are set forth in the following schedule:

Number to be issued. Denomination.
150,000 ½c stamps.
8,000,000 1c "
2,500,000 2c "
20,000,000 3c "
750,000 5c "
75,000 6c "
200,000 8c "
150,000 10c "
100,000 15c "
100,000 20c "
100,000 50c "
25,000 $1 "
25,000 $2 "
25,000 $3 "
25,000 $4 "
25,000 $5 "
7,000,000 1c postcards.

Total value of one stamp of each kind $16.21½.

[Pg 44] As soon as the total number of stamps mentioned in said schedule is issued the plates from which they will have been engraved will be destroyed in the presence of the head and two officers of the department. On the 10th of June the Post Office Department will proceed to supply Jubilee postage stamps to the principal post-offices in Canada, and through them minor post offices will obtain their supply until the issue is exhausted. If this Jubilee issue were to wholly displace the ordinary postage stamps it would supply the ordinary wants of the country for between two and three months, but as the use of the ordinary postage stamps will proceed concurrently with that of the Jubilee stamps, it is expected that the Jubilee stamps will last beyond the three months. Inasmuch as the department is already receiving applications for the purchase of Jubilee stamps, it may be stated that the department will adhere to the established practice of supplying them only to postmasters, and through them to the public, who may purchase them on and after the 19th June, 1897.

It will be noted that the Post-Office Department made no pretense about the matter but stated quite candidly that the issue would be limited and before very long, by means of different official notices and communications it was made quite plain that the issue was intended to sell and that restrictions would be placed on the scale of the more desirable values, which were issued in but small quantities. With the first supply of these stamps sent to postmasters the following circular was sent:—

N. B.—Requisitions for full sets of the Jubilee stamps will be filled until the issue is exhausted.—E. P. S.

Post Office Department, Canada,
Postage Stamp Branch,

Ottawa, June, 1897.

Sir:—I am directed by the Postmaster-General to send you herewith a supply of the Jubilee stamps and 1c post card, equal to one month's ordinary requirements of your office. Should this quantity prove insufficient it will, on your requisition addressed to this branch, be supplemented; but as the Jubilee issue is limited, it would be necessary for you to apply early in order to secure further supplies of the same.

I am also to instruct you not to sell any of the accompanying stamps or postcards before the opening of your office at the regular office hours on the 19th June instant—the eve of the anniversary they are intended to commemorate.

These stamps and cards are, of course, like the ordinary issues, to be sold at face value.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant

E. P. Stanton, Superintendent.

P. S.—As there appears to be a somewhat general desire on the part of many persons to purchase, for souvenir purposes, complete sets of the Jubilee stamps, it is hoped that you will so manage the sale of such stamps that persons applying to purchase full sets may be able to get them.—E. P. S.

The stamps were placed on sale throughout the Dominion on the morning of Saturday, the 19th of June the eve of Jubilee day proper. Naturally there was a big rush on the part of the public to obtain specimens of the much heralded stamps and in the larger centres the post offices were literally besieged. Speculators tried to corner the ½c and 6c denominations, which advance particulars had shown to be the most desirable of the lower values, but the stamps were doled out carefully and large orders were promptly and firmly refused. But though care was exercised the department was convinced, from the result of the first day's sale, that steps would have to be taken to further restrict the sale of the desirable denominations. The demand for the stamps at the chief office was so great that a circular letter was prepared to be despatched to applicants, this reading as follows:—

Post Office Department, Canada,
Postage Stamp Branch,

Ottawa, 26th June, 1897.

Sir,—With reference to the numerous demands upon this office for the ½c and 6c Jubilee stamps, I am directed to explain that the respective quantities of Jubilee stamps ordered bear, relatively, the same proportions to the actual requirements of the Postal Service, but the tendency to exhaust the HALVES and SIXES has increased to such a degree, that it has become necessary to restrict their sale to the purchasers of full sets. Hence I am to express the Postmaster-General's regret that he is unable, having regard to the limited character of the Jubilee issue, to comply with any requests for the ½c or 6c denomination, apart from those for full sets. These sets may be obtained as long as the series of Jubilee stamps last, but [Pg 45]as the demands upon it are unusually heavy, it would be advisable to apply for full sets at the earliest possible moment.

When Postmasters obtain such sets to fill orders actual or prospective at their respective offices, they must not, in any case, break the sets.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant

E. P. Stanton, Superintendent.

P. S.—Under no circumstances will there be any issue of Jubilee stamps, beyond the limits mentioned in the accompanying extract from Hansard, containing the Postmaster-General's statement on the subject.

At the same time instructions were issued to postmasters that they were not to sell the ½c, 6c, 8c and dollar denominations except in the complete sets of sixteen values.

Later this ruling was modified and sets to 50c and $1 inclusive were allowed to be sold resulting in the issue of another circular to postmasters worded as follows:—

Post Office Department, Canada,
Postage Stamp Branch,

Ottawa, August, 1897.

Sir,—I am directed to transmit to you the accompanying partial sets of Jubilee stamps. These sets consist of two kinds: one from a ½c to $1 (value $2.20½), the other from ½c to 50c (value $1.20½). You are instructed to sell these stamps as sets, and as sets only, representations having been made to the department that in various parts of the Dominion there is a desire to obtain such sets for souvenir purposes. You must not, under any circumstances, break a set; for, besides the disappointment that such a course would cause, you would render yourself liable to loss, the department having decided not to allow credit for any broken sets returned to it by a postmaster who, notwithstanding the instructions herein given, sells any denominations of the stamps making up a set apart from the rest.

I am also to ask you to use your best judgment in the sale of these sets, checking, as far as possible, any attempt on the part of speculators to monopolise them, and thus securing as general distribution of such sets in your vicinity as the circumstances may permit. To enable you to make change in connection with the sale of the enclosed sets I include a sufficient quantity of ordinary ½c postage stamps.

I may add that the accompanying supply has been based strictly upon the annual revenue of your office, and, having regard to the total number of sets available and the extent of their distribution, represents that proportion to which you are entitled.

I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant

E. P. Stanton, Superintendent.

So anxious did the department show itself in its efforts to circumnavigate the speculator, and so obvious was the fact that the Jubilee stamps were issued, like our own Columbian stamps, for the pecuniary profit the Government would derive from their sale, that it is small wonder that the series was condemned and discredited by the philatelic press almost universally. The following extract from the Monthly Journal for June, 1897, is typical of many:—

We are indebted to various correspondents for papers and cuttings with reference to the Jubilee issue of this Colony which will have taken place by the time this is in print. While acknowledging that the design of the stamps appears to be a very handsome and appropriate one, we feel bound to add that the affair possesses no other redeeming feature whatever. The Canadian Government has made a new contract for the supply of stamps, etc., with an American firm, which will apparently involve a new issue of stamps within a short time. If the occasion had been taken for the issue of a permanent series appropriate to the Jubilee year, nothing could have been more agreeable to philatelists throughout the British Empire; but to bring out a set of labels, including unnecessarily high values and printed in limited numbers, to be issued concurrently with the present stamps, is to reproduce all the most objectionable features of the unnecessary and speculative emissions, which we all desire to put an end to. We cannot expect that on such an occasion as this loyal British subjects will be able to abstain altogether from purchasing Jubilee mementoes of this description, but we would most strongly recommend them to be satisfied with copies of one or two of the lower values. Outside the British Empire we trust that this discreditable issue will fall as flat as it deserves.

To add to the unsavory tale we have only to say that there was much scandal on account of the openly expressed statements that the desirable values were, in many instances, cornered by postal employes who had, of course, “first option” on the supplies reaching their respective[Pg 46] offices. Thus, in the Philatelic Messenger of New Brunswick, we read:

But now that the stamps have been issued in certain given numbers and in the Postmaster-General's peculiar way, where are they? That is what a great many want to know and that is a question which must be answered. I know where some of them are. I had a letter from a postmaster's son at a small office in Quebec, asking me what I would give for 45 8c Jubilee stamps. I had a letter from an office in P. E. Island, asking my prices for ½, 6, and 8c Jubilee stamps. Collectors in the principal cities of the Dominion have seen whole sheets of ½c stamps in the possession of post-office employees. These little incidents may give one some idea where the stamps are. I also have a pretty good idea where the stamps are not. A prominent Toronto dealer laid $100 on the stamp counter the first day of sale, and was tendered two specimens of the ½c and 6c stamps. At Montreal, Toronto, St. Johns, Halifax, and all the principal cities, not more than two specimens of the ½, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20 and 50c stamps were sold to the same person, that is, of course, outside the post-office staff. I have it on good authority that there is not a stamp dealer in Canada who has 100 of the ½c value unless he happens to be a post-office employé also. The stamps are not in the dealers' stock books then, for they have not been able to get them. I wrote to Fredericton the other day for a few 10, 15, 20 and 50c stamps and the postmaster returned the money and said they could be supplied only in complete sets. One meets with the same reception at nearly every post office. What were the stamps made for if not to be sold to the public as the public wants them? What would be thought of a furniture store where one could not purchase a table or a chair but must take a whole set? The thing is ridiculous.

While the idea of issuing special stamps to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee was laudable enough, the restrictions applied to their sale and the inclusion of unnecessary high values was, to put it mildly, an official faux pas. It has been asserted that the values from $2 to $5 inclusive were quite unnecessary as it was not possible to use either of these denominations in prepayment of any legitimate postal charges. But it was also pointed out that as there was no limit to the weight of a package sent by first class mail a heavy letter could easily call for more postage than $5. Indeed, in his article in the Monthly Journal, Mr. Donald A. King stated:—

At a post office with which I am somewhat familiar the posting of letters and parcels for the United Kingdom and other Postal Union countries that called for postage from $1.00 upwards was, at certain periods, a matter of daily, often hourly, occurrence, so much so that the only comment it excited was from the clerk cancelling, who would audibly wish that there were higher values in the permanent issue than 50c and thus save time cancelling the entire length of a large envelope.

Within my own experience there has been more than one case where a letter has been mailed on which there was not space to place the stamps; an entire sheet (100) of 15 cents stamps was pasted on, obliterated, and then another with some odd values completed the prepayment; and the case can be recalled of a letter on which $40.00 postage was prepaid. While the Jubilee set was in everyday use the sight of the higher values was quite common on any mail for the United Kingdom and Europe, shipping and commercial houses prepaying their mail with the “dollar” values simply as a matter of convenience.

But though there may have been isolated instances in which high values could be used with convenience their very limited use is obvious from the fact that the Canadian government has always, both before and since the emission of the Jubilee set, found a 50c value high enough for all practical purposes. Had postal requirements called for such constant use of high values as Mr. King's remarks lead us to infer it is hardly likely that, when the remainders were finally withdrawn and destroyed in 1905, out of a comparatively small total issue of 25,000 of each of the dollar stamps 94 of the $1, 66 of the $2, 1,835 of the $3, 2,013 of the $4, and 1,240 of the $5 would be returned and destroyed.


The design is the same for all denominations and, as we have already[Pg 47] stated, is a very handsome one. The stamps are of extra large size and show two portraits of Queen Victoria. That on the left, with the date “1837” below it, is identical with the portrait shown on the old 12d and 7½d stamps, while the one on the right, with date “1897” below, is from a full length portrait painted in 1886 by Professor von Angelo of Vienna. This shows the Queen in her robes of state as she appeared on the assumption of the title “Empress of India.” Above the portraits is CANADA POSTAGE and between these words is the so-called Tudor Crown of Great Britain with the letters “V. R. I.” below—these latter, of course, standing for Victoria Regina Imperatrix, (Victoria, Queen and Empress). At the base the value is shown on a straight tablet and in the angles, and between the two dates, are maple leaf ornaments. These Jubilee stamps were printed by the American Bank Note Company, who had recently secured the contract for the printing of stamps, bank notes, etc., for the Dominion. In the Montreal Herald for January, 1897, the following particulars are given with regard to the change of printers:—

The contract for the Government engraving, for which tenders were called two months ago, has been awarded to the American Bank Note Company, of New York, for a period of five and a quarter years. The contract is worth $600,000, and may be renewed for a similar period. The work consists of engraving the Dominion bank notes, revenue and postage stamps, postal cards, etc. At present the British American Bank Note Company, better known as Burland and Company, formerly of Montreal, have the contract. They tendered this time, but the New York company was the lowest. The New York company is one of the largest and best known in the world. The firm engraves notes for some of the banks in Canada, including the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Under the terms of the new contract, the Company will require to establish a place in Ottawa to do the work, where the Government can have supervision of it. As compared with the prices paid under the Burland contract, the Government will effect a saving of $120,000 by the new contract.

The stamps were, like all Canadian stamps, produced by the line-engraved process, the values from ½c to 5c inclusive being printed in sheets of 100 in ten horizontal rows of ten, and the other denominations in sheets of 50 in ten horizontal rows of five stamps each. The only marginal inscription consists of the name OTTAWA followed by the number of the plate. This inscription appears at the top of the sheets only—above the centre of the fifth and sixth stamps in the case of the ½, 1, 2, 3 and 5c values and above the third stamp on the values from 6c to $5. The name is in thin Roman capitals, 2½ mm. high, the total length of the inscriptions being about 40 mm. The following are the numbers of the plates used:—

½ cent, plate 9.
1 cent, plates 5, 6, 15, 16.
2 cents, plate 7, 8.
3 cents, plates 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 28, 29, 30, 31.
5 cents, plate 10.
6 cents, plate 17.
8 cents, plate 20.
10 cents, plate 19.
15 cents, plate 18.
20 cents, plate 21.
50 cents, plate 23.
$1, plate 27.
$2, plate 26.
$3, plate 24.
$4, plate 22.
$5, plate 25.

The paper was the usual wove variety and the perforation gauged 12—the production of single-line or guillotine machines. Even in the case of values of which large quantities were printed, like the 3c, variations in shade are remarkably slight. The 1c is known split diagonally and the halves used as ½c and while this practice was disproved of by the Post Office Department the half stamps undoubtedly filled a local need as shown by an extract from a Canadian newspaper printed in the Weekly Philatelic Era, viz.:—

The Railway News last week on account of not receiving permission from the Post-Master General to allow papers to go through the mails free, was compelled to pay postage. No half cent stamps being available, the post office department allowed one cent stamps to be cut in halves for postage. This is the first time on record we believe where such was allowed and the stamps have been eagerly sought after, one dollar being paid for a single stamp with the post office stamp on it. The News will pay twenty-five cents each for the one cent Jubilee stamps cut in halves bearing the post-office stamp of November 5th, 6th, or 8th, which was allowed to pass through the mails on that date owing to there being no regular half cent stamps available.

[Pg 48]

One set of Jubilee stamps—said to be the first one printed, though of course this statement cannot be taken literally as meaning the stamps were printed one at a time:—was mounted in a specially designed portfolio and presented to the Duke of York, now His Most Gracious Majesty King George V. An account of this presentation set, taken from an old issue of the Weekly, is worthy of reproduction:

A very unique and handsome piece of work is the postal portfolio which is to be presented to His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, by the Dominion Government, and which is on exhibition in the window of Kyrie Brothers, Jewelers, Toronto. The portfolio is in the form of an album, the cover of which is of royal blue morocco leather, handsomely decorated in gold. In the centre of the front cover is a raised shield in white on which are the words in gold letters, “Dominion of Canada, Diamond Jubilee Postage Stamps, 22nd June, 1897.” The corners of the portfolio are decorated with guards of Canadian gold made from British Columbia and Raney district ore. The right hand upper corner decoration is a design of maple leaves, and the lower corner of English oak leaves and acorns. The portfolio is fastened with a clasp of Canadian gold in the form of oak leaves, while the bracket on the front holding the clasps in position, is entwined with maple leaves with the monogram of H. R. H. the Duke of York—G. F. E. A.—George Frederick Ernest Albert. On the third page is the inscription, “This collection of postage stamps issued at Ottawa by the Dominion of Canada in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria is presented to H. R. H. the Duke of York, K. G., by the Government of Canada, 1897.” The last page of this unique stamp album will contain the certificate of the destruction of the dies and plates in the presence of Hon. Wm. Mulock, postmaster-general of Canada.... This is probably the dearest stamp album in the world, and contains only a single specimen of each denomination of the Jubilee issue.

And now we conclude our history of this Jubilee issue by another extract from the Weekly giving an account of the destruction of the dies and plates from which the stamps were made:—

On Friday afternoon, September 10th, I presented myself at the Post-Office Department and joined a party who were just leaving the building to go over to the American Bank Note Co.'s building, a couple of blocks away. Arriving, we were conducted to the top floor by the manager. The plates, dies, etc., were brought out by those in charge, and the seventeen original dies after inspection by those present were placed one by one under a press and an obliterating roller passed over them several times; proofs were then pulled which faintly showed the outlines of the ovals, etc., but the words showing the values could not even be made out. Next, the rolls for transferring the impression from the dies to the plates came in for their share of attention. There were nineteen of them, and a few burns from an emery wheel quickly put each one “out of sight.” The plates, 31 in number, were subjected to the same treatment as the dies, and the total time occupied in the destruction of the various parts occupied almost two hours.

Reference List.

1897. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa, on wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 36.  ½c  black, Scott's No. 50.
  • 37.  1c   orange, Scott's No. 51.
  • 38.  2c   green, Scott's No. 52.
  • 39.  3c   rose, Scott's No. 53.
  • 40.  5c   deep blue, Scott's No. 54.
  • 41.  6c   yellow brown, Scott's No. 55.
  • 42.  8c   dark violet, Scott's No. 56.
  • 43.  10c  brown violet, Scott's No. 57.
  • 44.  15c  steel blue, Scott's No. 58.
  • 45.  20c  vermilion, Scott's No. 59.
  • 46.  50c  ultramarine, Scott's No. 60.
  • 47.  $1   lake, Scott's No. 61.
  • 48.  $2   dark purple, Scott's No. 62.
  • 49.  $3   yellow bistre, Scott's No. 63.
  • 50.  $4   purple, Scott's No. 64.
  • 51.  $5   olive green, Scott's No. 65.

Chapter XIV.—The “Maple Leaf” Issue of 1897.


Soon after the printing contract was awarded to the American Bank Note Company it was rumoured that a new series of stamps would be issued, but for a time public expectations of the new stamps were overshadowed by the appearance of the Diamond Jubilee issue. A cutting from an Ottawa paper dated September 28th, 1897, shows, however, that preparations for a new set were well in hand, viz.:—

The design for a new postage stamp has been approved by the Postmaster-General. There is a portrait of Her [Pg 49]Majesty as she appeared at the coronation, except that a coronet is substituted for a crown. The portrait has been engraved from a photo procured during the Jubilee ceremonies, and upon which was the Queen's own autograph, so that it is authentic. The corners of the stamp will be decorated with maple leaves, which were pulled from maple trees on Parliament Hill and engraved directly from them. Everything indeed is correct and up to date, and the new issue will reflect credit on Mr. Mulock's good taste. The engravers will take care to make this permanent and ordinary issue a tribute to their skill. The present stock of stamps it will take some months to exhaust, and not till they are done will the new stamps be issued. It may be about November of this year.

About a month later a circular was addressed to postmasters announcing the issue of the new stamps as follows:

Circular to Postmaster.

New Issue of Postage Stamps, Etc.

The Postmaster-General has made arrangements for a new issue of postage stamps, letter cards, stamped envelopes, post cards, and post bands. These will be supplied to postmasters in the usual way. Postmasters are, however, instructed not to sell the stamps of any denomination of the new issue until the stamps of the corresponding denomination of the present issue are disposed of. The filling of requisitions by the Postage Stamp Branch will be regulated by the same principle—that is to say, no item of the proposed issue will be sent out until the corresponding item of the present issue has been exhausted.

To conform to the requirements of the International Postal Union the color of the new 1c stamp will be green and that of the 5c stamp a deep blue.

R. M. Coulter,
Deputy Postmaster-General.

Post-Office Department, Canada.
Ottawa, 25th October, 1897.

The Postmaster-General's Report for 1897, issued after the stamps had made their appearance, also refers to the new issue and to add completeness to our history we extract the following:—

Owing to the change of contract for the manufacture and supply of postage stamps, a new series of stamps became necessary at the beginning of the present fiscal year. New stamps ranging in value from the ½c to the 10c denomination (inclusive) were printed, and the first supplies thereof sent out to postmasters as the corresponding denominations of the old stamps became exhausted. A considerable quantity of the higher values of that series (15 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents) remaining over from the late contract, these three stamps continued to be issued, so that the department, previous to the introduction of the same denominations in the new series, might, in accordance with the universal practice, dispose of the old stamps in each case, before issuing any of the new. The design of the new stamps is of a uniform character, and consists of an engraved copy (reduced) of an authorized photograph of Her Majesty taken during the Diamond Jubilee year. This, placed within an oval bearing the usual inscriptions, is enclosed within a rectangular frame, a maple leaf on a lined ground occupying each of the triangular spaces between the two frames. To conform to the regulations of the Universal Postal Union, the color of the new 1 cent stamp is green, and that of the 5 cents a deep blue. This necessitated corresponding changes in the colors of the other stamps of the new series; for example, purple instead of green being selected for the 2 cent denomination, and orange instead of slate for the 8 cent.

The first denomination of the new series—the ½ cent—was placed on sale on November 9th, 1897. About the end of the same month the 6c made its appearance, and this was quickly followed by the 1c, 2c, 5c and 8c in December. The 3c and 10c were issued early in January, 1898, so that official instructions that the new stamps were not to be issued until the supplies of the old issue were exhausted were fully carried out, though all values were on sale within the space of about three months.


The design of the new stamps is at once simple and effective. In the central oval is a three-quarter face portrait of Her Majesty, with head to left, which was copied from a photograph[Pg 50] taken by W. & D. Downey, of London, at the time of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Around the oval is a band of solid color containing the words CANADA POSTAGE above and the value in words below, all being in Egyptian capitals. The spandrels are filled with a ground of horizontal lines on which maple leaves rest. While, as Mr. Howes observes, “much criticism was engendered by the fact that the portrait was too large for its frame, making the design appear cramped,” public verdict, as a whole, expressed unqualified approval of the new design.

The stamps, like those of the preceding issues, were printed from line-engraved plates and, with one exception, these plates contained one hundred impressions arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten each. The exception referred to occurred in the ½c, the first plate for which contained 200 stamps, arranged in ten rows of twenty stamps each. This is mentioned in the Weekly Philatelic Era as follows:—

By some misunderstanding the contractors, the American Bank Note Co., set the sheet up with 200 stamps, and the first five hundred sheets were so printed. The sheets were afterwards cut in two through the imprint, and we have these half sheets with a close imperforated margin on either the left or right edge. Afterwards sheets of 100 stamps were issued, all the stamps perforated on all four sides. Plate number collectors will find the earliest sheets difficult to obtain. Both sheets bear the plate number 1.

The imprint on the sheets followed the plan originated with the Jubilee series, “OTTAWA—No—1,” etc., being placed in the centre of the top margin. Each value began with No. 1 and apparently for the 5c, 6c, 8c, and 10c the one plate sufficed. For the ½c, as we have already shown, there were two plates, both numbered “1”; while for the 1c there were two plates, for the 2c, three plates, and for the 3c, six plates.

The stamps were printed on stout white wove paper, similar to that used for the Jubilee stamps and at some time or other a slightly thinner and more brittle paper seems to have been used. The paper for the 5c is of a distinctly bluish color—this being the first occasion on which colored paper was used for any of the postage stamps of the Dominion.

The perforation was the regulation gauge of 12, which has been in continuous use since 1858, and, as the Philatelic Record stated when first chronicling the issue, “many of the stamp are badly centered, a characteristic defect of the American Bank Note Company's work.” The 5c is known entirely imperforate.

Reference List.

1897. Engraved and Printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa, on wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 52.  ½c  black, Scott's No. 66.
  • 53.  1c   green, Scott's No. 67.
  • 54.  2c   purple, Scott's No. 68.
  • 55.  3c   carmine, Scott's No. 69.
  • 56.  5c   dark blue on bluish, Scott's No. 70.
  • 57.  6c   brown, Scott's No. 71.
  • 58.  8c   orange, Scott's No. 72.
  • 59.  10c  brown-violet, Scott's No. 73.

Chapter XV.—The “Numeral” Issue of 1898.


The “maple-leaf” issue had not been long in use before complaints were made that owing to the lack of plain numerals it was a difficult matter to distinguish the various denominations. In its issue for April 2nd, 1898, the Metropolitan Philatelist stated another ground for complaint and also referred to a forthcoming change, viz.:—

Much dissatisfaction is expressed by the French speaking inhabitants of the rural parts at the lack of figures of value on the stamps, the denomination in all cases being printed in English which they are unable to understand. It has, therefore, been decided to alter the new stamps by removing the maple leaves from the lower corners and inserting large numerals of value in their place. The space occupied by the head will also be somewhat enlarged and the value will be placed on a straight band below.

A few months later the redrawn stamps made their appearance, for the Monthly Journal for July 30th, 1898, records the issue of the 1c and 3c denominations as follows:—

The design is certainly improved, the oval being enlarged so that its outer line covers the outer line of the rectangle at each side and at top and bottom. The band being the same width as before, this allows a larger space for the head, which no longer appears so closely “cribbed, cabined and confined.” The inscriptions remain unchanged, but in each of the lower corners is a plain rectangular block, containing a colored numeral.

[Pg 51]

Mr. Howes states that these two values were issued on June 21st, 1898, and, following its usual custom, the Canadian Post-office did not place the other denominations on sale until the corresponding values of the old series were all used up. Thus, the ½c, 2c and 6c did not appear until early in September, the 8c was placed on sale in the first few days of October, the 10c was issued in the early part of November, while the 5c, which was the laggard of the series, was not on sale until July 3rd, 1899.


Although the design was entirely redrawn and the wider oval gave the portrait a less cramped effect, it did not satisfy all the critics—though, so far as this fact is concerned, it is doubtful if any stamp issued anywhere at any time has met with universal approbation!

The stamps were produced by the usual method of steel engraved plates and they were printed in sheets of 100, in ten rows of ten, as had now become the regular custom. The imprint is like that on the sheets of the “maple leaf” issue and, again as with that series, the numbering of the plates started with “1” for each denomination. So little interest seems to have been taken in these marginal varieties that no authoritative record of the several plates employed has been kept. Mr. Howes gives but one plate for the ½c, 6c, 8c and 10c values, three for the 5c, four each for the 2c and 3c, and six for the 1c but it seems highly probable there were many more especially for such values as the 1c and 2c which were used in very large quantities.

In 1901 there were rumours that some of the stamps of this type had been re-engraved, the foundation for the canard being the following paragraph from the Weekly:—

Mr. H. A. Chapman has sent me a specimen of a re-engraved 1c Canada numeral, in which the differences from the first issue demand recognition. The re-engraved type is shorter and wider than the one preceding it. I note also that the 2c is said to exist in the same condition.

In reprinting this statement the Philatelic Record observed “Can this be true; or is it only another case of a slight difference caused by the shrinkage after wetting the sheets for printing purposes?”

The Monthly Journal for September. 1901, soon set the matter at rest as shown by the following extract:—

Miss A. L. Swift very kindly informs us that a friend of hers made enquiries at headquarters in Ottawa, and was assured that no re-engraving whatever has taken place, and that any differences that exist must be due to shrinkage or expansion of the paper during the process of printing. Our correspondent, who is a well-known American writer upon philatelic subjects and a careful philatelist, tells us that the ½c, 1c and 2c of the numeral type and several values of the Maple Leaf type, show these variations, and adds that in the case of the ½c of both issues one size is found in grey-black only, and the other in deep black only. It is possible that the amount or thickness of the ink employed may have some effect upon the varying shrinkage of the paper.

The same journal refers to the matter again in the following month, viz.:—

In reference to the question of the variations in the size of the stamps of the last two issues of this Colony, a correspondent tells us that he has been studying these stamps, and has come to the conclusion, no doubt correctly, that the variations are due to differences in the quality and thickness of the paper. As in the old case of the Ceylon stamps the longer copies are on thicker paper than the short ones. All stamps that are printed on damp paper, and especially those from plates engraved in taille-douce, are liable to vary in this way.

The above seems to be the most reasonable explanation of the differences for the measurements of the so-called long and short stamps are practically constant, which one would naturally expect to find if two sorts of paper, differing slightly in thickness and quality, were used.

Reference List.

1898-9. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa, on white wove paper. Perf. 12.

  • 60.  ½c black, Scott's No. 74.
  • 61.  1c  green, Scott's No. 75.
  • 62.  2c  purple, Scott's No. 76.
  • 63.  3c  carmine, Scott's No. 77.
  • 64.  5c  dark blue on bluish, Scott's No. 78.
  • 65.  6c  brown, Scott's No. 79.
  • 66.  8c  orange, Scott's No. 80.
  • 67.  10c brown-violet, Scott's No. 81.

[Pg 52]

Chapter XVI.—The “Map” Stamp of 1898.


Shortly after Great Britain adopted penny postage for internal use in 1840 postal reformers began to dream of Ocean Penny Postage, and although universal penny postage is not yet an accomplished fact it is within reasonable distance of being so. A great step in this direction was made in 1898 when at an Imperial Convention on Postal Rates held in London the mother country and various colonies agreed to adopt the rate of one penny per half ounce on letters sent to or from Britain or one another. The following extract from the London Standard for July 13th shows in an interesting manner how far the movement had then progressed:—

We are authorised by the Postmaster-General to state that, as the result of the Imperial Conference on Postal Rates, it has been agreed, on the proposal of the Representative of the Dominion of Canada, that letter postage of one penny per half-ounce should be established between the United Kingdom, Canada, Newfoundland, the Cape Colony, Natal, and such of the Crown Colonies as may, after communication with, and approval of, Her Majesty's Government, be willing to adopt it. The date on which the reduction will come into effect will be announced later on. The question of a uniform reduced rate for the whole Empire was carefully considered; but it was not found possible to fix upon a rate acceptable to all the Governments concerned. A resolution was therefore adopted, leaving it to those parts of the Empire which were prepared for penny postage to make the necessary arrangements among themselves.

Since then other portions of the British Empire have fallen into line and the ties binding the English speaking peoples have been further strengthened by the adoption of penny postage between the United States and Great Britain as well as with many of her Colonies.

Elihu Burritt, the “learned blacksmith” of New Britain, Connecticut, was one of the earliest advocates of Ocean Penny Postage and late in 1848 he issued a pamphlet setting forth his views on the subject. Exactly fifty years later Imperial Penny Postage was inaugurated though it was on a much broader and more liberal basis than Burritt had dared to hope in his fondest imaginings.

Canada, as will be noted from the preceding extract, was the leader in the movement for Imperial Penny Postage and marked the culmination of its ambitious plans by issuing a special two cents stamp. Mr. Mulock, the then Postmaster-General of the Dominion, was responsible for the idea of issuing a special stamp as well as the sponsor for its design. The new stamp was first mentioned by the Ottawa correspondent of the Outlook as follows:—

Mr. Mulock, the Postmaster-General, has chosen the new inaugurating stamp. It is in the form of a miniature map of the world distinguishing British possessions and illustrating the relative vastness of the Empire, in which Canada, of course, plays a prominent part.

In commenting on this paragraph the Philatelic Record, for December, 1898, stated “A poster stamp even of the large plaster type, which ‘distinguishes British possessions and illustrates the vastness of the Empire’, will indeed be a multum in parvo, and probably the less said the better in anticipation of the realisation of such an apparently absurd idea for a design on such a small engraving as a postage stamp needs to be.”

The Ottawa Evening Journal gave further particulars about the forthcoming stamp, viz.:—

The new Imperial Penny Postage Stamp, to be used between Great Britain and a number of her colonies after Christmas Day next, has been designed by the Postmaster-General and ready to be issued. It is not to be a special issue, but will take its place among the regular issues. When Mr. Mulock was in Britain he was surprised to notice that the great mass of the people did not appreciate the value or the greatness of the British possessions abroad. This was especially true of Canada. The idea, therefore, suggested itself to him when he was considering a new stamp, to prepare something that would show the dimensions of Greater Britain compared with all other countries. Mr. Mulock asked for some designs from a few artists when he came back to Canada, but they did not meet with his views, and he roughly sketched out something himself and passed it over to an artist to have it touched up.

The feature of the new stamp is a neatly executed map in miniature of [Pg 53]the world, showing the British possessions as compared with all other countries. The empire is distinguished from the possessions of the other powers by being in red. Surmounting this map is a representation of the crown, underneath which is a bunch of oak and maple leaves, symbolizing the unity of the Mother Country and Canada. At the upper edge of the stamp are the words “Canada Postage” in a neat letter. Underneath the map is placed “Xmas, 1898”, so that the date of the inauguration of Imperial Penny Postage shall be a matter of record. On the lower corners are the figures “2,” indicating the denomination of the stamp, and at the lower edge is this suggestive passage taken from the works of one of our patriotic poets: “We hold a vaster Empire than has been.” Mr. Mulock will be able to claim the credit of giving the public the cheapest map of the world ever issued. The size of the stamp is about the same as the Jubilee issue.

The printing of the new stamps began on December 1st, both the Governor-General and Postmaster-General being present while the first sheets were run off the presses. Although it was originally intended to issue the stamp on Christmas Day it was actually placed on sale quite early in the month as explained in the following extract from the Weekly:

Ottawa, Dec. 5th.—It having been stated in some newspapers that the new two-cent Imperial stamp would not become available until Christmas Day, inquiry made at the Post Office Department today to ascertain the truth of this statement elicits the fact that, although it was the original intention of the department that the new stamp should not come into use until the 25th inst., the demand from the public for it has become so pressing that the department has decided to issue it at once, and permit its immediate use to the extent of its face value for all postage purposes. In other words, as soon as it reaches the public it may, if preferred by the purchaser, be used instead of the ordinary two-cent stamp. The two-cent inter-Imperial rate does not, of course, come into effect until Christmas Day.

Under date of December 7th the Canadian correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era refers to the actual issue of the stamp, viz.:—

The new Imperial stamps referred to in past numbers of the Era were issued this morning, and although the new Imperial rate does not come into effect until Xmas-day, and they bear that inscription, they are receivable for ordinary postage now.

The general design has already been described, but it may be well to say that the stamps are printed in three colors. The frame is in black with white letters, the seas are in a pale blue, or rather a lavender, and the British possessions are in a bright red. The map of the world is on Mercator's projection, which magnifies high latitudes; consequently the Dominion of Canada, which occupies the middle of the upper part of the stamp, looks bigger than all the other British possessions put together. The border of the stamp is of cable pattern and measures 32 mm. in width by 22½ in height. The stamp is printed on medium, machine-wove, white paper, similar to that used for the Jubilee and subsequent Canadian issues, and is perforated 12.


The design is well-known to all our readers and as it has already been extensively dissected in the above quotations, further comment is hardly necessary. The new stamps naturally caused lots of criticism on account of their somewhat bombastic legend “We hold a vaster Empire than has been”. This was taken from the jubilee ode written by Sir Lewis Morris on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, the last stanza of which reads as follows:—

We love not war, but only peace, Yet never shall our England's power decrease! Whoever guides our helm of state, Let all men know it, England shall be great! We hold a vaster empire than has been! Nigh half the race of man is subject to our Queen! Nigh half the wide, wide earth is ours in fee! And where her rule comes all are free. And therefore 'tis, O Queen, than we, Knit fast in bonds of temperate liberty, Rejoice today, and make our solemn jubilee!

The stamps were printed in the usual sheet arrangement of one hundred, arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten. The black portion was printed from line-engraved plates but the colored portions were, apparently, printed by lithography. Consequently, three operations[Pg 54] were necessary before the stamps were completed and, as may readily be understood, a three color process in such a small compass made exact register a matter of difficulty. Thus on many stamps portions of the Empire are found much out of place, sometimes wandering into the sea and sometimes encroaching in an altogether too familiar manner on their neighbours. The new stamps came in for much criticism, of which the following extract from the Monthly Journal for January, 1899, is a fair sample:—

It is not quite an occasion for captious criticism, and when we get a beautiful colored map of the world for a penny perhaps we ought not to criticise; but we cannot think that the design is a very appropriate one for a postage stamp. The blobs of red are not always quite correctly placed; we have even heard of cases in which a little irregularity of “register” has resulted in the annexation of the greater part of the United States, while England invaded France, and the Cape of Good Hope went out to sea!

The Canadian newspapers are not quite happy about it, but that is natural, as they are to pay extra postage in future to make up any deficiency in the budget caused by the reduction in the Imperial rate; we hear that even a Ministerial organ at Ontario complains that the new stamp is too large to lick and too small for wall paper! Some people are never satisfied.

The color chosen for the sea portion of the map was lavender at first, but as this was not considered altogether appropriate it was soon afterwards changed to sea-green. In addition to these two tints it also comes in a very pronounced blue.

The line-engraved plates from which the black portion of the design was printed have four marginal imprints consisting of AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. OTTAWA in Roman capitals ½ mm. high, the whole inscription being 29 mm. long. These are placed above the third and eighth stamps of the top row and below the corresponding stamps of the bottom row. In addition a plate number, in hair-line figures about 4 mm. high, is shown above the division between the two central stamps of the top row, these figures being placed higher on the margin than the imprints. Mr. Howes tells us that plates 1, 2, 3, and 5 are known but that plate 4 does not seem to have been recorded though, presumably, it exists. All four plates are known with the lavender sea and this is known to indicate the first printings, it would appear that all the plates were at press together.

The late Mr. H. L. Ewen wrote an exhaustive article on the numerous varieties of this stamp but as most of these were simply due to errors of register their philatelic importance is slight. One variety, however, which is constant is worthy of note. In this two small dots representing two islands in mid-pacific are shown side by side instead of one above the other as on the normal stamps. Mr. Ewen also referred to a slight retouching of one of the plates, viz.:—

Readers will have noted that the stamps are each surrounded by what appears to be a rope. On the sheet of plate 3 before us, the outer edge of this rope on the stamps at the end of each row (right hand side of each sheet) has worn away and has been replaced by a straight line engraved on the plate, except on stamp No. 80, which still shows the very defective nature of the rope.

Mr. Howes states that the stamp, with all three colors for the sea, is known imperforate.

How many were issued is not known for certain as these Imperial stamps were reckoned together with the ordinary 2c in the postal accounts but according to the London Philatelist the total issue was about sixteen millions. In concluding this chapter we have only to add that the cost of manufacturing the stamps, on account of the three processes necessary, was the relatively high one of 45 cents per thousand.

Reference List.

Xmas, 1898. Engraved and Printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Unwatermarked.  Perf. 12.

  • 68.  2c  black, lavender and red, Scott's No. 82
  • 69.  2c  black, green and red.
  • 70.  2c  black, blue and red, Scott's No. 83.

Chapter XVII.—The “2 Cents” Provisionals.


One result of the Imperial Conference on Postal Rates held in London, in addition to the inauguration of Imperial Penny Postage, was to revive the agitation for the reduction of the domestic rate on postage in Canada from 3c to 2c[Pg 55] on letters weighing one ounce or less. Indeed just prior to this Convention a bill in amendment of the Post Office Act had been assented to by Parliament under which it was agreed the reduced rate of postage should prevail, but no immediate steps were taken to enforce the reduction, it being left to the Governor General to name a date when the change should take effect. The establishment of Imperial Penny Postage, however, brought matters to a head, for it was a ridiculous state of affairs under which a charge of 3c had to be levied in carrying a letter from one town to another in Canada while 2c would carry a similar letter (if under half an ounce in weight) to any point in the British Isles. Consequently the Governor General named New Year's Day as the date when the reduced rate of domestic postage should come into force as shown by the following “Order in Council”:—

Post Office Department.

By Proclamation dated the 29th day of December, 1898, in virtue of the Act further to amend the Post Office Act (61 Victoria, Chapter 20) and of an Order in Council in accordance therewith, it was declared that the postage rate payable on all letters originating in and transmitted by post for any distance in Canada for delivery in Canada, should be one uniform rate of two cents per ounce weight, from the 1st January, 1899.

The immediate effect of this change of rates was a vast increase in the demand for 2c stamps and a corresponding decrease in the use of the 3c. Also, to fall in line with Postal Union requirements a change of color was necessary, but this did not take place at once, the postal authorities preferring to follow their usual precedent of using up the old stamps first.

The 3c, which had been printed in large quantities, moved so slowly that the Post-Office Department decided that the only way the stock could be used up within a reasonable time would be to reduce the stamps to the value of 2c by means of a surcharge. This intention, as well as a change in the color of the regular 2c stamps, was set forth in a circular issued on July 1st, 1899, from which we extract the following:—

Owing to the reduction in the Domestic letter rate of postage, the issue of the 3c letter-card, the 3c stamped envelope, and the 3c postage stamp from the Department has ceased. Any unused 3c letter-cards, 3c stamped envelopes or 3c stamps, still extant, will, however, continue available for postal purposes, or may be exchanged at any Post Office, at their full face value, for postage stamps of other denominations.

The color of the Domestic-rate postage stamp, as prescribed by the Universal Postal Union, is red, and it is intended to discontinue the issue of the ordinary two-cents purple colored stamps as soon as the present supply on hand is exhausted. This will be about the 20th July, 1899. Thereafter the Department will issue two cents stamps in red, first, however, surcharging down to two cents the unissued remnant of the three cents stamps in red, now in the possession of the Department, and as soon as the supply of such surcharged threes is exhausted, the issue of two cents stamps in red will begin. The surcharged stamps will be issued to Postmasters as 2c postage stamps and be recognised as postage stamps of that denomination.

The official estimate of the time the then existing stock of 2c purple stamps would last was not far wrong for on July 20th the first of the surcharged labels were issued. The surcharge follows a somewhat peculiar arrangement the numeral “2” and “S” of CENTS being larger than the rest of the inscription, which is flat at the bottom and concave at the top. This distinctive type is said to have been adopted to make counterfeiting difficult, though it is hardly likely anyone would have reduced a 3c stamp to the value of 2c with the idea of defrauding the Government! Evidently the inscription was specially engraved and from it a plate was constructed so that a sheet of one hundred stamps could be overprinted at one operation. Some little variation will be found in the thickness of the type of the surcharge though whether this is due to the use of more than one plate or simply to overinking or wear is a doubtful matter. The normal position of the surcharge is horizontally across the bottom of the stamps but owing to poor register it is sometimes found much out of position, and specimens with the overprint across the centre of the labels have been recorded.

The surcharge was, at first, applied only to the 3c stamps of the numeral type but it was soon decided to also use up the unissued remainders of the 3c “maple-leaf” design by surcharging them in the same manner. These stamps were first issued on August 8th. Both varieties are known with inverted[Pg 56] surcharge. How many of each of these three cent stamps were surcharged is not known for certain as the official figures dealing with the issue of stamps makes no distinction between the two varieties. It is stated that altogether 4,120,000 were surcharged and as the varieties are equally plentiful it is only reasonable to suppose that approximately equal numbers of both types were used up.

Reference List.

Stamps of 1897 and 1898 surcharged "2 CENTS" in black.

  • 71.  2c on 3c  carmine "maple leaf", Scott's No. 84
  • 72.  2c on 3c  carmine "numeral", Scott's No. 85.

Chapter XVIII.—The Bi-sected Provisionals.


The somewhat sudden reduction of the domestic postal rate from 3c to 2c on single letters led to the production of a few provisional stamps of peculiar character at Port Hood, N. S., the postmaster of that town dividing some of his 3c stamps into two unequal portions and using the smaller parts as 1c and the larger ones as 2c. In the Monthly Journal for January, 1899, they are referred to as follows:—

In some offices 1c and 2c stamps ran short, and their places were supplied by one-third and two-thirds portions of 3c stamps divided vertically. In some places our correspondent says, these divided stamps were employed without further alteration, but in others we regret to hear that they were surcharged with a figure “2” in purple, upon the figure “3” of the larger portion or the word “one” in green, upon the smaller part; or, to further complicate matters, when thirds of two adjoining stamps were used for 2c each part was impressed with a figure “2.” Our informant's letter is franked in part by 2/3 of a 3c stamp surcharged “2” so we fear that this horrible tale is founded on fact.

In the same journal for March further reference is made to these provisionals, viz.:—

The surcharged fractions appear to have been used only at Port Hood, N. S., where the Postmaster apparently did not consider it safe to use divided stamps without some distinguishing mark. We have seen other copies since, and find that a figure “1” was struck upon the smaller portion; not the word “one” as previously stated.

Again in the April number of the same paper these split stamps are referred to:—

In reference to the cut and surcharged 3c stamps, a correspondent sends us the following extract from a letter from the postmaster of Port Hood:—“When the change in Canadian postage was made—of which we got notice by wire—I had only a very few two cent stamps in stock, so that before I got my supply from Ottawa I ran completely out of them, and, to keep my account straight, I was compelled to cut threes. This was for one day only, and not over 300 stamps were cut. I would say about 200 '2' and 100 '1' were used. About 100 '2' and probably nearly as many '1' were marked with the figures '2' and '1' as you describe, and were placed on letters for delivery in towns throughout the Dominion. Those were the only provisional stamps used by this office.”

Once more, in June, the Monthly Journal refers to the philatelically notorious Port Hood office:—

A correspondent tells us that the surcharged provisionals were not the first instances of the use of the scissors at Port Hood, an envelope emanating from that office and bearing the half of the 2c stamp, divided diagonally, having been found with the date July 27th, 1898. We do not know what the regulations are in Canada on the subject of receiving postage in cash, but we should suppose that if a postmaster runs out of 1c stamps, receives postage on certain letters, in cash, and then, to save an entry in his accounts, cuts 2c stamps in half and affixes the halves to the letters, it would not be considered a very heinous offence, and it would account for curiosities of this kind occasionally turning up.

But Port Hood does not seem to have been the only office in which the scissors were used, for the following letter from the Montreal Philatelist shows that stamps were bi-sected at at least one other office. In this instance the postmaster divided 5c stamps as well as the 3c though, apparently, he did not apply any surcharge to the fractions:—

Cross Road, Country Harbor,
April 17th, 1900.

Dear Sir,—Your enquiry re stamps to hand. At the time you mention the [Pg 57]2c postage was given us so suddenly that I was about out and all my neighbour P. M. was also out and as I could only charge the public 2c I could not afford to put on a 3c stamp so cut 3c and 5c to about even the thing up and sent them along. Three or four days' letters were mailed in this way, but I do not know where they went to.

Yours very truly,

E. S. Sweet, Postmaster.

The same journal in referring to the Port Hood provisionals makes some interesting comments which are worth reproduction, viz.:—

This postmaster must be a relic of the anti-confederation regime, when such mutilations were allowed, as even an entire absence of the required values would not warrant, under present regulations, this antiquated process. In such cases the postmaster should forward the money to the office on which his mail is forwarded with a request to affix the necessary stamps; he can handstamp or write the amount paid on each letter if desired, but that is not necessary. As these fractional provisionals of the Port Hood P. O. were never issued to the public, but were affixed by the postmaster and the amount paid stamped on them, they are no more deserving of collection as postage stamps than the hand stamp or pen mark on an envelope would be if no stamp or portion of a stamp had been affixed. If it is asked “Why cut up and affix the stamps then?” the answer is the postmaster knew no better and wanted to make his cash account correspond with the total of stamps sold and on hand. He tried to simplify his book-keeping—nothing more—but went about it in an antiquated and unlawful way.

While genuine copies of these splits on original covers are interesting curiosities their philatelic value is not of the greatest importance, for they were, seemingly, never sold to the public but simply affixed by the postmaster after he had received payment in cash, to simplify his accounts. They were certainly not authorised and if they had been detected at the larger offices they would not have passed as valid for postage.

In concluding our notes with regard to these cut stamps we reproduce a letter from the Post Office Department in reply to a collector who had made enquiry about the validity of the splits:

P. O. Dept., Ottawa,
March 30th, 1904.

In reply to your letter of the 24th March, re stamps '1' in blue, on 1/3 of 3, and '2' in violet on 2/3 of 3 cents, I beg to say that the Superintendent of the Stamp Branch assures me that no such stamps were ever issued or recognised by this Department, and if affixed to letters would be treated as ordinary mutilated stamps of no value. It appears that the Postmaster of Port Hood, N. S., at the time of the change of rate found himself short of 2 cents stamps, and, acting on the advice of some stamp fiend apparently, cut up a sheet or so of stamps to make twos and ones. He nearly lost his job over it, but the Department never got hold of any of the mutilated stamps. Anybody could make similar stamps by cutting up and marking old threes. Hoping this may be satisfactory to you,

Yours, etc.,

W. H. Harrington.

Reference List.

The 3c stamp of 1898 divided vertically and each portion surcharged with a new value.

  • 73.  1(c)  in blue on one-third of 3c carmine, Scott's No. 85A.
  • 74.  2(c)  in violet on two-thirds of 3c carmine. Scott's No. 85B.

Chapter XIX.—The 2c Carmine.


According to the Post Office circular quoted in our last chapter the issue of the 2c stamp in carmine—or red, as the color was officially termed—was to begin when the supply of surcharged 3c stamps was exhausted. The new 2c stamp was eventually placed on sale on August 20th, 1899, and it is, of course, exactly like the same value previously issued in purple in all respects except that of color. The same plates were used and later many new ones were put to press. No accurate record of the different plates used for this denomination has been kept but, in addition to plates 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 listed by Mr. Howes, there were probably many others.

In 1900 Canada followed the lead of many other countries by issuing the 2c[Pg 58] value in convenient booklet form. The Postmaster-General's Report for 1900 refers to these booklets as follows:—

In the month of June, 1900, the department commenced the issue to Postmasters, of a small book of 2 cent postage stamps, containing 12 stamps, disposed on two sheets of 6 stamps each, and interleaved with wax paper to prevent adhesion of the sheets. The size of the book is such as to make it convenient to be carried in the pocket or pocket-book. Printed on the cover is postal information calculated to be of interest to the public. The price at which the book is issued is 25 cents, one cent over the face value of the stamps being charged to cover the cost of binding, etc.

These stamp books were first placed on sale on June 11th and they rapidly came into public favor as is evidenced by the increasing sales every year since. Mr. Howes tells us that “the books are about two by three inches in size, with stiff cardboard covers which are bound together by red cloth. The coat-of-arms of Canada with the words CANADA POSTAGE beneath are engraved in red on the front cover, while inside are four pages of postal information and the two sheets of six stamps each—three horizontal pairs—backed by leaves of paraffined tissue paper.”

Reference List.

Aug. 20th, 1899. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No Wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 75.  2c  carmine, Scott's No. 86.

Chapter XX.—The 20c Value of 1900.


On the 29th of December, 1900, a 20c value was added to the numeral series, its advent being quite unannounced. The large 20c stamps of 1893 had been finally used up and the new label not only conformed to the others of the series in design but also took on a new color—olive-green in place of scarlet.

It was printed from the usual style of line-engraved plate with the usual sheet arrangement of 100 stamps arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten each, with the imprint and plate number in the centre of the top margin. Only one plate—numbered “1”—seems to have been used and Mr. Howes tells us that “an examination of the stamp accounts during its term of life make it appear probable that approximately 500,000 were issued.”

Reference List.

Dec. 29th, 1900. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No Wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 76.  20c  olive-green, Scott's No. 87.

Chapter XXI.—The Queen Victoria Seven Cents.


Although the reduction in the domestic rate of postage from 3c to 2c in 1899 made the 8c stamp—which was primarily intended for the combined payment of postage and the registration fee—of little use it was not until December, 1902, that this value was replaced by a seven cents denomination. The new stamp was first announced as being in preparation in a newspaper despatch dated Ottawa, Dec. 18th, 1902, viz.:—

The Post Office Department announces that on the 24th instant it will be in a position to supply a seven cent postage stamp to accounting post-offices throughout Canada. This stamp, which is of yellow color, will be especially convenient for postage and registration fee on single rate letters, while it may also be used for other postage purposes to the extent of its face value. Non-accounting offices can obtain their supply through the city post offices. This new stamp will bear the Queen's head, the department not having yet decided on the design of the King's head issue.

This posthumous Queen's head stamp was of similar design to the other values of the numeral series and had the same sheet arrangement and marginal inscriptions. There was but one plate—numbered “1”—from which Mr. Howes estimates about one million stamps were printed.

This stamp was issued on December 23rd, 1902, according to a statement in the official Report.

Reference List.

Dec. 23rd, 1902. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No Wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 77.  7c  olive-yellow, Scott's No. 88.

[Pg 59]

Chapter XXII.—The King Edward Issue.


King Edward VII ascended the throne on January 22nd, 1901, but it was not until nearly two and a half years later that the Dominion of Canada issued new stamps bearing the portrait of the new sovereign. In the meantime there was much comment and speculation as to when the new stamps would appear and as to what form they would take, though the Post Office Department for reasons best known to itself, exercised a discreet silence on the matter. Early in 1903 it was reported in the newspapers that designs had been submitted and that the Postmaster-General had chosen one “bearing an excellent likeness of His Majesty.” But the earliest detailed information concerning the expected stamps appeared in the Metropolitan Philatelist for April 18th, 1903, viz:—

The King's head series of Canadian stamps will probably shortly make its appearance. The die has been received by the Post Office Department and approved of. The stamp will be very similar to the present stamp except that the maple leaf in each of the upper corners will be replaced by a crown. The figures of value will appear in the lower corners as at present and the value will be spelled out as at present in the oval frame which surrounds the portrait. This frame will be as in the present stamp. The portrait of the King shows him three-quarters to the right, head and shoulders, as the Queen is in the present stamp, but there is no crown on his head. The portrait is an exceptionally nice one and it is understood that Royalty has had something to do with its selection. The die was made in England, although the American Bank Note Co. are contractors for the government work.

These details all proved correct and shortly afterwards postmasters were given definite information with regard to the forthcoming stamps by means of an official circular, dated June 10th, and worded as follows:—

Postmasters are hereby informed that a new issue of postage stamps, bearing the portrait of His Majesty, King Edward VII., and comprising five denominations (1c, 2c, 5c, 7c and 10c), is about to be supplied to Postmasters for sale in the usual way, but none of these stamps are to be sold until the first of July, 1903. The colors of the forthcoming series will be the same respectively as those now used for the denominations specified, except that the shade of the 7c will be slightly deeper.

Postmasters will please bear in mind that, notwithstanding the new issue, they are not to return to the Department any of the old stamps on hand, but will sell them in the ordinary way. At first, the public may prefer getting new stamps, and if so, there is no objection to this wish being acceded to, but it is also desirable to work off in due course all remnants of old stamps. A change in the design of the stamp of the present series of postcards, post-bands and stamped envelopes, to correspond with that above referred to, will be made as soon as the present stock of these items shall have been exhausted.


The new King Edward 1c, 2c, 5c, 7c and 10c stamps were accordingly issued to the public on Dominion Day (July 1st), 1903.

It will be noted in one of the extracts quoted above that the die for the new stamps was engraved in London, and shortly after the appearance of the stamps the London Philatelist published the following article which is of such interest as to merit its reproduction in full:—

Although for a long time past we have been aware of the circumstances attending the preparation of the new postage stamps for Canada, and in a position to illustrate the approved design, we have refrained from publishing the facts in compliance with the desire of the authorities that no details should be made public until the stamps have been completed and were ready to be put into circulation. We believe that the delay which has taken place in bringing out the new issue has been due to questions arising out of the existing contract under which the postage stamps of the Dominion are produced, and that even after the approval of the design and the receipt of the die some difficulties were experienced in connection with the preparation of the plates by the contractors.

[Pg 60] These have happily been surmounted, and now that the issue is an accomplished fact it is with much gratification that we illustrate the design of the new stamp, our illustration, prepared some time back, being taken from a proof from the steel die engraved by Messrs. Perkins, Bacon & Co., of London, and used in the manufacture of the plates of the several values issued by the Canadian postal authorities on the 1st instant By comparing our illustration with the stamp as issued it will be seen that the contractors or the postal authorities have made some alterations in the design, which, in our judgment, are by no means improvements. The leaves in the lower corners have been redrawn on a smaller scale, and hardly impinge upon the frame; their drawing is vastly inferior, and the graceful effect of the broken circle is lost. The numerals of value are in color on a white ground reversing the original design, the labels being larger and the figures taller and thinner, this also detracting materially from the charming homogeneity of the stamp as first proposed. The greatest alteration, and the worst, is the substitution of heavy diagonal lines for horizontal ones in the background. The latter were finely drawn and delicately shaded, leaving the King's Head in clear outline, and framed by the dark oval band containing the inscriptions. The background and frame no longer present this artistic effect, and the whole design materially suffers thereby.

The circumstances connected with the inception of the issue are as gratifying as they are novel, and will be hailed with acclamation by the Philatelists of the British Empire.

The Postmaster of Canada, Sir William Mulock, being one of the many distinguished visitors to this country during the Coronation festivities, took the opportunity afforded by his visit of approaching the Prince of Wales, and of meeting His Royal Highness's suggestions and advice in the preparation of a new die for the Canadian stamps. The Prince, with his characteristic energy and courtesy, cheerfully undertook the task, and it will be seen from our illustration with absolute and conspicuous success. H. R. H. wisely decided, in the first instance, that it is advisable to have some continuity of design in succeeding issues, and therefore adopted the frame and groundwork of the then current stamps as a basis. In selecting a portrait of His Majesty the Prince decided to rely upon a photograph giving a true likeness of the King as we know him, in lieu of an idealised representation by an artist. The photograph eventually chosen, with the full approval of His Majesty, was one taken shortly before the Coronation.

The likeness is undoubtedly what is termed a speaking one, and with the addition of the Coronation robes represents as faithful and as pleasing a picture of the King, at the time of his accession to the throne, as it is possible to find. The introduction of the Tudor crowns in the upper angles, which was another of the Prince's innovations, obviates the difficulty that has so often made “the head that wears a crown” lie “uneasy” on a postage stamp. These emblems of sovereignty, taken in conjunction with the Canadian maple leaves in the lower angles, completes a design that for harmony, boldness and simplicity has assuredly not been excelled by any hitherto issued stamps of the British Empire. It is palpable, on analysing the stamp, (1) that the attractiveness of the design has in no way been allowed to militate against its utility, for the country of origin and denomination are clearly expressed; (2) that the boldness of the design has not been detracted from (as is so often the case) by superfluous ornamentation, and that the design has been artistically balanced by the introduction of the right-sized portrait and the proper treatment of light and shade.

These stamps were, of course, printed from line-engraved plates like those of the preceding issues, and the same sheet arrangement of 100 stamps in ten rows of ten each was followed. The marginal imprint shown on the top margin of each sheet is like that shown on the Queen's head sheets and the plates for each value were numbered from 1 upwards. Mr. Howes records the following plates as having been used up to December, 1910:—

1 cent—Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 24, 25, 34, 47, 48, 51, 52, 55, 58.

2 cents—Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 47, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 63, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 78.

5 cents—Nos. 1, 2.

7 cents—No. 1.

10 cents—Nos. 1, 2.

[Pg 61]

It is very possible other plates were used for most denominations before the King George stamps were issued in 1912. The colors were very similar to those employed for the corresponding values of the Queen's head series except as regards the 7c, which was printed in a darker and more pleasing shade.

Nearly fifteen months elapsed before any other King Edward stamps were issued when, on September 27th, 1904, the 20c denomination made its appearance. This is of similar design to the others, was printed from the usual sized plate of 100, and bore imprint and plate number in the top margin as before. Only one plate has been recorded and as the use of this denomination did not average over 400,000 a year, it is quite probable that only this one plate was made. This value was issued in the olive-green shade adopted for its predecessor.

More than four years elapsed before the next and last value of the King Edward series appeared. This was the 50c denomination, which was placed on sale on November 19th, 1908, after the supply of the old blue stamps first issued in 1893 was finally used up. In design, sheet arrangement, etc., it conforms with the others of the series. One plate—numbered 1—was used.

The 2c value of this series is known entirely imperforate and the history of the variety, which is now quite common, is of considerable interest. The imperforate stamps were first mentioned in the Weekly for October 10th, 1908, in the following editorial:—

We are enabled to report the existence of the two-cent Canada, current issue, imperforate, a reader having shown us a sheet of one hundred of these varieties bearing the plate number 18. This is a discovery of momentous interest which must attract much attention not alone from specialists but from collectors, as we may say for the sake of distinction, as well. The fact that the pane bears so early a plate number removes it from any inclusion in the theory that the Canadian authorities propose to issue stamps in imperforate sheets in the manner that has been employed by the United States. Without doubt, the sheet under notice was regularly prepared for issue in the accepted way, and it is the belief from information at hand that a sheet of four hundred of the stamps was printed and reached the public.

This announcement excited much interest among collectors of Canadian stamps and enquiry regarding the seeming irregularity was made of the postal authorities at Ottawa. The Post Office Department were convinced that no irregularity could have occurred, but finally made an enquiry, and were, of course, compelled to believe the evidence of the existence of imperforate specimens. In the issue of the Weekly for February 20th, 1909, a more complete story of the find is related, viz.:—

The sheet as found was not of 400 stamps, but of over 200 stamps, as the right-hand half of the sheet on which our report was based and which was not before us when we wrote, contained a pane of 100 stamps, plate number 14 and an irregularly torn part of plate number 13, showing about fifteen whole stamps and parts of others. Assuming that the lower pane in the left half was torn approximately in the manner of the right lower pane, or plate number 13, the find consisted originally of 230 stamps, more or less. This reckoning agrees, we believe, with the recollection of the person who rescued the imperforates from oblivion, in a philatelic sense. The plate numbers on the sheet that gave authority for the chronicling of the stamps by the Weekly are 13 and 14, and not 18, as first printed.

A. N. Lemieux of Chicago is the man who found the stamps. While in Ottawa five years ago or so (this was later corrected to June, 1906), when he was in business in that city, he saw the stamps just within the iron fence that has been described as surrounding the establishment of the bank note company that prints the Canadian stamps. The day was a rainy one and the sheet had evidently been blown out of the window. Mr. Lemieux apparently attached no value to the sheet of over 200 stamps, which was in a wet, crumpled condition, and without gum. Mr. Lemieux was under the impression, no doubt, that gum had been on the sheet but had been washed off by the rain.

Mr. Severn ultimately acquired what was left of this imperforate sheet, and later submitted the stamps to the officials at Ottawa, who pronounced them but “printer's waste”. Mr. Severn, in adding to the history of these imperforates, says:—

They seemingly had been trampled upon and subjected to the usage that would be given such castoff material. Further, it was said that they had been blown or thrown out of a window, no doubt. It was suggested that the stamps be returned to Ottawa and that there were moral grounds for such a [Pg 62]course on the part of the holders. The description of “printer's waste” seems to be correct and the inference is that the stamps never had been gummed. They belong to that class of curiosities that appeal strongly to the specialist, but which the ordinary collector regards as something apart from his collecting policy.

The stamps did not go back to Ottawa, and the postal authorities there annoyed, doubtless righteously, that such things should escape from their well regulated printing establishment went to considerable trouble to make the imperforates of small monetary value. The following paragraph, written by a correspondent of the Weekly, was the first inkling collectors had that the department had thought any more of the matter:—

It may be of interest to know that the last supplement to the Canadian Post Office Guide contains the following: “In view of representations which have been made to the Department, it has been decided to permit the sale of the 2-cent denomination of Canadian postage stamps of the current issue, in sheets of 100, without the usual perforation.” I at once asked for a sheet of the 2-cent, and incidentally said I would take a sheet of the other denominations if available. A reply came today informing me that only the 2-cent would be available, and then not for some time, as the department intends to make a separate printing of these stamps, to supply whatever demand may occur.

It was stipulated that applications for these imperforate stamps should be made to the Postmaster at Ottawa. When the sheets of these stamps came into collectors' hands it was found they had been printed from plates 13 and 14—the same as those from which the originally chronicled “errors” were printed. It is obvious that the Department issued these stamps simply to “get back” at the holder of the sheet so unfortunately blown or thrown out of the printing-office window in 1906. That they were not intended for use in mailing machines seems amply proved from the fact that none of the 2c stamps of the present issue have been issued in imperforate sheets.

No ½c value was issued in the King Edward design although the Queen's head stamp of that denomination continued in use until 1909. This value was primarily intended for use in prepaying the postage on transient newspapers, but for many years the number sold to the public was out of all proportion to those which could have been required for its legitimate use. There is no doubt that large quantities were purchased by stamp dealers for wholesaling to packet makers and dealers in the cheap approval sheet business and, undoubtedly, stamp collectors in Canada usually preferred to use four ½c stamps on their letters rather than an ordinary 2c one. This excessive demand for the ½c resulted in the Post Office Department issuing the following circular to Postmasters in 1902:—

The attention of postmasters is drawn to the fact that the postal necessity for the ½c stamp, as such, is now confined to one purpose—prepayment of newspapers and periodicals posted singly, and weighing not more than one ounce each. As publications of the kind referred to must, in the nature of things, be few, and as in the case of their being mailed to subscribers by the office of publication, the bulk rate of postage would be far cheaper and more convenient for the publisher, the demand for the ½c stamp throughout the Dominion must be appreciably diminished as a result of this restriction of its use. While, of course, any number of ½c stamps on an article of correspondence will be recognized to the full extent of their aggregate face value, it is not the wish of the Department to supply them except for the sole specific purpose above mentioned, and an intimation to that effect should be given by postmasters to patrons of their office who are in the habit of buying ½-cent stamps for other postal purposes.

This circular had quite an effect on the use of ½c stamps, for only about one-third as many were used in the year following the publication of the circular. Finally, on May 19th, 1909, the Post Office Act was amended so that the special rate on newspapers was repealed and the minimum postage on any single piece of mail became 1c. This did away for the necessity of ½c stamps and, of course, discounted any further possibility of the value being included in the King's head series.

Reference List.

1903-8. Die engraved by Perkins, Bacon & Co., London. Plates prepared and stamps printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 78.  1c   green, Scott's No. 89.
  • 79.  2c   carmine, Scott's No. 90.
  • 80.  5c   blue on blue, Scott's No. 91.
  • 81.  7c   olive-bistre, Scott's No. 92.
  • 82.  10c  brown lilac. Scott's No. 93.
  • 83.  20c  olive-green. No. 94.
  • 84.  50c  purple. No. 95.

[Pg 63]

Chapter XXIII.—The Quebec Tercentenary Issue.


The year 1908 marked the three hundredth anniversary of the first permanent settlement in Canada, made by Champlain at Quebec in 1608, and plans were formed to celebrate the event in a fitting manner by means of fêtes, historical pageants, etc. In fact, the occasion was considered of such importance that the then Prince and Princess of Wales (now King George V of England and his Royal Consort) were invited to be present at the festivities, and they made a special journey in one of Britain's most formidable battleships.

Quite early it was rumoured that the Post Office Department would mark the event, as in Diamond Jubilee year, by the issue of a series of special stamps, and though in March the Hon. Rudolphe Lemieux, who was then Postmaster-General, announced that such an issue would assuredly be made, the Department exercised the greatest reticence as to what values would be included in the series, and what subjects would form the designs. Naturally the Department was inundated with all sorts of suggestions, more or less appropriate to the occasion, but, apparently, the “powers that be” had their plans already made and it was not until a few days before the stamps were ready for use that any information was made public regarding the series. The Toronto Globe for July 4th printed the following despatch from its Ottawa correspondent:—

Postmaster-General Lemieux has given instructions to issue a series of postage stamps commemorating the tercentenary. They are eight in number. Four of them bear portraits of persons dear to Canada, or whose names recall great events. The first represents the Prince and Princess of Wales; the second the King and Queen. Next come Cartier and Champlain, and then, in connection with the battlefields park scheme, Wolfe and Montcalm. The second part of the issue represents Cartier's arrival before Quebec. On the calm waters of the mighty St. Lawrence stand in bold relief three ships of the discoverer of Canada, flying the fleur-de-lys.

As a sequel to the above is a very picturesque tableau. In Champlain's narrative of his third voyage to Canada is found the following passage:—

“With our canoes laden with provisions, our arms and some merchandise to be given as presents to the Indians, I started on Monday, May 27, from the isle of Sainte Helaine, accompanied by four Frenchmen and one Indian. A salute was given in my honour from some small pieces of artillery.”

The artist, under the inspiration of these few lines, has depicted Champlain's departure for the west. There stand two canoes. In one Champlain's companions have already taken their places, paddle in hand, whilst the great explorer is still on shore, bidding good-bye to a few friends. The picture is full of life. The legend underneath reads as follows: “Partement de Champlain pour L'ouest.” The word “partement”, now obsolete, is the one used by Champlain for the modern one “depart”.

The same note of old France is used in connection with a view of the first house in Quebec, indeed in Canada, Champlain's habitation, which is called in his narrative “l'abitation de Quebécq”. This stamp is a clear reproduction of a cut from Champlain's work. Quebec as it was in 1700 is the next view, copied from Bacqueville de la Potherie's “Histoire de la Nouvelle France”. It is a quaint picture of the old city, showing steeples here and there, the fort on the river front and in faint lines the Laurentide Mountains in the background.

All stamps bear with the words “CANADA POSTAGE” the line “IIIe centénaire de Quebec”.

The postmaster-general has given special attention to the selection of portraits and historical scenes to be represented. His choice has been an excellent one.

The carrying out of the engraving part of the plan has been entrusted to Mr. Machado, of the American Bank Note Co., who, with keen artistic sense, has performed his part of the work with great success.

In the same newspaper of the same date appears another despatch giving particulars of the designs alloted to each denomination and the chosen colors viz:—

The special postage stamps to be issued in commemoration of the tercentenary celebration at Quebec are now ready, and will be placed on sale next week. The stamps are of most artistic design, and are larger than the ordinary size, to allow of adequate [Pg 64]representation of historic scenes, portraits, etc. The description of each denomination is as follows:—

Half-cent, grey, picture of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

One-cent, green, portraits of Champlain and Cartier.

Two-cent, red, King Edward and Queen Alexandria.

Five-cent, blue, representation of L'Habitation de Quebec.

Seven-cent, yellow, pictures of Montcalm and Wolfe.

Ten-cent, mauve, picture of Quebec in 1700.

Fifteen-cent, orange, picture of the Parliament of the West in the old regime.

Twenty-cent, green, picture of a courier du sois with Indians.

The stamps were placed on sale on July 16th and, as will be noted from our illustrations, they are as described above except that the 15c does not have Champlain's name on it as stated in the first quotation, and that the 15c and 20c are incorrectly described in the second despatch. The stamps are of similar shape to the special series issued in Diamond Jubilee year though they are a trifle larger—1 mm. taller and nearly 3 mm. longer. The Postmaster-General's Report for 1909 referred to this issue as follows:—

To meet what appeared to be a general wish a special series of postage stamps, which has come to be known as the Tercentenary Series, was introduced as a feature of the celebration in July, 1908, of the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of Quebec by Champlain. The first supply of these stamps was sent out to Postmasters about the middle of that month, and was on sale to the public by the time His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, reached Quebec for the celebration. The demand for the new stamps was extraordinary, and for the better part of a month was steadily kept up. The interest taken in them was, in no small measure, due to the historic associations with which in design they were so happily linked, the subjects depicted in the several denominations of the series being in variety and appropriateness admirably adapted to the end in view,—popular recognition of an epoch-making event.

Except as regards the Postal Union denominations of 1c, 2c and 5c the colors chosen for the stamps of this series do not correspond with those of the regular set. The stamps were produced by the line-engraved process, which has long been the standard method of production for Canada's stamps, and as usual they were issued in sheets of one hundred in ten rows of ten. It seems probable that the plates for the 2c, and possibly for the 1c also, consisted of two panes of 100 stamps each placed one above the other. This seems to be proved from the fact that, whereas on most sheets the imprint “OTTAWA” followed by the plate number, appears in the centre of the top margin, sheets of the 2c are known with the imprint in the centre of the bottom margin, and in the case of plates 3 and 4 both imprint and number are inverted. The inversion on these particular plates was, probably, purely accidental. But though these large plates were used the stamps were always issued in the usual sheet size of 100. The following plates are known to have been used:—

½c dark brown. No. 1.
1c blue-green, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4.
2c carmine, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4.
5c dark blue, Nos. 1, 2.
7c olive-green, No. 1.
10c dark violet, No. 1.
15c red-orange, No. 1.
20c yellow brown. No. 1.

The stamps were all printed on the usual white wove paper and were perforated 12, though specimens of the 2c are known entirely imperforate. Fairly well marked shades may be found in connection with the 1c and 2c denominations but the other values show but very slight differences.



The royal portraits on the ½c and 2c[Pg 65] values call for little comment, though it is interesting to note that the portrait of the Princess of Wales (now Queen Mary) is exactly similar to that shown on the 4c stamp of Newfoundland which was first issued in 1901. The picture of the Prince of Wales (now His Majesty King George V) was from a photograph by W. & D. Downey, of London, taken just prior to his journey to India in 1906.


The portrait of Jacques Cartier on the 1c is precisely like that which appears on Canada's first 10d stamp. In Gibbons' Stamp Weekly for January 16th, 1909, the following interesting account of Cartier's voyage appears:—

In the year 1533 Jacques Cartier was empowered by Philipp Cabot, “the Admiral of France,” to fit out ships “to explore new territories, to gain them, by robbery or otherwise, for France, and at the same time to endeavour to find a north-west passage to Cathay”. As long before as 1506 the Florentine explorer, Giovanni Verozzani, had seized the territories of North America lying to the north of the St. Lawrence River in the name of the King of France, but the seizure had never been enforced, and remained a seizure only in name.

On this, his first voyage, Cartier discovered Newfoundland, and, sailing on, anchored off the northerly coast of the Gaspé Peninsula, by which the River St. Lawrence sweeps into the gulf of the same name. The season was very late, however, and bad weather was to be expected, so Cartier was obliged to set sail for France without delay. He took with him to France two sons of an Indian chief, and they caused great excitement in Paris.

King Francis I was so pleased with this exploit that on October 31, 1534, he nominated Captain Jacques Cartier to be “Royal Pilot” (Pilote Royale), and had three more ships prepared for him to make a second voyage to Newfoundland. Preparations for the departure were hurried on at St. Malo, Cartier's birthplace, and at the beginning of May all was ready for the departure.

Three ships took part in the voyage, viz.: La Grande Hermione, La Petite Hermione, and La Hermionette. The first two were vessels rated at 120 and 80 tons respectively, and the last was a galleon of 40 tons. On the after part of the first two vessels there were no less than three decks as superstructure, while forward there was only one deck. They were provided with the full naval armament of the sixteenth century; on the gunwale were mounted small cannon, and also a battery of mortars or similar weapons.

The galleon was a long slender ship of extremely low freeboard, rakish rigged as a single-master, both sails and oars being used as a means of propulsion; two small cannon were mounted forward, and a round dozen arquebuses were also carried. The total company and passengers of the three ships were only 110 all told.

On the morning of May 19th, 1535, the little flotilla set forth on its long voyage of exploration after having saluted the town with every gun on board.

On September 14th of the same year Cartier sighted land, which spread itself out on either side of the ships as far as the eye could reach, and found signs of a village; the place was called Canada by the natives, the meaning of the word in the native language being “The Town”. This village was the seat of “government”, and was occupied by an Indian chief called Donnacona; it was situate right on the shore of the bay formed by the junction of the rivers St. Charles and St. Lawrence. The village seemed to consist of huts built irregularly on the steep sides of a mountain, the spot later being the position of the southerly and easterly quarters of Quebec.


The historical moment of the arrival of Cartier's brave little “fleet” is interestingly depicted on the 20c value of the tercentenary series. Samuel de Champlain, whose portrait is also shown[Pg 66] on the 1c denomination, was born in 1570 and died in 1635. Again we are indebted to the article in Gibbons' Stamp Weekly for the following particulars:—

In 1603 he was commissioned by King Henry IV of France to found a settlement in Canada. On his first voyage he sailed up the St. Lawrence, and established friendly relations with the various native chiefs of the tribes inhabiting the country through which the river flowed. On his second voyage he was accompanied by only thirty people, and on July 3rd, 1608, he landed at the village of Canada, which was mentioned above. His first thought was to find a site suitable for the erection of an “abitation” where he might pass the winter that was coming on. “I could find no more comfortable or better spot than the land around Quebec, where countless nut trees were to be seen,” wrote Champlain. That was exactly the same place where Cartier had built his fort sixty years before.

Thanks to extreme industry, winter quarters were rapidly erected. The habitation consisted of three principal buildings, each two stories high. Two of these buildings measured 18 ft. long by 9 ft. wide, and the third, used as a storehouse, was 36 ft. long by 18 ft. wide and had a large cellar. In the first building Champlain lived with a few of the workmen in the lower story; in the other the remaining workpeople lived, and had with them the arms and ammunition of the whole party. An annexe was attached to one of the buildings, and it was used as a smithy; a few of the people also slept there. The whole of the buildings were enclosed by a trench or moat 15 ft. wide and 9 ft. deep, to protect the settlers from the ravages of wild beasts.

Champlain had earthworks thrown up on the inner side of the moat, on which cannons were mounted. Between the encampment and the river there remained a strip only 24 ft. wide; and behind, on the side of the mountain, there was a plot of arable land a little more than 100 ft. long and 60 ft. wide, where Champlain had corn sown and vines planted.


This “abitation” is shown on the 5c value of the series, while on the 10c is shown the city of Quebec as it had grown by 1700 from such small and modest beginnings.


In the following May Champlain decided to explore the river and his departure on this momentous journey is depicted on the 15c stamp.


On the 7c denomination are portraits of the two famous generals, Montcalm and Wolfe, both of whom were killed fighting each other on the heights of Quebec. Again, to quote from the article in Gibbons' Stamp Weekly:


So early as 1628 Quebec was captured by the English, in spite of Champlain's brave defence; but Canada was restored to France by one of the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which was concluded in 1632. Richelieu at once sent Champlain back to Quebec as Governor-General of Canada.

Twice more, in 1690 and 1711, the English besieged Quebec, but they were not able to capture the town. But in 1759 General James Wolfe was ordered by Pitt to clear the French right out of Canada. The French troops were under the command of Marquis Ludwig Joseph Montcalm, of Saint-Veran. Although the latter was in command of only a small force, he was able to claim several victories, [Pg 67]but finally he was besieged in Quebec by General Wolfe, at the head of 30,000 men. He was obliged to give battle under unequal conditions, and on September 13th was mortally wounded at the battle of the Heights of Abraham and died two days later. The victorious English general was also killed in the same battle.

The names of both these leaders, enemies though they were, have graven themselves inseparably on the memories of the inhabitants of Quebec. In 1827 the Governor of Canada, Lord Dalhousie, erected a marble monument to their memory, on which is a Latin inscription, which may be rendered freely thus:—

“Their courage caused their death. History praises them both. Posterity erects this monument to their honour.”

No advance information was published as to the numbers printed of the several values in the series, as in the case of the Jubilee set, so that little attempt at cornering any particular values was made by speculators. True, large quantities of the ½c value were bought up by people who imagined it would be as rare as the corresponding value of the Jubilee stamps, but as there were two million of these they did not turn out to be the gold-mine it was fondly imagined they would. By September, 1908, all values except the 10c, 15c and 20c had been exhausted and by the end of October these three values were sold out as well. The numbers issued were later given out by the Postmaster-General in answer to two questions propounded to him in the House of Commons by Mr. Perley, a member. The Canadian Hansard gives this data as follows:—

1.—What was the total amount received by the Post Office Department from the sale of the special Tercentenary stamps? 2.—What part of this sum would probably have been received as ordinary revenue if there had been no special issue of stamps?

To these questions the Hon. Rudolphe Lemieux, Postmaster-General, responded: The following was the issue to Postmasters of the Tercentenary postage stamps:

Denominations. Quantities. Value.
½ cent 2,000,000 $10,000
1 cent 22,530,000 $225,300
2 cent 35,100,000 $702,000
5 cent 1,200,000 $60,000
7 cent 700,000 $49,000
10 cent 500,000 $50,000
15 cent 300,000 $45,000
20 cent 304,200 $60,840
Totals, 62,634,200 $1,202,140

The department has no knowledge whether the stamps in question have all been sold, as during their issue the ordinary postage stamps were also on sale, both issues being in use as preferred by the public. The proceeds derived from the sale of stamps of the two issues were not kept separately, but treated as arising from a common source. It is, therefore, impossible to state to what extent the issue of the Tercentenary postage stamps may have affected the ordinary revenue.

The fact that the Prince of Wales was an ardent stamp collector resulted in the presentation to him of a specially mounted set as shown by the following paragraph from the Weekly:—

As the Prince of Wales is an enthusiastic collector of stamps, His Royal Highness will no doubt be very pleased to receive the set of the special tercentenary stamps which will be presented to him at Quebec. The stamps will be held in small gold boxes, enclosed in a handsome large box of Morocco leather. A second set accompanies the gift in a special gold box, on the cover of the large box is the Prince's crest and a gold plate inscribed as follows: “Set of Canadian postage stamps issued upon the occasion of the Quebec tercentenary, 1908. Presented to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales by Hon. Rudolphe Lemieux, Postmaster-General of Canada.” Sets of these stamps, in boxes with appropriate crests and monograms, will be presented to Earl Grey, Sir Wilfred Laurier and Hon. Rudolphe Lemieux.

Reference List.

1908. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 85. ½c  dark brown, Scott's No. 96.
  • 86.  1c   blue green, Scott's No. 97.
  • 87.  2c   carmine, Scott's No. 98.
  • 88.  5c   dark blue, Scott's No. 99.
  • 89.  7c    olive green, Scott's No. 100.
  • 90.  10c  dark violet, Scott's No. 101.
  • 91.  15c  red orange, Scott's No. 102.
  • 92.  20c  yellow brown, Scott's No. 103.

Chapter XXIV.


The King George Stamps.

On May 6th, 1910, King George V succeeded to the throne but the Dominion of Canada did not take steps towards issuing a series of stamps bearing the portrait of the new monarch until some time later. The 1c and 2c denominations were recorded in the Monthly Journal for January, 1912, so they were doubtless on[Pg 68] sale on the 1st day of that month. The other values—5c, 7c, 10c, 20c and 50c—were placed on sale very soon afterwards and we believe the full series was in circulation before the end of January.


The new stamps form a highly attractive set and they are without question the handsomest set of “George” stamps issued by any of the British Colonies. The portrait, which shows His Majesty in an admiral's uniform, three-quarter face to left, is, as the Monthly Journal states “the best portrait of King George that has yet appeared on stamps.” The portrait is contained within an oval above which the words CANADA POSTAGE are curved in bold sans-serif capitals. Below is the value ONE CENT, etc., in words while in each of the lower angles the value is shown in figures on a plain square as in the case of the King Edward stamps. In the upper corners are crowns, again like the King Edward labels, but the treatment of the stamp as a whole is widely dissimilar. The portrait oval is smaller than before so that in place of the almost microscopical maple leaves shown on the King Edward stamps we now find a spray of these leaves, beautifully drawn, in each of the lower spandrels.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 100 as before with the usual arrangement of marginal imprint and plate numbers. No record seems to have been made of the plates but that a very large number of the 2c at any rate were used is obvious from the high numbers found.

The 1c and 2c values show a number of prominent shades. Just a month after the stamps were first chronicled the Monthly Journal noted that the 1c existed in two distinct shades—“yellow-green and blue-green”. In October, 1912, the same journal mentioned the receipt of the 5c “in a very markedly altered shade, deep ultramarine instead of the previous deep indigo”, while in January, 1913, we read of two very pronounced shades of the 2c—bright carmine and dull rose-red—in addition to the usual rose-carmine tint. In November, 1913, this denomination was noted in still another striking shade described as “almost carmine-lake”.

In the February, 1913, issue of the Philatelic Gazette reference is made to these shades and other varieties as follows:—

Collectors of shades should not fail to secure before it is too late, the interesting series of such varieties in the current King George series of Canada. In the 1 cent stamp four distinct shades are noted and in the 2 cent value no less than ten distinct shades from a pale carmine rose to deep carmine and from a real brick red to a reddish-brown or sienna red.

Several “errors” or “freaks of printing” have appeared, mostly in the early impressions, caused probably by the rush and push of the printers in trying to meet the large demand. I have noted the following and believe they will be of interest to collectors:

1 Cent.—An accent between CANADA and POSTAGE; also accents between N and D of CANADA.

2 Cent.—The same varieties may be found on the 2 cent stamp printed from plate one.

2 Cent.—On plate two there appeared on the 97th stamp on the plate a marked accent on the C of CENTS.

2 Cent.—In February, 1912, some few sheets were issued, having the red horizontal guide lines running across the stamps. These were printed from unfinished plates from which the guide lines had not been removed. They are easily distinguished, having the lines about 2 millimeters apart running across every stamp on the sheet. The lines are very plain where they run through the figures of value.—C. L. P.

The variety last described is a very interesting one which may also be found in connection with the 1c denomination. To term them guide-lines and prints from “unfinished plates” is, however, quite incorrect. Such guide-lines as are marked on a plate are only placed vertically or horizontally to correspond with the top or bottom or one of the sides of the stamp design. The lines, which we are now considering, appear comparatively close together though they are not equi-distant, as the above description would lead us to imagine, nor are they always parallel or straight. They are undoubtedly due to some inherent defects in the plates. Possibly, in the rush to finish sufficient plates to cope with the demand for the new stamps some of them were hardened too quickly with the result that the surfaces cracked.[Pg 69] These defective plates were certainly among the earliest ones used and judging by the scarcity of the stamps showing these peculiarities they were not in use long before they were discarded.

The 1c and 2c values of this series were issued in coil form for use in automatic vending machines. These were first issued in November, 1912, perf. 8 vertically and imperforate at top and bottom. In October, 1913, the 1c was issued perf. 8 horizontally and imperforate at the sides and shortly afterwards the 2c appeared in the same way. These coil stamps show quite a number of distinct shades. The 1c in coil form was also issued with the 12 perforation at top and bottom and imperforate at the sides.

Reference List.

Engraved and Printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 93.  1c   green, Scott's No. 104.
    • (a)  Perf. 8 vertically. Scott's No. 104c.
    • (b)  Perf. 8 horizontally, Scott's No. 104b.
    • (c)  Perf. 12 horizontally, Scott's No. 104a.
  • 94.  2c   carmine. Scott's No. 105.
    • (a)  Perf. 8 vertically, Scott's No. 105a.
    • (b)  Perf. 8 horizontally, Scott's No. 105b.
  • 95.  5c   deep blue. Scott's No. 106.
  • 96.  7c   olive-yellow, Scott's No. 107.
  • 97.  10c  dull purple, Scott's No. 108.
  • 98.  20c  olive-green, Scott's No. 109.
  • 99.  50c  sepia, Scott's No. 110.

Chapter XXV.


The War Tax Stamps.

One result of the European war was that Canada, in common with many other countries, had to impose special taxes. The Hon. W. T. White, Minister of Finance, outlined the various tariff changes and special taxes in the House of Commons, Ottawa, on February 11th, 1915, and a resume of the chief items in the new “budget” was published in the Weekly for Feb. 7th as follows:—

The tariff changes went into effect at the time of the announcement. The special tax on wine and champagne goes into effect at once. The other special taxes take effect at a date to be yet fixed. The stamp tax on letters means that the old 3 cent postage rate is restored, and a city letter costs 2 cents.

There is to be no income tax.

The following are some of the items of taxation:—

One cent on telegraph and cable messages.

Five cents for every five dollars on railroad and steamboat tickets.

Ten cents on sleeping car and five cents on parlor car tickets.

One to three dollars per passenger from steamboat companies carrying to ports other than in Canada, Newfoundland, the United States of America, and British West Indies.

Two cents on all bank checks, receipts and bills of exchange, express and post-office orders.

One cent on postal notes.

One cent (war stamp) on each letter and postcard.

Five cents per quart on non-sparkling wines sold in Canada, and twenty-five cents per pint on champagne and sparkling wines.

One cent on each twenty-five cents retail price of proprietary articles.

The only tax that has interest to us as philatelists is the one cent impost on all letters and postcards. This came into effect on April 15th, 1915, and special stamps were issued for the purpose. These are the regular 1c postage stamps of the King George series with the words “WAR TAX”, in two lines, in large colorless block capitals between the portrait and the value. As this stamp collected a tax on letters and postcards it will undoubtedly be considered collectible by the most advanced of the philatelic purists. A 2c value was also issued in this type and while this was primarily intended for use on money orders, checks, etc., it was also quite frequently used for postage. In fact there seems to have been no necessity for these special stamps, for so long as a letter had 3c postage on it (or 2c in the case of drop letters) the law was fully complied with.

That both the 1c and 2c values were good for postage is proved by the following letter addressed to Mr. Gladstone Perry in answer to an enquiry by him:—

Post Office Department, Canada,

Ottawa, 22nd April, 1915.

Dear Sir:—

I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 19th inst. on the subject of War Tax Stamps.

In so far as the Post Office Department is concerned, the War Tax Stamps have only been issued in two denominations, namely:—the one cent and two cent.

[Pg 70] The Two Cent War Tax Stamp may be used on money orders, cheques, notes and wherever else the tax on that amount is applicable.

I would also add that ordinary postage stamps may also be used to pay the War Tax and that Post Office War Tax Stamps are available for postage purposes.

Very sincerely yours,

E. J. Lemaire, Superintendent,
Postage Stamp Branch.

It was considered, however, that a stamp which would pay both postage and tax would be a great convenience to the public and in December, 1915, a stamp of this sort was issued. The official announcement regarding these was as follows:—

Post Office Department, Canada,

Ottawa, December 30th, 1915.

Sir:—I have the honor to enclose three specimens of a stamp which this Department is issuing for postage and War Tax purposes, having a value of three cents. This is an ordinary two cent postage stamp surcharged as follows: 1 T c (one cent tax). This has been issued in response to the demand of the public for a stamp having the value of three cents so that postage and War Tax might be paid by affixing one stamp. This stamp is of permanent validity.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

R. M. Coulter,
Deputy Postmaster-General.

The new stamps were printed from engraved plates as usual from a special die adapted from the ordinary 2 cent stamp. Upon the King's coat, immediately below the portrait but within the portrait oval, is engraved a capital “T” beneath the left branch of which is the numeral “1”, and beneath the right branch the letter “c” for cent. These presumably came into general use on January 1st, 1916.

Sometime in July or August, 1916, this special 3c stamp was reported as existing with a perforation of 12 at top and bottom and 8 at the sides. It was generally presumed these were stamps from sheets which had been originally intended for coil use and this was confirmed in a letter sent to a correspondent from the Superintendent of the Postage Stamp Branch at Ottawa, viz.:—

The explanation of this lies in the simple fact that owing to quick deliveries of this stamp being required by the Department, the manufacturers were obliged to use part of stock which had been prepared for roll postage and perforated sidewise with the wide perforation. These sheets were then perforated endwise with the regular perforation and issued.

It is said that 50,000 of these stamps were supplied to the Montreal Post-office but whether this represents the total quantity issued or not we cannot say.

As this 3c tax stamp was in the same color as the ordinary 2c label much confusion resulted and the advantage of issuing the stamp in a distinctive color was ultimately considered by the Post Office Department. Rumours that the color would be changed began to circulate early in September, 1916, and shortly afterwards the stamp made its appearance in an attractive brown color. The new stamp was apparently distributed late in August and postmasters were instructed not to issue it until all stocks of the old 3c in carmine had been sold. The circular dealing with this matter is worded as follows:—

Post Office Department, Canada,

Ottawa, 28th August, 1916.

Two-Cent Surcharged Postage and War Tax Stamp.

The Postmaster will please observe that the 2c Surcharged Postage and War Tax stamps, herewith enclosed, are printed in BROWN instead of in RED, as formerly. In future these stamps will be issued in the colour mentioned so as to overcome the difficulty experienced owing to the similarity in colour to the ordinary 2c stamp.

Before offering to the public any of the new stamps it is very desirable that the old stock he entirely sold.

R. M. Coulter,
Deputy Postmaster-General.

Reference List.

1915-16. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 100. 1c    green, Scott's No. 201.
  • 101. 2c+1c carmine, Scott's No. 202.
    • (a)  Perf. 12x8.
  • 102. 2c+1c brown.

Chapter XXVI.


A Proposed Commemorative Series.

Before concluding our notes regarding the postage stamps proper of Canada it will be as well to make brief reference[Pg 71] to a proposed commemorative series which, fortunately or unfortunately as one views these special sets, never eventuated. Early in 1914 proposals were on foot to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Sir George Etienne Cartier by the issue of a series of stamps of distinctive designs. Cartier was a famous Canadian premier who was born in Lower Canada in 1814. Becoming attorney-general for Lower Canada in 1856, he was called to form the Cartier-Macdonald ministry in 1858. After the fall of his ministry he again became attorney-general in 1864. A fearless and upright leader, and a good orator, he did much for the moulding of a united Canada. He is also famed as a writer of French lyrics, which were published in 1875, two years after his death. Whether the stamps ever got beyond the proposal stage is a moot point but at any rate a list of chosen subjects was published, viz.:—

1 cent, Portraits of King George and Queen Mary.

2 cents, The Cartier Monument.

5 cents, Cartier's birthplace.

7 cents, Portrait of the Prince of Wales.

10 cents, Victoria Bridge, inaugurated by Cartier.

20 cents, Canadian Pacific Railway train inscribed “All Aboard for the West.”

50 cents, Cartier's Coat-of-Arms; motto, “Franc et sans dol”; inscription. “O Canada, mon pays, mes amours”.

It was at one time definitely announced that the stamps would be placed on sale on June 15th but a correspondent making enquiry at headquarters was informed that “the Department is not yet decided to sell the Cartier stamps.”

As the stamps still failed to make an appearance a firm of English stamp dealers wrote to the Canadian Post-Office department for information and received the following reply:—

Post Office Department, Canada.

Office of the Superintendent
of the Postage Stamp Branch.

Ottawa, 29th June, 1914.

Dear Sirs:—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor addressed to the late Mr. Stanton, and in which you ask information with reference to the proposed issue of stamps to commemorate the centenary of Sir George Etienne Cartier. The information which you have received from outside sources is not only premature, but inaccurate in several details, and I can only say that although it is possible that these stamps may be issued during the course of the next few months the whole question is still under the consideration of the Department.

Yours very sincerely,

E. J. Lemaire, Superintendent.

Finally, owing very probably to the war, it was decided not to issue this special series of stamps.

Chapter XXVII.


Official Stamps.

Canada has never issued special postage stamps for use on departmental correspondence but in November, 1884, a German paper,—Der Philatelist—on the advice of a correspondent, chronicled a series for official use. These were said to consist of the ordinary adhesives, two envelopes and a post card surcharged with the word OFFICIAL in black. To quote from the Philatelic Record:—“It is alleged that they were prepared and issued in 1877, but after a short time were called in again. The surcharges are in some cases oblique, and in others perpendicular. It is at least strange that, considering our intercourse with Canada, our first knowledge of the issue of official stamps so far back as 1877 should reach us from Temesvar, wherever that may be”.

Doubts were, naturally, expressed on all sides with regard to the authenticity of these labels and a letter addressed to Ottawa on the subject resulted in the following reply:—

Post Office Department, Canada,

Ottawa, 18th May, 1885.

Sir:—I am directed by the Postmaster-General to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 29th ult., enquiring whether postage stamps bearing the word “Official” on their face are in circulation in the Dominion of Canada, and beg, in reply, to say that no such stamp, card, newspaper wrapper, or envelope has ever been issued by this Department. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed) Wm. White, Secretary.

Two years later, in April, 1887, after this canard had been satisfactorily disposed of another set of alleged official stamps was referred to in the Philatelic Record as follows:—

Mr. Hechler sent to the Transvaal correspondent of Major Evans a set [Pg 72]of Canadian stamps surcharged SERVICE, and he certainly vouched for the authenticity of the Royal arms and supporters, with the word SERVICE on some Canadian envelopes, which he declared had been issued to the troops that were sent out in the Indian rebellion in 1885, and with whom Mr. Hechler was serving. This rebellion did not break out until April of that year, and yet we find these envelopes described in the Timbre-Poste of February of the same year, on the authority of Der Philatelist of the previous January. This all seems to be very remarkable, especially as no one but Mr. Hechler appears ever to have had any of them.

A little delving into the history of these stamps and envelopes soon showed that they were nothing more than a private speculation on the part of their sponsor, Mr. Hechler. It appears that Hechler was a captain in a Volunteer regiment which was despatched to assist in putting down the rebellion. He had the words SERVICE printed on a number of envelopes, postcards, and probably stamps as well, which were used in sending notices of drill, etc., to his company. But they were never issued or recognised by the Government of Canada.

Chapter XXVIII.


The Special Delivery Stamp.

In March, 1884, the Philatelic Record contained the following paragraph:—

We are informed that there is likely to be issued shortly “a new ten cent stamp of special design, which, when attached to a letter, will ensure its immediate delivery to its address at any free delivery office, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 12 midnight.” A similar system has, we believe, been in use for some years in Belgium, where the extra charge is paid in telegraph stamps.

This was certainly a case of intelligent anticipation for it was not until fourteen years later that a stamp of this character was issued by the Dominion of Canada. The Postmaster-General's Report for 1898 referred to the introduction of the new stamp as follows:—

The calendar year has witnessed the introduction of the special delivery stamp, whereby on the payment of a delivery fee of 10 cents in addition to the ordinary postage, a letter immediately upon its arrival at the office of destination is sent by special messenger for delivery to the addressee.

A special-delivery stamp of the face-value of 10 cents was prepared, and the first supplies thereof were sent out sufficiently early to Postmasters to permit of the inauguration of the special delivery service on the 1st July, 1898. The object of the service is to secure special and prompt delivery of a letter on which a special-delivery stamp, in addition to the ordinary postage, has been affixed.

The new system was dealt with at some length in a circular issued to postmasters under date June 7th, 1898, and as this is of considerable interest we reproduce it below:—

The Postmaster-General has approved of arrangements whereby, on and from the first of July proximo, the senders of letters posted at any Post Office in Canada and addressed to a City Post Office now having Free Delivery by Letter Carriers shall, on prepayment by Special Delivery stamps of the face-value of ten cents, affixed one to each letter, in addition to the ordinary postage to which the same are liable, secure their special delivery to the persons to whom they are addressed within the limits of Letter Carrier Delivery at any one of the following Post Offices in Cities, viz.:—Halifax, St. John, N. B., Fredericton, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Brantford, Hamilton, London, Winnipeg, Victoria, and Vancouver. The hours of delivery to be within 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily, except Sunday. These hours are subject to change as dictated by local circumstances. Drop-letters posted for local delivery, and bearing Special Delivery stamps, in addition to the postage, will also be entitled to special delivery in the same manner as letters received at the Post Office by mail.

Registered letters may likewise come under the operations of this scheme of Special Delivery, in the same way as ordinary letters, provided they bear Special Delivery stamps, in addition to the full postage and the registration fee fixed by law, and the regulations respecting the record and receipting of registered matter are observed. In despatching registered letters that bear Special Delivery stamps, the Postmaster should write prominently across the registered-[Pg 73]package envelope the words “For Special Delivery.” When Special Delivery letters (unregistered) number five or more for any one office the Postmaster should make a separate package of them, marking it “For Special Delivery”; if such letters are fewer than five, he should place them immediately under the “facing-slip” of the letter-package which he makes up, either directly or indirectly, for the Special Delivery office for which they are intended, so that the most prompt attention may be secured therefor.

Special Delivery stamps will be sold at all Money Order Post Offices in Canada, (which may secure a supply of such stamps in the same way as ordinary stamps are obtained), for which the Postmasters will have to account as they do for ordinary stamps and on the sales of which a total commission of ten per cent. shall be allowed to Postmasters, except to Postmasters having fixed salaries. For the present Postmasters will use the existing forms of requisition in applying for Special Delivery stamps. (The usual discount may be allowed to a licensed stamp vendor at the time that he purchases Special Delivery stamps from the Postmaster). Special Delivery stamps are to be cancelled as postage stamps are cancelled. Stamps intended for Special Delivery are not available for any other purpose, and the article upon which one is affixed must have, besides, the ordinary postage prepaid by postage stamps. Under no circumstances will Special Delivery stamps be recognised in payment of postage or of registration fee, nor can any other stamp be used to secure Special Delivery, except the Special Delivery stamp. Special Delivery stamps are not redeemable.

Letters intended for Special Delivery at any one of the City Post Offices above mentioned, and prepaid as directed, may be mailed at any Post Office in Canada.

The regulations relating to First Class Matter (Inland Post) apply also and equally to Special Delivery letters, the only difference being the special treatment which the latter receive with a view to accelerating their delivery.

The object sought by the establishment of Special Delivery,—namely, the special delivery of letters transmitted thereunder,—will be much promoted if the senders of all such letters are careful to address them plainly and fully, giving, if possible, the street and number in each case. Such care will serve not only to prevent mistakes, but also to facilitate delivery. All employees of the Post Office are enjoined to expedite, in every way in their power, the posting, transmission and delivery of letters intended for Special Delivery.


These special delivery stamps are distinctly different in design from the ordinary postage stamps, the reason for this being, of course, that letters intended for special delivery may be at once identified and their handling facilitated. The stamps are oblong in shape, measuring about 31 mm. by 23 mm. high. The centre consists of an engine turned oval, in the middle of which is the word TEN in uncolored block letters on a solid disc of color. Around this is an oval filled with lathe-work and then comes an oval band inscribed “SPECIAL DELIVERY WITHIN CITY LIMITS” in similar lettering to that of the word of value. This, in turn, is enclosed within another oval of lathe-work. The frame shows “CANADA POST OFFICE” in a straight label across the top, while the lower and side borders are filled with lathe-work intercepted at the bottom by a straight label containing “TEN CENTS”, and at each side by a small circle containing the numerals “10.” The spandrels are filled with conventional foliate ornaments. The value and special use of the stamp is thus plainly depicted and letters bearing them are easily sorted from the ordinary mail.

The stamps were, like all other Canadian stamps, printed from line-engraved plates. They were printed in sheets of fifty arranged in ten horizontal rows of five each. The imprint and plate number “OTTAWA——No.——1” are shown in the upper margin above the central stamp. Apparently this original plate is still in use, for no other plate number has yet been recorded.

At first the stamps were printed in deep green, but in January, 1906, the Philatelic Record mentioned a new shade, described as blue-green, and recent print[Pg 74]ings have been in a very deep shade of blue-green.

The use of these special delivery stamps, though somewhat restricted at first, soon grew steadily in volume, showing that the public appreciated the special service. The Postmaster-General in referring to this matter in his Report for 1899 says:—“The 10 cent Special Delivery stamps, to which reference was made in the last report, came into use at the beginning of the current fiscal year, simultaneously with the commencement of the Special Delivery Service, and of this stamp 52,940 were issued to meet the demands, which would go to show that the service is being availed of to a considerable extent throughout the country.”

Later Reports simply indicate the extension of the service to other offices, though the one for 1908 also concedes that the use of a Special Delivery stamp is not compulsory to secure this service so long as the extra fee of ten cents is prepaid. We read that:—

The regulations respecting special delivery have been so modified that it is no longer necessary for a person despatching a letter which he desires to have delivered immediately, to provide himself with the “special delivery” stamp issued by the department. He may now place upon his letter ordinary postage stamps to the value of ten cents in addition to the stamps required for the prepayment of postage and write across the corner of the envelope the words “special delivery”. This will ensure the special delivery of the letter as provided for in the regulations.

Reference List.

1898. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 103. 10c deep green, Scott's No. 160.

Chapter XXIX.


The Registration Stamps.

The convenience of the registry system was adopted in Canada in May, 1855, at which time the fee was the remarkably low one of one penny. In 1856 the system was extended to cover letters sent to the United States by mutual agreement between the post office departments of both countries, and while the domestic rate remained at one penny the fee for the registration of letters to the United States was three pence. Mr. Howes has discovered an interesting notice in the Canadian Directory for 1857-8 which gives further details as follows:—

Persons transmitting letters, which they desire should pass through the post as “registered letters”, must observe that no record is taken of any letter unless specially handed in for registration at the time of the posting. Upon all such letters, with the exception of those addressed to the United States, one penny must be prepaid as a registration charge. If addressed to the United States, the ordinary postage rate on the letters to that country must be prepaid, and in addition a registration charge of 3d per letter. The registry thus effected in Canada will be carried on by the United States Post Office until the letter arrives at its destination.

In like manner, letters addressed to Canada may be registered at the place of posting in the United States, and the registry made there will accompany the letter to the place of delivery in Canada.

A certificate of registration will be given by the postmaster if required.

The registration system can be applied to the letter portion of the mail only.

The registration system at that time made no provision for compensation in case of the loss of letters, the small extra fee charged simply indicating that extra care would be taken to secure proper delivery. Evidently at that time the fee was paid in money, and the letters then marked with a handstamp of some sort, for in the Postmaster-General's Report for 1858 we read, “It is also considered that it would be an improvement on the system if the charge for registration were made pre-payable by a stamp, instead of by money as at present.” It is probable that shortly after this the prepayment of the registry fee was indicated by the affixing of stamps of the required value. The report for 1860 refers to the system as follows:—

A rate of charge for Registration so low as, in no probable degree, to operate as a motive, with persons posting letters of value, to deny themselves the advantage of securing from the Post Office an acknowledgment of the receipt of the specific letter, has always been considered to be a cardi[Pg 75]nal point in the Canadian Registration System.

The Registration fee, or charge, has, therefore, under the influence of this consideration, been maintained at 2 cents, though it is doubtful whether such a rate of charge covers the actual cost of the process; the address of the Registered Letter having, in the course of transmission, to be entered on an average not less than six times, and forms of certificate or receipt, and Books in which to preserve permanent records at each Post Office, to be supplied.

The postal officials were evidently strong believers in the Registration system and lost no opportunity of dwelling on its merits. In his Report for 1864 the Postmaster-General tells of its manifold advantages as follows:—

When a letter is registered, that is to say, marked and recorded in the Post Office so as to individualise it from the bulk of ordinary letter correspondence, its presence in the Post Office can be identified and its course of transmission traced, and a registered letter is thus secured from the chance of abstraction by an unfaithful messenger employed to post it (as it is always open to proof whether the letter was posted for registration or not), from risk of loss by accidental mis-direction on the part of the sender, and from mistakes in the Post Office—such as mis-sending or delivery to a wrong party. Against actual dishonesty on the part of the Post Office employes, a registered letter is incomparably more secure than an unregistered one, for an unregistered money-letter and the nature of its contents are, to any person accustomed to handle letters, as manifest as though the letter had been singled out and marked by the registered stamp. Moreover, the safety of an unregistered letter is dependent on the integrity of a Post Office Clerk during the whole time that it remains in his custody, frequently for hours, or even days; whilst a registered letter will almost invariably have to be acknowledged at the moment of its passing into an officer's hands, and cannot thereafter be suppressed without leaving him individually accountable for its disposal.

At what date the registry system was extended to letters sent to other countries than the United States is not clear but Mr. Howes has succeeded in unearthing a document which shows the rates prevailing in 1865-6:—

The charge for Registration, in addition to the Postage, is as follows, viz.:—

On Letters to any other place in Canada or British North America,

2 cents

On Letters for the United States,

5 cents

On Letters for the United Kingdom,

12½ cents

On Letters for British Colonies or Possession sent via England,

25 cents

On Letters for France and other Foreign Countries via England, an equal amount to the postage rate.

Both the postage charge and registration fee must in all cases be prepaid.

It was not until 1872 that the idea of issuing special stamps for the prepayment of the registration fee was mooted but in the Postmaster-General's Report for that year we read:—

It seems expedient to adopt some distinctive postage stamp to be used only in prepayment of the Registration charge, both to make it clear that this charge has been duly paid and accounted for in every case, and to diminish the risk which is occasionally felt at points of distribution of omitting to carry on the Registration in cases where the ordinary Registration postmark is not as distinct and calculated to arrest attention as it should be.

It has always been the policy of the Canadian Post Office to admit letters to Registration at a low rate of charge for the additional security thus given, so as to leave no adequate motive, on the score of cost, for sending valuable letters through the mails unregistered, and, doubtless, the very large proportion of such letters offered for registration demonstrates a gratifying measure of success in attaining the desired object.

In spite of this recommendation it was not until three years later that special stamps for Registration purposes made their appearance. They were finally placed on sale on November 15th, 1875, and were referred to by the Postmaster-General in his Report for that year as follows:—

Registration stamps have been issued, to be used by the public in prepaying the registration charges on [Pg 76]letters passing within the Dominion, or to the United Kingdom or United States, each destination being distinguished by a different color in the stamp, as well as by a variation in the amount of registration charge and corresponding value of the stamp.

There is a red stamp of the value of two cents for the prepayment of the registration charges on letters within the Dominion.

There is a green stamp of five cents value for registered letters addressed to the United States.

There is a blue stamp of eight cents value for registered letters addressed to the United Kingdom.

These stamps are to apply exclusively to the registration charges and the postage rates on registered letters are to be prepaid by the ordinary postage stamps.

It is believed that the use of these distinctive stamps for the registration charges will tend to give registered letters additional security against the risk which is sometimes felt of the registration escaping observation, when such letters are dealt with hurriedly or handled at night, whilst passing through the post.


These registration stamps were not only of distinctive design but also of distinctive shape so that they were readily recognised from ordinary postage stamps. They are long, narrow labels and the design is the same for each. On an engine-turned background the word “REGISTERED” in large uncolored Roman capitals is curved prominently across the centre. Below is “LETTER STAMP”, also curved but in smaller letters, while above is “CANADA” on a straight label in still smaller lettering. At each end are tables containing the value in words reading up at the left and down at the right, and in the upper corners are large uncolored numerals plainly denoting the value. Like all other Canadian stamps they were printed from line-engraved plates on unwatermarked paper. They were at first printed in sheets of fifty in ten horizontal rows of five stamps each. Mr. Howes describes the marginal details as follows:—

The imprint was the same as the second type employed for the small “cents” issue—“British American Bank Note Co. Montreal” in a pearled frame—and likewise appeared four times on the sheet, as already fully described in the chapter dealing with that issue. The denomination of the stamp was also expressed as TWO CENTS, in the shaded Roman capitals which we found in the case of the postage stamps, over the first stamp in the top row of that value, but with the 5 cent the word FIVE alone appears. The 8 cent we have not seen. On the 2 cent there is also a large numeral 2, 7½ mm. high, over the last stamp in the top row (number 5) but the 5 cent has none.

The stamps were ordinarily perforated 12, like the then current postage stamps, but the 2c in orange and the 5c in dark green are both known entirely imperforate.

The Postmaster-General's Report for 1877 stated that “the registration charge on registered letters between the United Kingdom and Canada has been reduced from 8 cents to 5 cents”. This, naturally, largely reduced the demand for the 8 cents stamp though it is probable that the 8c rate still applied to foreign countries. Shortly afterwards (the exact date has not been traced) the registration fee on letters to all foreign countries was reduced to 5 cents so that the use of the 8c denomination was entirely abolished. The stamps in the hands of postmasters were called in and destroyed and by examining the official figures relating to the numbers originally issued and those destroyed Mr. Howes estimates that about 40,000 of these 8c registration stamps were used.

In 1889 a general revision of postal rates took place, as already explained in Chapter X, and one of these changes affected the registration fee. The domestic fee was raised from 2c to 5c so that the registration charge was uniform and was 5c on letters sent anywhere. This, of course, did away with the usefulness of the 2c registration stamps but, as indicated in the official circular, “for the present, and until further instructed, the registration fee maybe prepaid by using the 2 cent Registration stamps and postage stamps to make up the amount.”[Pg 77]

The Postmaster-General's Report for 1889, in referring to the advance in the registration charge, says:—

The charge for the registration of a letter, parcel, book or other articles of mail matter was also made uniform, and fixed at 5 cents for all classes of matter. The frequent delay consequent upon the prepayment of a wrong registration fee will no longer take place.

The removal of the printing establishment of the British American Bank Note Company from Montreal to Ottawa resulted in some marked changes in the shades of the then current postage stamps as we have already shown in a previous chapter. The registration stamps were also affected in some degree the 2 cents value, in particular, appearing in a number of new and brighter tints. The 5c appeared in blue-green—a distinct contrast from the green and yellow-green shades previously current.

In 1892 some of the postage stamps, it will be remembered, appeared in sheets of 200 instead of 100 as formerly. About the same period new plates were made for the 5c registration stamp, these containing one hundred impressions in ten rows of ten, instead of fifty as before.

On August 1st, 1893, a regular postage stamp of the denomination of 8c was issued for the purpose of paying the postage and registration charge and the appearance of this sounded the death knell of the special registration stamps. The supplies in the hands of postmasters were used up and when exhausted no more were printed.

Much has been written regarding the 2c registration stamp printed in brown. These were originally found at the Miscou Light House Post Office in New Brunswick and though the stamps were in an unmistakably dark brown shade it has since been satisfactorily proved that the change was quite accidental and that immersion in peroxide would restore them to their original color. Although the Postmaster of the above named office is said to have stated that the stamps were in brown when he received them there is little doubt he must have been mistaken. Much the same thing happened in connection with the current six cents United States stamps at an office on the Pacific Coast (San Pedro). Some of these stamps were found in a distinct brown shade almost exactly matching that of the 4c value and though some local collectors had dreams of a rare error of color it was easily proved that they were simply oxidised.

Reference List.

1875-89. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Montreal or Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 104. 2c  vermilion, Scott's Nos. 151 or 152.
  • 105. 5c  green, Scott's No. 153.
  • 106. 8c  blue, Scott's No. 154.

Chapter XXX.


The Postage Due Stamps.

Like most other countries Canada managed to collect the postage due on insufficiently prepaid mail matter for many years without the use of special stamps for the purpose. About 1906 it dawned on the Post Office Department that the use of special stamps would simplify matters and place the collection of monies due on a more systematic basis. Consequently a circular was issued to postmasters, under date of June 1st, 1906, advising them that postage due stamps would be issued and must, for the future, be used in collecting insufficient postage. The salient points from this circular are given by Mr. Howes as follows:—

Commencing on the 1st July, 1906, the present system of collecting unpaid postage will be discontinued and thereafter the following arrangements will supersede the regulations now in force:—

  1. The Department will issue a special stamp which will be known as the “POSTAGE DUE” stamp and on delivery of any article of mail matter on which unpaid or additional postage is to be collected the Postmaster will affix and cancel as ordinary stamps are cancelled, postage due stamps to the amount of the extra postage charged on such article.

  2. The short paid postage must be collected from the addressee before postage due stamps are affixed; otherwise the Postmaster is liable to lose the amount of such postage.

  3. Postmasters will obtain postage due stamps on requisition to the Department but the initial supply will be furnished without requisition, so that the new system may go into [Pg 78]operation on the date above mentioned. When a new form is ordered “postage due” stamps will be included in the printed list, but it is proposed to use the stock on hand at present which would otherwise have to be destroyed. The denominations of the new stamps will be 1, 2 and 5 cents.

In his Report for 1906 the Postmaster-General refers to the new innovation as follows:—

A system of accounting for short paid postage collected by Postmasters, by means of special stamps known as “Postage Due” stamps, has been adopted by the Department. These stamps are to be affixed to shortpaid mail matter and cancelled by Postmasters when such matter is delivered to the addressee, and are not to be used for any other purpose. They cannot be used for the payment of ordinary postage, nor are they to be sold to the public.


These stamps are of special design and though of the same size as the regular postage stamps the design is printed the longer way so that in general appearance they are greatly different. The design has, as its centerpiece, a large uncolored numeral on an eight-sided tablet. Above is CANADA and below is the word CENT while at the sides are elaborate scroll ornaments. Across the base the words POSTAGE DUE are shown in bold uncolored capitals while the balance of the design consists of an engine-turned groundwork.

They are printed from line-engraved plates in sheets of one hundred, as usual. In the centre of the top margin is the imprint, “OTTAWA”, followed by the plate number. Mr. Howes states that plate 1 is known for all three values and plate 2 for the 2 cent only.

Reference List.

1906. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.

  • 107. 1c dull violet. Scott's No. 126.
  • 108. 2c dull violet. Scott's No. 127.
  • 109. 5c dull violet. Scott's No. 128.

Chapter XXXI.


The “Officially Sealed” Labels.

Although “officially sealed” labels cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered as postage stamps or, indeed, of having any philatelic significance yet they are collected by many, in common with adhesive registered labels, as having an interest owing to the fact that they are visible evidence of one phase of the working of the post office. The “officially sealed” labels used by the Canadian Post Office seem to have been first recorded in the latter part of 1879. The first type consists of a rectangular label, measuring about 25½ by 38 mm. on which the words “OFFICIALLY SEALED” are shown straight across the centre. Above this, in a curve, is the inscription “POST OFFICE CANADA”, while below, in a similar curve, is “DEAD LETTER OFFICE”. The border consists of a handsome piece of engine-turned engraving. These labels were normally perforated 12 but they are also known entirely imperforate. Much misconception existed as to the use of these labels until Major E. B. Evans, when visiting Canada in 1889, took the opportunity of finding out exactly for what they were used. The results of his investigations were published in the Philatelic Record for November, 1889, and as the article is full of interest we need make no apology for reproducing it in extenso:

When I was in Canada last July I made special enquiries about these labels, as there appeared to be some mystery about their use. Everyone agreed that they were not placed upon all letters opened at the Dead Letter Office and returned to their senders, and no two persons seemed to have quite the same theory as to the rules for their employment or non-employment in any particular case. Even gentlemen connected with the Post Office at Halifax, such as Mr. King and others, could give me no definite information. I therefore determined to see what I could do at headquarters in Ottawa.

Fortunately, I was able, through a collector in an official position, to obtain an introduction to the Deputy Postmaster-General, who most kindly gave me the following particulars, which show that the employment of the officially sealed labels is very restricted, thus accounting for their rarity.

[Pg 79] Letters in Canada, as in the United States, very frequently have on the outside the well-known notice containing the address of the sender, and a request that the letter may be returned if not delivered within a certain time. These, of course, are not opened at the Dead Letter Office, and in fact, I think, are ordered not to be sent there, but are returned direct from the office to which they were originally addressed or from the head office of the district. On the other hand, those that have no indication of the address of the sender on the outside are sent to the Dead Letter Office, and there necessarily opened; but neither of these classes thus properly dealt with is considered to require the officially-sealed label. It is only if one of the former class, having the sender's name and address on the outside, is sent to the Dead Letter Office and there opened in error that the officially-sealed label is applied, to show that such letter has been opened officially, and not by any unauthorized person. Whether these pieces of gummed paper ever had a more extended use or not I cannot say, but I was assured that the above was the substance of the regulations as to their employment.

The Deputy Postmaster-General further stated that there had been so many requests for specimens of these labels that the Department had been obliged to make it a rule to turn a deaf ear to all of them. In any case they are not postage stamps, properly speaking, at all. They indicate neither postage paid nor postage due, but simply that the letters to which they are attached have been opened by proper authority, and they at the same time afford a means of reclosing them.

About 1905 a label of new design was introduced, this, of course, being the work of the American Bank Note Company. These are larger than their predecessors and are very handsome labels. In the centre is an excellent portrait of Queen Victoria, adapted from the “Law Stamps” of 1897, with “CANADA” in heavy uncolored Roman capitals curved above, and, at the top, the words “OFFICIALLY SEALED” in letters so graded that the tops form a straight line, while the bottoms follow the curve of “CANADA”. Under the portrait the words “DEAD LETTER” are shown on a straight label which extends right across the stamp, while below this is the word “OFFICE” on a curved tablet. The spaces at the sides and the bottom are filled with elaborate foliate ornaments and engine-turned work. These labels are also perforated 12 and exist on two kinds of paper. Until about 1907 the paper was of a pale blue color while subsequent printings have been on ordinary white paper.

Reference List.

1879. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co.

(No value) deep brown.

1905-7. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co.

(No value) black on blue paper.
(No value) black on white paper.

The End.



20th Century
English Colonials
United States


New Issues


King Edward Heads
King George Heads
New Issues
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Box 1462,    PROVIDENCE, R. I.


212 Broadway, New York, N. Y.

Entrance Fulton Street

Member A. P. S., Dresden Philatelic Society, Berlin and Vienna Dealers' Association, offers his superb stock of medium and rare stamps of all countries. Moderate Prices—Fine copies only.


British, British Colonials
Used and Unused
19th and 20th Century

Approval selections sent to responsible collectors


CANAL ZONE—A specialized study of these stamps by Wm. Evans. M. D. Illus. Pr. 20c.
DEALER AND HIS STOCK—By Bill Bloss. A useful book for any stamp dealer. Pr. 10c.
OAXACA—By Roderick Enfield. Handsomely illustrated and printed. Price 10c.
RANGE TALES—By E. B. Hill. Seventeen complete sketches of Arizona life into which philately is woven by the hand of an artist. Illus. Price 15c. A work of art.
3 CENT GREEN 1870-87—By H. L. Wiley. A very fine study. Profusely illus. Pr. 12c.
STAMPS OF OLD GERMAN STATES—By Poole, freely illustrated. Price 35c.
GERMANY AND ITS COLONIES—By Poole. Freely illus. 70 pps. Price 25c.
U. S. PARCEL POST, STAMP BOOKLETS and POSTAL SAVING STAMPS—Three books in one by H. L. Wiley. Price 25c.
U. S. STAMPED ENVELOPES—By Louis G. Barrett and J. M. Bartels. 1853-1913 fully illustrated. 22 cuts. Price 10c.
THE STAMPS OF COOK ISLANDS—By Poole. The only handbook published on these stamps. Illustrated. Price 15c.
STAMP COLLECTORS' GUIDE—By Poole. Absolutely necessary to every collector. Every chapter full of merit. Price 25c.
HOW TO DEAL IN STAMPS—A three part book by Grant, Wylie and Smith, all experienced at the business. Price 10c.
SPECIALIZED STUDY OF U. S. STAMPS—By F. E. Goodwin. All adhesives fully covered. A book of great merit. Price 50c.
GAMBIA—By Dalwick. Illus. Price 10c.
HAWAII—A fine book by Luff, Howes and Richards. Two colors and illus. Price 10c.
EGYPT—By Dalwick. Illus. Price 12c.
U. S. DEPT. STAMPS—By Goodwin. All U. S. collectors need it. Price 10c.
U. S. GRILLS 1867 to 1872—By W. L. Stevenson. Illus. Blank pages for notes. Pr. 10c.
VIRGIN IDS.—By Dalwick. Price 10c.

B. N. A.

This is my specialty, and I can supply good, clean copies of most varieties at reasonable prices. I have also other British Colonials and many nice foreign. Give me good reference and I will be pleased to send you a selection on approval.


Roy Building



Unused. Used Unused. Used
1852, 3py $4.50 $ .38 1897, Jubilee ½c .25 .25
6py fair .. 4.50 6c .60 .60
1857, ½py fair 6.50 2.50 8c .30 .18
½py perf. .. 4.50 10c .35 .20
1859, 1c .60 .12 15c .35 .35
5c .50 .05 20c .45 .40
10c shades 3.75 .60 50c .75 .30
1859-64, 2c fair .. .65 Set ½-50c 3.00 2.40
12½c 2.50 .50 Complete Set 17.50 12.00
12½c No. 19a 2.50 .60 1897, 6c .18 .10
1868, ½c .25 .20 8c .18 .05
1c .90 .30 10c .28 .22
2c 1.25 .25 1898, 6c .25 .20
3c 1.10 .08 8c shades .22 .15
6c shades 3.00 .38 10c .22 .06
12½c shades 2.00 .40 7c No. 8 .15 .07
15c .60 .25 20c No. 87 .60 .15
15c No. 27a 3.00 .35 Map-shades .05 .02
1869, 1c 2.00 .50 1903-08 2c No. 90a .05 .04
1c No. 31a 2.75 .65 20c .30 .04
1869-72, 1c orange 1.75 .15 50c .75 .15
1872-73, 6c .70 .05 Complete Set 1.40 .28
10c shades 2.00 .40 Set Quebec 1.10 .90
1875, 5c 2.00 .85 Set King Geo. 1.25 .20
15c .60 .18 Set dues .15 .03
1882-90, 3c No. 42a .60 .06 Special Del. .18 .06
6c .50 .07 40 var. Postage only .60
10c shades 1.00 .18 50 var. Postage only 1.00
1892-93, 20c .40 .08
50c .80 .10 60 var. Postage only 1.50
8c shades .75 .04 10 var. War Tax .30

A complete line of Canada Revenues in stock. If you collect these interesting stamps write us for a selection.

All the cheaper varieties in stock at low prices. Send for complete list.


Unused. Used Unused. Used
1857, 1py $1.35 $3.00 1887, ½c to 10c 1.85 .90
5py 1.75 4.00 1890-95, 5c .18 .13
5py No. 5a 3.50 4.50 6c .30 .32
1866, 2c .75 .65 Re-Issue Set 1.60 1.50
5c fair 5.50 3.50 Jubilee Set 3.75 3.25
10c 2.15 1.25 1 on 3c No. 75 .55 .50
12c .60 .55
13c 1.00 .85 1897, 1c rose .04 .04
24c .70 .65 2c orange .08 .07
1867-73 1c No. 30 1.25 1.00
1c No. 30a 1.50 1.25 1898, set .20 .10
3c No. 31 2.60 1.75
3c No. 32 2.00 .50 1901, 4c .07 .06
6c .15 .15 Guy 4c .11 .07
1876, 1c 1.75 1.25 Guy 10c .60 .50
2c 1.00 .70 Eng. 6c .40 .30
3c 1.75 .50 Eng. 8c .80 .60
5c 1.25 .35 Eng. 10c .80 .65
1880, 1c shades .20 .13 Eng. 15c .70 .60
2c .35 .25
5c 1.00 .20 1911 Coronation complete 3.00 2.00
Other varieties in stock. Ask for our B. N. A. list—It's free on request.

Terms:—Cash with order only. 10% discount on orders over $5.00. Postage extra on orders under $1.00. Registration 5c extra. Stamps returnable where condition is unsatisfactory.


Our books are arranged in five different grades, which will suit all classes of collectors from the Beginner to the Specialist. All sorts of stamps; all kinds of prices; but only one result to you—SATISFACTION. Ask for circular describing our Selections or send commercial reference for a trial selection.


The House of Stamp Bargains



¶  Special attention is paid to the Approval Department of my business, which is under my personal supervision.

¶  The most satisfactory manner in which to purchase stamps is from approval books when the collector has the opportunity of inspecting the specimens at his leisure. My stamps are all arranged in books by countries, mounted and arranged according to the latest edition of Scott's catalogue. Above each stamp the catalogue number and price is plainly shown and below my net selling price is marked.

¶  These books contain unused and used stamps, several copies of the same variety being included wherever possible so that the collector has ample choice. All minor varieties of shades, watermarks, perforation, etc., are included as well as occasional pairs and blocks of four. Prices are most reasonable and average about half catalogue. As most of these books are of considerable value they can only be sent to collectors well known to me or to those supplying first class references.


¶  A cordial invitation is extended to all advanced collectors and specialists to acquaint me of their special countries. I continually have rare and out-of-the-way items in stock and shall be glad to send particulars of these to interested clients.


312 Washington Building,LOS ANGELES, CAL.






Hellenica World - Scientific Library