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Title: Canada: Its Postage Stamps and Postal Stationery

Author: Clifton Armstrong Howes

Release Date: September 17, 2011 [eBook #37457]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Simon Gardner, Adrian Mastronardi,
The Philatelic Digital Library Project
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Transcriber's Notes

Footnotes are numbered sequentially throughout the book and presented after each chapter.

Changes to the text have been limited to correction of typographical errors which have been listed at the end of the book.

The extensive block quotations within this book feature rows of closely spaced asterisks (* * * * *) which function as an ellipsis (unquoted or missing material). This is distinct from the "thought break", indicating a change of subject, which appears as a horizontal line.





CLIFTON A. HOWES, B. Sc., F. R. P. S. L.




Plate XV (Frontispiece) [Key to Plate XV.]

[Pg 1]



CLIFTON A. HOWES, B. Sc., F. R. P. S. L.




[Pg 2]

Copyright 1911
By the New England Stamp Co.
Boston, Mass.

Press of
Salem, Mass.

[Pg 3]


Key to Plates4
ChapterI.Preliminary Matters18
"II.The Issue of 185128
"III.The Remaining Pence Issues46
"IV.The Perforated Pence Issues68
"V.The Cancellations of the Early Issues77
"VI.The Issue of 185982
"VII.The Dominion of Canada—Preliminary94
"VIII.The Issue of 1868106
"IX.The Small "Cents" Issue, 1870-1882122
"X.The Supplementary Values of 1893138
"XI.The Jubilee Issue of 1897145
"XII.The "Maple Leaf" Issue of 1897161
"XIII.The "Numerals" Issue of 1898-1902167
"XIV.The "Christmas" Stamp of 1898179
"XV.The "King's Head" Issue of 1903-1908188
"XVI.The "Tercentenary" Issue of 1908199
"XVII.The "Registration" Stamps205
"XVIII.The Postage Due Stamps215
"XIX.The Special Delivery Stamp217
"XX.The Officially Sealed Labels221
"XXI.The Stamped Envelopes224
"XXII.The Wrappers243
"XXIII.The Post Cards249
"XXIV.The Letter Cards263
"XXV.Official Stationery267
"XXVI.Precancellation and Permits272
Reference List277

[Pg 4]


Plate I.

Plate II.

Plate III.

Plate IV.

Plate V.

Plate VI.

Plate VII.

Plate VIII.

Plate IX.

The above blocks were selected from the Pack and Worthington collections and some in the possession of the New England Stamp Co.

[Pg 7]

Plate X.

The above blocks of imperforates were from the same sources as noted for Plate IX.

Plate XI.

The above are all from the Worthington collection.

Plate XII.

Nos. 123 and 127 are from the Worthington collection and the other three from the Pack collection.

Plate XIII.

Plate XIV.

Both the above were in the Seybold collection.

Plate XV. (Frontispiece).

A page of six pennies from the collection of Charles Lathrop Pack.

[Pg 9]


Twenty years ago the Philatelic Society, London, brought out their work on "The Postage Stamps, Envelopes, Wrappers and Post Cards of the North American Colonies of Great Britain." This, of course, included Canada, but since that time no special work, treating exhaustively of the postal emissions of this important Colony, has been placed before the philatelic public. It seems opportune, therefore, particularly in view of the general popularity of the stamps of the Dominion, to present this volume for the favor of the stamp collecting fraternity and especially of that considerable portion which is interested to the extent of specializing in the beautiful issues that Canada has given us.

This work had its inception in the now popular handbook idea, but in looking over the ground it was soon realized by the author that there was need of and material enough for a much more extended treatment of the subject than could be encompassed in the limits of the usual brochure. Plans were therefore laid for a thorough study of all available material, and in furtherance of this it was found necessary to make a special trip to Ottawa, where, in the library of the House of Commons, is to be found the only complete set available of the Reports of the Postmasters General of Canada. These naturally proved a mine of first hand information which was availed of to its full extent; and in this connection must be expressed the deep appreciation of the assistance rendered the author by his friend M. Henri R. Landry, through whose influence and untiring interest the way was made easy for convenient and rapid examination of these invaluable files. Thanks are also due Mr. Edward Y. Parker of Toronto, for notes and specimens furnished, as well as Mr. A. McKechnie of Ottawa.

But documents and descriptions are not enough for the thorough study of any subject which concerns tangible objects, and three famous collections were inspected for first hand information upon the stamps themselves. To Mr. Charles Lathrop Pack of Lakewood, N. J., Mr. George H. Worthington of Cleveland, Ohio, and the lamented Mr. John F. Seybold, late of Syracuse, N. Y., are due not only the author's fullest thanks for opportunities freely given to examine their magnificent collections of Canada, but the debt extends to philatelists in general for thus being enabled to share, through study, description, listing and pictorial reproduction, in the results of their specializing. Mr. Pack's wonderful array of rarities, beautiful copies and[Pg 10] remarkable series of shades has been largely used in the compilation of the stamp lists. This collection though since much enlarged and improved, obtained the gold medal at the International Philatelic Exhibition in London, 1906. Mr. Worthington's fine collection has also been used in the same way and has furnished much information concerning plate numbers and marginal imprints. Mr. Seybold's covers were particularly interesting in showing the actual use of the stamps, the cancellations employed, and various other features to be gleaned from the study of original covers, particularly of early date. Selections for illustrative purposes were made from all three collections, as will be noted.

Mr. John N. Morse and Mr. Edwin F. Sawyer, both of Boston, have very kindly placed their collections of post cards and envelopes, respectively, at our disposal for purposes of study.

Again, the philatelic press has been diligently searched for articles, stray notes, etc., which would illumine the pathway, particularly by throwing side lights on various phases of the subject. Prominent among these were the articles on Canada by Messrs. C. B. Corwin, D. A. King and J. R. Hooper in the Metropolitan Philatelist for 1890-91, and by Mr. Donald A. King in Stanley Gibbons' Monthly Journal for 1896-97.

It can readily be seen from the foregoing that the limits of a handbook were soon passed, and the question really became one of a pretentious volume which should be all that thorough research could offer and ample means produce. A glance at the present work shows that this was no small proposition, and to any one with experience in philatelic publishing it was apparent that the desired production would mean a heavy balance on the wrong side of the ledger. The author does not pose as a philanthropist, but he feels he has discovered such in the publishers of this volume. With the broad-minded policy that whatever helps Philately benefits all, even indirectly, the New England Stamp Company of Boston, having become greatly interested in the monograph, accepted the burden and became responsible for the publication of the work. The advantages of the co-operation of such a well-known firm are manifest, and the author takes great pleasure in acknowledging his indebtedness to this Company, through whose munificence it has been possible to produce this volume in its present form.

C. A. HOWES, B. Sc., F. R. P. S. L.

Boston, U. S. A.
December, 1910.

[Pg 11]


The Dominion of Canada, as we know it to-day, is a confederation of the former British Colonies and unorganized territories of North America which lie to the northward of the United States. The single exception is the Colony of Newfoundland, which so far has resisted all overtures looking to its absorption. The Dominion was formed in 1867 by the union of the then Colonies of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to which the others were added subsequently. At that time the Colony of Canada consisted of two provinces, Ontario and Quebec, known also as Upper and Lower Canada respectively. It is with these two provinces that our philatelic story of Canada begins.

But first let us delve a bit into earlier times and trace the development of the territory we are going to consider, as it may prove interesting for its historical value. Passing by the claims of the Norsemen in the tenth century to a somewhat vague exploration of the eastern American coast, we come to the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot in 1497, and it is upon this fact, in part, that England subsequently based her claim to the whole of North America. But for the most part the territory included within the well populated portion of the present Dominion was explored and settled by the French. In 1534 Jacques Cartier entered the St. Lawrence River and took possession of the country in the name of France, and in 1608 the first permanent settlement was made at Quebec by Samuel de Champlain. The name of the colony was apparently furnished by the Indians, for in the manuscript narrative of Cartier's second voyage,[1] under "Vocabulary of the natives," is found: "They call a town—Canada." Baxter says: "There can be no doubt that the word Canada is derived from Kannata, which in Iroquois signifies a collection of dwellings, in other words a settlement."[2] French control continued until the middle of the eighteenth century when, in the war with England, the decisive victory of Wolfe over Montcalm at Quebec, in 1759, practically brought it to a close, and by the treaty of Paris in 1763 Canada was permanently ceded to Great Britain.

[Pg 12]Tracing the development of the Colony under English rule, we find that by the so-called "Quebec Act" of 1774 it was placed under the administration of a Governor and Legislative Council appointed by the Crown. Following the American Revolution, however, there was a large immigration of former colonists into Ontario, and because of their English stock, while Quebec was French, a separation was deemed advisable. By the "Constitutional Act" of 1791 this was effected and two Colonies, Upper Canada (or Canada West) and Lower Canada (or Canada East) were constituted, each with its own separate government. Just fifty years later, in 1841, they were reunited under the single name of Canada. This brings us near the opening of our philatelic history. The united provinces had an area of about 350,000 square miles and a population, in 1850, of some 1,800,000 people. The Governor was appointed by the Crown and chose his own Executive Council; a Legislative Council of life members was also appointed by the Crown; and a Legislative Assembly was elected consisting of an equal number of representatives for each province. The Governor was made Governor-General of British North America.

The advantages of the union of Upper and Lower Canada gradually became so manifest, that a convention was held at Quebec in 1864 for the purpose of considering the advisability of uniting all the provinces. The result bore fruit in the passage of an Act of Union by the British Parliament on March 29, 1867, under which Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were formally united as the Dominion of Canada, the actual event being consummated on July 1, 1867. Subsequently, on July 20, 1871, the Colony of British Columbia, and on July 1, 1873, the Colony of Prince Edward Island, were added to the Dominion. In 1869 the vast territories of the Hudson's Bay Company were acquired by purchase, and out of them the province of Manitoba was formed and admitted to full privileges in the Dominion on July 15, 1870.

The absorption of the Company's Territories is interesting for, as we all know, this was a trading concern whose sole commodity was fur. The Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the continent were the mecca of hunters and trappers, and their chief prey from the time the first French explorers began to search the Canadian lakes, and later when the Hudson's Bay Company succeeded to the French domain, was the beaver. In fact the early history of Canada was largely bound up with beaver catching and the sale of the skins, and for nearly a century the northern territories, both under French[Pg 13] and English rule, were organized with a view to this traffic. In the early days of the Company the "standard of trade" of the Northwest was a beaver skin. Thus the beaver naturally became emblematic, which resulted later in its use as the "crest" of the Canadian coat-of-arms, a place that it retains to the present day over those of the Dominion. In this connection it would be unjust to omit a mention of that other symbol dear to the Canadian heart—the maple leaf. Like the rose, the thistle and the shamrock of the Mother land, the beautiful tree of the Colony, so widespread, so useful, and so gorgeous in its autumn coloring of red and gold—the blazon of the English arms—became a favorite emblem of the people. The particular variety that is so used is of course the rock or sugar maple (acer saccharinum).

Turning now to early postal history, it is necessary to go back to the reign of Queen Anne, although Canada was not then under British dominion. In the year 1710 an Act was passed by the British Parliament "For establishing a General Post-Office in all Her Majesty's Dominions," which not only repealed all previous enactments but placed the postoffice establishment on a new basis. A "General Post and Letter-Office" was established in London "from whence all letters and packets whatsoever may be with speed and expedition sent into any part of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to North America and the West Indies, or any other of Her Majesty's dominions, or any country or kingdom beyond the seas," and "at which office all returns and answers may be likewise received." For the better "managing, ordering, collecting, and improving the revenue," and also for the better "computing and settling the rates of letters according to distance, a chief office is established in Edinburgh, one in Dublin, one at New York, and other chief offices in convenient places in Her Majesty's colonies of America, and one in the islands of the West Indies, called the Leeward Islands." "The whole of these chief offices shall be under the control of an officer who shall be appointed by the Queen's Majesty, her heirs and successors, to be made and constituted by letters patent under the Great Seal, by the name and stile of Her Majesty's Postmaster-General." "The Postmaster-General shall appoint deputies for the chief offices in the places named above." The rates to New York under this Act were fixed at 1 shilling per single letter. Other rates were charged to other parts of the American continent according to the distance from New York.

In 1753 Benjamin Franklin received the royal commission as Deputy Postmaster-General for the American Colonies. No man in America had[Pg 14] been so identified with the interests of the Colonial postoffice as he, and from 1737 he had been postmaster of Philadelphia. All his energies were devoted to his new work and when Canada passed by treaty to Great Britain in 1763, as already mentioned, his jurisdiction was extended to cover the new territory. It is thus curious to record that the (afterwards) first Postmaster-General of the United States was also the first Postmaster-General of Canada.

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.

By 1774, however, Franklin, then in England as the Representative of the Colonies, had become obnoxious to the British Government, and on January 31st of that year was removed from his office. After the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Hugh Finlay, who had previously been postmaster at Quebec, received the appointment of "Deputy Postmaster-General of His Majesty's Province of Canada." He had in 1791 eleven post-offices under his management, one as far west as Mackinaw and one as far east as the Baie des Chaleurs. There was a weekly mail between Quebec and Montreal and a monthly mail for the Western country. From a Quebec almanac of 1796 it appears that there were seven post-offices in Upper Canada and five in Lower Canada. At that time mails were despatched monthly to England, and semi-weekly between Quebec and Montreal, or Halifax. At the Baie des Chaleurs the visits of the postman must 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 New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were all under the authority of the Canadian administration. The number of post-offices was increased to twenty-six.

The following is taken from the advertising column of the Upper Canada Gazette in 1807:—

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

Monday, 14th January.

Monday, 12th February.[Pg 15]

Monday, 10th 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 [So. 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

Acting Deputy-Postmaster.

Mr. Heriot resigned in 1816 and was succeeded by Mr. Daniel Sutherland who, on his accession to office found Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island withdrawn from Canadian charge. New Brunswick, however, continued to be included, but appears to have been withdrawn in 1824, so that from that year until the federation of the Provinces in 1867 the Postmaster-General was concerned only with Canada proper. Mr. Sutherland established a daily mail between Quebec and Montreal and a weekly mail between Montreal and Toronto. In 1827 there were 101 post-offices and 2,368 miles of established post-route, the number of miles of mail-travel being 455,000 per annum. The letters that year were estimated at 340,000 and the newspapers at 400,000.

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 steam-boats 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.

[Pg 16]

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 Queenstown (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, viâ Ancaster.

Mr. Thos. A. Stayner succeeded Mr. Sutherland in 1831, at which time there were 151 post-offices. Through Mr. Stayner's recommendation a uniform rate of 1s. 2d. sterling, per half ounce, was adopted in 1841 between any place in Canada and the mother country. This resulted from the establishment of regular steam communication across the Atlantic in 1840, by means of the Cunard Line between Liverpool and Halifax.

During all this period the carrying of letters was a profitable business. There was, for example, a profit of $21,000 in 1824 and of $47,000 in 1831, all which sums were duly remitted to England to swell the Imperial revenue. The rates, however, were exceedingly high. It cost eighteen cents to send a letter from Toronto to Kingston, and thirty cents to send one to Montreal. The charge for sending a weekly paper through the mails was a dollar a year, as much as the paper now costs, and the postage on a daily was over two dollars a year.[3]

The net revenues of the post-office given for 1831 must have dropped considerably, for we find that in 1845 the surplus of the Canadian Post-office was but £7184 ($35,000) against the $47,000 given above for fourteen years earlier. This amount rose to £22,188 ($110,000) in 1848, fell to £15,725 ($78,500) the next year, and had risen again to a basis of £20,000 ($100,000) in the year previous to the introduction of postage stamps and the reduction of rates. The inland postage rates then in force, as charged under the Imperial Laws, were, for a letter not exceeding ½ ounce in weight:

For any distance not exceeding 60 miles,4d.
For any distance exceeding 60 miles and not exceeding 100 miles6d.
For any distance exceeding 100 miles and not exceeding 200 miles8d.
And for every additional 100 miles or fraction an additional2d.

[Pg 17]

For one hundred and forty years Great Britain had managed her colonial posts, or at least directed them, when on 28th July, 1849, the British Parliament passed an "Act for enabling Colonial Legislatures to establish Inland Posts."[4] This was the signal for the voluntary withdrawal of most of the colonial postal systems then under Imperial direction, and for the establishment of local systems where none had previously existed. Because of its historical interest we quote from the provisions of the Act as follows:—

Whereas under or by virtue of [various Acts] Her Majesty's Post Master General has, by himself or his Deputies, the exclusive Privilege of establishing Posts, collecting, conveying, and delivering Letters, and collecting Postage, within Her Majesty's Colonies, and the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury have Authority from Time to Time to fix the Rates of Postage to be charged within such Colonies: And whereas the said Postmaster General and Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury respectively have, in exercise of such Privilege and Authority, established Posts and fixed Rates of Postage in certain of such Colonies: And whereas it is expedient to Authorize the Establishment of Posts and Postage Rates in Her Majesty's Colonies by the Legislatures of such Colonies: Be it enacted, therefore.... That it shall be lawful for the Legislatures or proper Legislative Authorities of Her Majesty's Colonies, or any of them, by Acts, Laws, or Ordinances to be from Time to Time for that Purpose made and enacted in the Manner and subject to the Conditions by Law required in respect of Acts, Laws, or Ordinances of such Legislatures or Legislative Authorities, to make such provisions as such Legislatures or Legislative Authorities may think fit for and concerning the Establishment, Maintenance, and Regulation of Posts or Post Communications within such Colonies respectively, and for charging Rates of Postage for the Conveyance of Letters by such Posts or Post Communications, and for appropriating the Revenue to be derived therefrom.

II. [Where the Postmaster General has actually established posts and his power has not "determined," such colonial acts, etc., shall not take effect until approved by Her Majesty and Privy Council, nor until such time as the assent may be proclaimed in the Colony, or such subsequent time as may be signified.]

III. [After the establishment of Posts by Colonial Legislatures the powers of the Postmaster General shall cease.]

IV. [The Acts of Colonial Legislatures are to apply only to Posts within the limits of the Colony and to rates of postage within such limits.]

Canada lost no time in taking advantage of the above Act, and in the next year (1850) passed the required ordinances for the transfer of its domestic postal system to the control of its own Government. The next chapter will therefore start the Canadian postal history proper.

[1] In the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

[2] A Memoir of Jacques Cartier, by J. P. Baxter, p. 135.

[3] Most of the foregoing information is taken from extracts from the Canadian Postal Guide, published in the Stamp Collector's Magazine for Aug. 1, 1868, and the Halifax Philatelist, II: 138.

[4] 12o & 13o Vict. Cap. LXVI.

[Pg 18]



The most important of the British North American Colonies in 1850 were Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Though not united politically, they yet had the common bonds of fatherland, of race, of mercantile interest, and the mutual dependence that comes, or should come, from propinquity under these conditions. It is not surprising, therefore, that all three should make provision for assuming control of their domestic postal systems in the same year, nor that they should adopt practically identical ordinances for this purpose, and should make common postal rates for their internal and inter-colonial mail matter. Still less surprising is it when we recall that it was but the breaking up into sections of what had previously been a homogeneous postal system for the whole of British North America, operated under the Imperial Laws as detailed in the last chapter.

While the project of turning over local postal systems to the colonies was taking shape in the British Parliament, Canada "took time by the forelock" and made preparations for obtaining its own postage stamps.

"In the Journal of May 21, 1849, there is a message to the legislative assembly of Canada relating to the establishing of a general post-office for the Province, when handed over by the Imperial government. A resolution was brought up in the assembly on May 22, 1849, 'That postage stamps for prepayment be allowed and that Colonial stamps be engraved.' This finally passed the assembly on May 25, 1849, and received the assent of the legislative council on the 26th."[5]

A year later, after the passage of the enabling act by the British Parliament, which has been already quoted, the Canadian Parliament took up the consideration of the main subject and on the 10th August, 1850, passed what is known briefly as The Post Office Act, the provisions of which that are of most interest to us being such as follow:[Pg 19]

13o & 14o Victoriae., Cap. XVII.

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.

Whereas by the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed in the Session held in the twelfth and thirteenth years of Her Majesty's Reign, and intituled, An Act for enabling Colonial Legislatures to establish Inland Posts, the Legislatures or proper legislative authorities of Her Majesty's Colonies are empowered ... to make such provisions as [they] may think fit for and concerning the establishment, maintenance, and regulation of Posts and Post Communications within such Colonies respectively, and for charging rates of postage for the conveyance of letters by such Posts and Post Communications, and for appropriating the Revenue to be derived therefrom: ... And whereas it is expedient that a uniform and cheap rate of postage should be established throughout the several Colonies of British North America, and with a view to the establishment thereof, the Local Governments of the said Colonies have agreed upon certain conditions hereinafter mentioned and forming a part of the provisions of this Act, and it is therefore expedient to exercise the powers so vested as aforesaid in the Legislature of this Province: ...

II. And be it enacted, That the Inland Posts and Post Communications in the 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 Revenue arising from the duties of postage and other dues receivable by the Officers employed in managing such Posts and Post Communications shall form part of the Provincial Revenue, unless such moneys 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....

* * * * *

V. And be it enacted, That the Provincial Post Master General shall be appointed by Commission under the Great Seal of the Province, and to hold his office during pleasure, but the Post Masters and other Officers of the Department shall be appointed and may be removed by letter from the proper Officer communicating the Governor's pleasure.

VI. [All privileges, powers and authority of Her Majesty's Deputy Post Master General are transferred to and vested in the Provincial Post Master General.]

* * * * *

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 of Newspapers or Printed Pamphlets, Magazines or Books, entitled to pass at lower rate, shall not exceed the rate of three pence currency, per half ounce, for any distance whatsoever within this Province, any fraction of a half ounce being chargeable as a half[Pg 20] 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 pre-pay it; nor on any letter or packet from any such Colony if pre-paid there: that two pence sterling the half ounce shall remain as the rate in operation as regards letters 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 three pence currency:

That the pre-payment 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 of the British North American Colonies, may be retained as belonging to such Colony:

That the British Packet Postage and other British Postage collected in this Province shall be accounted for and paid over to the proper authorities in the United Kingdom; but the Colonial Postage on the same letters or packets shall belong to the Colony collecting it, or if pre-paid to the British Post Office, it may be credited to the Colony to which such letters or packets are addressed:

That no privilege of franking shall be allowed as regards Provincial Postage:

That Provincial Stamps for the pre-payment of postage may be prepared under the orders of the Governor in Council, which stamps shall be evidence of the pre-payment of Provincial Postage to the amount mentioned on such stamp, 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 pre-payment of Provincial Postage in such other Colonies respectively, on the letters or packets to which they are affixed, and which have been mailed there:

That the Provincial Postage on Newspapers, Pamphlets, Magazines and Printed Books, shall remain such as it now is until it be altered by regulation under this Act.... Provided always, that one copy of each newspaper published in this Province may be sent free from postage to any Publisher of another Newspaper in this Province, that all printed documents addressed to the Publisher of any Newspaper in this Province shall be delivered to him free, and that all Newspapers published in this Province and addressed to Subscribers in the United States, shall pass free to the Provincial line, under such regulations as the Governor in Council shall make to prevent the abuse of the privileges hereby granted:

And, subject to the foregoing provisions of this section and to the other express provisions of this Act, the Governor in Council shall have full power and authority ... for establishing the rates of postage on Newspapers and Printed Pamphlets, Magazines and Books, and for declaring what shall be deemed such, or directing that in any case or class of cases they be free of postage, either in the first instance or the case of their being re-mailed, ... for the preparing and distributing of Provincial stamps for pre-payment, for limiting the weight and dimensions of letters or packets to be sent by Post ...[Pg 21] for prescribing the conditions and circumstances under which letters, accounts and papers relating solely to the business of the Post Office, and addressed to or sent by some officer thereof, shall be free from Provincial Postage, ... for providing, when he shall think it expedient, means for avoiding the risk of transmitting small sums of money through the Post, by establishing a system of money orders to be granted by one Post Master or officer of the Department on another, and fixing the terms on which such orders may be obtained, for establishing a system for the Registering of letters and the charge[6] be made for such registration, ... for the delivery of letters and packets in the larger and more populous Cities and Towns, at the residences of parties to whom they are addressed, and fixing the limits within which such delivery shall take place, and the rates to be paid by the parties who shall prefer to have their letters and packets so delivered, rather than apply for them at the Post Office: ... and generally to make such regulations as may be deemed necessary for the due and effective working of the Post and Postal business and arrangements, and for carrying this Act fully into effect:

IX. And be it enacted, That subject always to the provisions and regulations aforesaid, the Provincial Post Master General shall have the sole and exclusive privilege of conveying, receiving, collecting, sending and delivering letters within this Province; and that any person or party who shall (except in the cases hereinafter excepted) collect, send, convey or deliver, or undertake to convey or deliver any letter within this Province, or who shall receive or have in his possession any letter for the purpose of conveying or delivering it, otherwise than in conformity with this Act, shall for each and every letter so unlawfully conveyed or undertaken to be conveyed, received, delivered or found in his possession, incur a penalty not exceeding five pounds currency: [exceptions are letters taken by friends journeying, by special messengers, Court Commissions, etc.]

* * * * *

XI. And be it enacted, That as well the Colonial, British or Foreign as the Provincial Postage on any letter or packet shall (if not pre-paid) be payable to the Provincial Post Master General by the party to whom the same shall be addressed, or who may lawfully receive such a letter or packet, which may be detained until the same be paid: ... and if any letter or packet be refused, or if the party to whom it is addressed cannot be found, then such postage shall be recoverable by the Provincial Post Master General from the sender of such letter or packet: ... and that all postage may be recovered with costs, by civil action in any Court having jurisdiction to the amount, or in any way in which duties are recoverable.

XII. And for avoiding doubts, and preventing inconvenient delay in the delivery of letters, Be it declared and enacted, That no Post Master shall be bound to give change, but the exact amount of the postage on any letter or packet shall be tendered or paid to him in current coin or in Provincial Postage stamps.

* * * * *[Pg 22]

XIV. [Letters of Soldiers, Seamen, etc., shall be charged a certain fixed sum in place of all British or Provincial postage.]

XV. [Posted letters to be property of party addressed.]

XVI.... To forge, counterfeit or imitate any Postage Stamp issued or used under the authority of this Act, or by or under the authority of the Government or proper authority of the United Kingdom, or of any British North American Province, or of any Foreign Country, or knowingly to use any such forged, counterfeit or imitated stamp, or to engrave, cut, sink or make any plate, die or other thing whereby to forge, counterfeit or imitate such stamp or any part or portion thereof, except by the permission in writing of the Provincial Post Master General, or of some officer or person who under the regulations to be made in that behalf, may lawfully grant such permission, or to have possession of any such plate, die or other thing as aforesaid, without such permission as aforesaid, or to forge, counterfeit or unlawfully imitate, use or affix to or upon any letter or packet, any stamp, signature, initials, or other mark or sign purporting that such letter or packet ought to pass free of postage, or at a lower rate of postage, or that the postage thereon or any part thereof hath been pre-paid or ought to be paid by or charged to any person, department or party whomsoever, shall be felony, punishable by imprisonment in the Provincial Penitentiary for life.

The passage of the above Act and its approval by the Queen in Council gave opportunity for preparations to be made to carry out its provisions, the date being set for the 6th April, 1851. Three weeks previous to the appointed time the following notice was sent out to postmasters in anticipation of the transfer.


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: pre-payment 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.[Pg 23]

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

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

A Letter, weighing more than 1½ ounces, and not exceeding 2 ounces, will be liable to 1 s. Postage.

A Letter, weighing more than 2 ounces, and not exceeding 2½ ounces, will be liable to 1 s., 3 d. 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, viâ the United States, of 1s. 2d. sterling, if un-paid, and 1s. 4d. currency if pre-paid, as also the rate on Letters by those mails, viâ Halifax, of 1s. [missing value] sterling, if un-paid, and 1s. 1½ d. currency, if pre-paid, 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 pre-payment of a penny only, will 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 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 pre-paid at the time of posting.

7. [Rates and regulations for Newspapers, Pamphlets, etc., to remain as at present.]

8. [Printed matter addressed to Editors is free.]

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 residences 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 pre-payment of Postage are being prepared, and will be distributed for the use of the public at an early date.

* * * * *

16. [Letters, etc., to Deputy Post Master General to pass free.]

Deputy Post Master General.

[Pg 24]

Meanwhile, under the authority given the Governor in Council by The Post Office Act, an agreement had been drawn up between the post office Departments of Canada and the United States for the purpose of establishing and regulating the interchange of mails between the two countries. This was signed on the 25th March, 1851, and was communicated to the Canadian post-masters by the first department order, as follows:—



TORONTO, 2nd April, 1851.

Commencing on and from the 6th instant, Letters, Newspapers, &c., will pass through the Mails between Canada and the United States, including California and Oregon, at the Rates of Postage and under the Regulations herein mentioned.

1. Letters posted at any Office in Canada, addressed to any place in the United States, except California and Oregon, are to be rated with a uniform rate of six-pence, currency, per half-ounce.

2. Letters posted in any part of the United States, except California and Oregon, addressed to Canada, will be rated there with a uniform charge of ten cents, equal to six-pence, currency, per half-ounce.

3. The Postage Rate on Letters passing between Canada and California and Oregon, will be a uniform charge of nine-pence, currency, equal to fifteen cents per half-ounce.

4. It is to be understood that the above rates include the whole charge for the transmission of a Letter between any place in Canada and any place within the United States, including California and Oregon.

5. The scale for computing the charge upon Letters weighing more than ½ ounce, will be the same as that for Letters passing within the Province.

6. Pre-payment of Letters passing between Canada and any place within the United States, including California and Oregon, will, in all cases, be optional.

7. Newspapers, Pamphlets, &c., posted in Canada, addressed to the United States, including California and Oregon, are, ... to be forwarded through the Post at the same rates of charge as if addressed to a place within the Province; the said rates must, however, be pre-paid—as, if the ordinary Canada Rate is not paid at the time of posting a Newspaper or Pamphlet, &c., it cannot be forwarded to the United States.

8. United States Newspapers, Pamphlets, &c., addressed to places in Canada, will be received in the Province with the American Postage thereon pre-paid—leaving the ordinary Canada Rate of charge from the Frontier Line to the place of destination, to be ... collected by the Post Master who may deliver the same in Canada.[Pg 25]

9.-10.-11. [Copies of newspapers or printed documents sent by or to publishers or editors are free of Canadian postage.]

12. The Canada Postage Stamps, when used, will be taken in the United States as evidence of pre-payment of Postage on Letters going from Canada to the United States, and in like manner the United States Postage Stamps on Letters coming into Canada, are to be taken by Post Masters in this Province as evidence of pre-payment having been made in the United States.

13. The following are appointed to be the Offices in Canada through which the Post communication with the United States will be maintained, and to which Post Masters are to forward their Mail matter for the United States, according to the relative position of their several Offices:







QUEENSTON, { Intended in the mean time to be the Channel of Communication with the United States for the Country West of Toronto.
COBOURG, { A Communication during Summer only, by Steamer to Rochester.

By Command,

Both the Post Office Act and the above Department Order treat of the disposition of periodicals and other printed matter without giving the rates of postage required thereon. A subsequent Order gives us these rates:—


TORONTO. 17th April, 1851.

Printed Circulars, Price Currents, Handbills, Pamphlets, Periodicals, Books, and other Printed Matter transmitted by Post in Canada.

1. Upon each Printed Circular, Price Current or Handbill, and other Printed matter of a like description, when unconnected with any manuscript or written communication and of no greater weight than one ounce, there shall be charged One penny; and for each additional ounce or fraction of an ounce, One penny additional.

2. Upon each Periodical or Magazine, Pamphlet and Book, bound or unbound, there shall be charged a rate of One half-penny per ounce.

3. Pre-payment of the foregoing rates will be optional, except when the Printed matter is addressed to the United States, and in that case the charge must invariably be pre-paid.[Pg 26]

4. On such Printed matter received into Canada by Mail from the United States, the above Canada Rates will always remain to be collected on delivery in this Province.

5.[Exchange of one copy between publishers is free.]

6. [Must be unsealed; if writing is enclosed will be treated as a letter.]

7. No Book or packet of Periodicals, Magazines, &c., can be forwarded through the Post, if exceeding the weight of forty-eight ounces.

JAMES MORRIS. Post Master General.

It is of course understood that the above does not apply to newspapers, which were charged to a nominal rate of ½d. each, the term newspaper being considered to aply to periodicals issued not less often than once a week.

A supplementary order was issued, a couple of days later than the preceding, which announces a book post with England. It is a bit curious as prohibiting the use of postage stamps in prepayment of the charges, at a time when their introduction was supposed to be an improvement in the postal service.



TORONTO, 19th April, 1851.

Book Post with England.

Under the authority of Her Majesty's Government, an arrangement will take effect on the fifteenth day of May next, under which Printed Books, Magazines, Reviews, or Pamphlets, whether British, Colonial, or Foreign, may be sent through the Post, between Canada and the United Kingdom, at the Following Rates of Postage:

  Sterling Currency
For a single volume, i.e., Book, Magazine, Review, or Pamphlet,
not exceeding half lb. in weight
6d. Equal to 7½d.
For a single volume, &c., exceeding half lb. and not exceeding one lb. 1s. Equal to 1s. 3d.
For a single volume, &c., exceeding one lb. and not exceeding two lbs. 2s. Equal to 2s. 6d.
For a single volume, &c., exceeding two lbs. and not exceeding three lbs. 3s. Equal to 3s. 9d.

The above charge must always be pre-paid, on printed Books, &c., &c., sent to the United Kingdom under this Regulation, at the time of posting in Canada; and the pre-payment must be made in money, and cannot be taken in Canada Postage Stamps.

Postmasters, as with pre-paid Letters for England must rate the Books, &c., posted under this Regulation, in red ink, with both the sterling rate and its equivalent in currency, ...—thus, a Book, &c., weighing 3½ pounds, will be rated:—

"Paid 4s. sterling—equal to 5s. currency."

* * * * *

JAMES MORRIS, Post Master General.

[Pg 27]

The Department Circular No. 5, published from Toronto on 20th June, 1851, contains but one paragraph of interest to us.

Post Masters are informed that the transfer of the Post Office in the Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Provincial control, will take place on the 6th July next, and that from that date the uniform rate of 3d. per ½ ounce will form the sole charge on a Letter transmitted between any place in Canada and any place in New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia. Pre-payment will be optional.

On the 30th August, 1851, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act to Amend the Post Office Act. The only section of any particular interest to us is the following:—

14o & 15o Vict. Cap. LXXI.

* * * * *

XV. And be it enacted, That the Post Master General shall be authorized, whenever the same may be proper for the accommodation of the public in any city, to employ Letter Carriers for the delivery of letters received at the Post Office in such city, excepting such as the persons to whom they are addressed may have requested, in writing addressed to the Postmaster, to be retained in the Post Office, and for the receipt of letters at such places in the said city as the Postmaster General may direct, and for the deposit of the same in the Post Office; and for the delivery by Carrier of each letter received from the Post Office, the person to whom the same is delivered shall pay not exceeding One Penny, and for the delivery of each newspaper and pamphlet One Halfpenny, and for every letter received by a Carrier to be deposited in the Post Office, there shall be paid to him, at the time of the receipt, not exceeding One Half-penny:—all of which receipts, by the Carriers in any city, shall, if the Postmaster General so direct, be accounted for to the Postmaster of the said city, to constitute a fund for the compensation of the said Carriers, and to be paid to them in such proportions and manner as the Postmaster General may direct.

But in the meantime the postage stamps, which will now be our main study, were issued to the public, and we will therefore turn back to the period of their birth and trace their history, together with the development of the post that accompanies it, through the nearly sixty years that have since elapsed.

[5] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 253.

[6] sic.

[Pg 28]



According to all good catalogues, the date of the first issue of stamps for Canada is the year 1851. If we find some more precise statement put forth in a special article on the subject, the date is apt to be given as the 6th April, 1851. If we go back into the dusty archives of the Canadian Post Office Department, we find the circular announcing the forthcoming stamps is dated a fortnight later than the hitherto supposed correct date for their issue. We reproduce it here in its entirety:—


TORONTO, 21st April, 1851.

Stamps for the pre-payment of Postage on Letters.

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 Post Master receiving Stamps from this Department will, by the next mail, acknowledge the receipt of the amount. At the expiration of each Quarter, and with his Quarterly Postage Accounts, he will render an account of Stamps on a form which will be hereafter supplied, charging himself therein with any amount which remained on hand at the close of the preceding Quarter, and with the amounts received during the Quarter just ended, and crediting himself with the amount then remaining on hand. The balance of the account so stated, representing the amount of Stamps he has sold or disposed of, the Post Master will add to the balance due on his Return for the same Quarter of Postages.

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 pre-paid 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[Pg 29] 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.

Letters and Packets pre-paid by Stamps must be entered in the Letter-Bill separately from other pre-paid Letters,—and in like manner in the Monthly Sheets.

J. MORRIS, Post Master General.

From the above it is plainly evident that the new stamps were not placed in use on April 6th, the day of the transfer of the Post Office to Provincial control, as is usually stated. Furthermore, as this order announcing them states that the stamps are "about to be issued," it is evident that they did not appear concurrently with the order, which is dated April 21st.[7] As a matter of fact the first supply of the 3 pence stamps was only received by the Department from the manufacturers on April 5th, the day before the transfer, and the second supply on April 20th, the day before the above circular was issued; while the 6 pence and 12 pence stamps did not arrive until May 2nd and May 4th, respectively.[8] In a letter to Mr. Donald A. King,[9] dated 2d March, 1904, from Mr. William Smith, Secretary of the Department at Ottawa, the latter states "that postage stamps were issued to the public for the first time on 23rd April, 1851." This agrees with the other known facts, and can doubtless be taken as the correct date for the 3d. stamp. The 6d. stamp we have no further details for, but it was doubtless in use by the middle of May. For the 12d. stamp we have, fortunately, all the details, as will appear subsequently, and can give the exact date of issue as June 14, 1851.

At the time of the transfer, the Postmaster General issued a lengthy set of Regulations and Instructions for the Government of the Post Office Department in Canada, and it is perhaps best to reproduce here such sections as may prove of interest in connection with the use of the stamps, various rates of postage, etc., etc.

* * * * *

20. Letters posted to be sent by Mail are to be carefully postmarked on the face or address side, with the name of the Post Office,[Pg 30] the month and the day of the month in which they are posted, and, except when they are Prepaid by Postage stamps, with the Rate of Postage in plain figures. In performing these operations great care must be used to avoid interference with the address.

* * * * *

22. If the Postage is Paid in Money when the Letter is posted, stamp or write the word "Paid" against the Postage rate, and mark the rate in red ink; but if the Letter is "Unpaid" the rate is to be marked in black ink.

* * * * *

42. Should the Receiving Postmaster find that any of the Letters have been under-rated, that is, not charged with sufficient Postage,—if for example, a Letter weighing an ounce has only been charged with one rate, he will mark the additional Postage with the words "More to pay," and his initials on the Letter.

* * * * *

44.... Letters are to be postmarked on the back or seal side with the date of the day on which they arrive....

* * * * *

58. On Letters not exceeding ½ oz. in weight between any place in Canada and any other place in British North America, including Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton, the rate is a uniform charge of 3d.

For every additional weight of half an oz., or any fractional excess of half an oz., there shall be charged an additional rate of 3d.

59. On Letters deposited at an Office for delivery in the same place, called Drop or Box Letters, the rate is One half-penny each, to be brought to account by Postmasters.

60. On Letters between any place in Canada and any part of Great Britain or Ireland, if conveyed in the Weekly closed Mails through the United States, the rate is a uniform charge of 1s. 2d. sterling, equal to 1s. 4d. currency, on a Letter not exceeding ½ oz., in weight.

* * * * *

62. On Letters between Canada and the United Kingdom, conveyed by the semi-monthly Mails by way of Quebec, New Brunswick and Halifax, the rate is:

On Letters not exceeding ½ oz., 1s. 0d. sterling equal to 1s. 1½d. currency.

On Letters not exceeding 1 oz., 2s. 0d. sterling equal to 2s. 3d. currency.

On Letters not exceeding 2 oz., 4s. 0d. sterling equal to 4s. 6d. currency.

63. On Letters between any place in Canada and any part of the United States, except California and Oregon, the rate is a uniform charge of 6d., equal to 10c. per ½ oz. weight.

64. On Letters to California and Oregon, the rate is 9d., equal to 15c. per ½ oz.

* * * * *

67. Letters to Newfoundland may be sent via Quebec and Halifax at a Postage rate of 7½d. per ½ oz.

68. Letters to British West Indies via Quebec, Halifax and Bermuda will be charged the Canada rate of 3d. and in addition the[Pg 31] Packet rate for sea conveyance between Halifax and Bermuda of 4½d. currency, making on a letter not weighing more than ½ oz. a rate of 7½d.

69. Letters may also be sent from Canada to the British West Indies and Havanah by the ordinary United States Mails to New York, and from thence by British Steam Packet to destination, on Prepayment in Canada of 9d. equal to 15c. per ½ oz.

70. Mails are made up at Montreal every fortnight for Halifax, Nova Scotia, and despatched for conveyance to Halifax with the Mails by the Royal Mail Steamers from Boston to Halifax and Liverpool by which Letters may be sent to the following places at the rates mentioned:

Letters to Halifax and Nova Scotia7½d. currency.
Letters to Newfoundland1s. currency.
Letters to Bermuda and British West Indies1s. currency.

* * * * *

74—75—76. [Almost identical with first three paragraphs of Department Order No. 4. describing and prescribing use of postage stamps. Vide supra.]

77. If the Stamps affixed to a Letter addressed to any place in British North America or to the United Kingdom be not adequate to the proper Postage, the Post Master receiving the Letter for transmission will rate it with the amount deficient in addition.

78. On Letters for the United States when Stamps are affixed representing less than the amount of Postage to which the Letters are liable, the Stamps are to be cancelled and the Letters rated with the full rate as Unpaid.

79—80—81. [Identical with last two paragraphs of Department Order No. 4. concerning cancelling, omission of same, and accounts of stamped letters.]

82. Stamps affixed to Letters coming from either of the British North American Provinces, the United Kingdom or the United States, and recognized as equivalent to pre-payment at the Office where the Letter has been posted—are to be allowed in Canada as evidence of pre-payment accordingly, on the Letters to which they have been affixed.

* * * * *

84. [Postage Stamps must be taken when offered in payment of postage on delivery of Unpaid Letters.]

* * * * *

88. [Non-Commissioned Officers, Embodied Pensioners, Seamen and Soldiers, while employed in Her Majesty's Service, can send and receive letters at a rate of 1d. each, which must be paid at time of posting, and letter must not exceed ½ oz. in weight.]

* * * * *

95. [Rate on circulars, price currents, hand bills, etc., 1d. per ounce or fraction.]

96. [Rate on pamphlets, periodicals, magazines and books, ½d. per ounce.]

* * * * *

100. [Limit of weight for periodicals, etc., (§96) is 48 oz.]

* * * * *[Pg 32]

103. [Book post to England is 6d. sterling (7½d. currency) for ½lb., 1s. sterling (1s. 3d. currency) for 1 lb., and at 1s. per lb., rate thereafter.]

* * * * *

112. [Postage on newspapers in Canada is ½d. except on exchange copies, which are free.]

It strikes one as curious, in glancing over the above, to note the several half penny and one penny rates, as well as two at 7½ pence, and to realize that no stamp of the lowest value, at least, should have been arranged for whereby these amounts could have been prepaid by means of stamps. To be sure, the 7½d. rate could be obtained by halving a three penny stamp in conjunction with a 6d. stamp as was the common practice in Nova Scotia, but no such combination is known on a Canada cover.

Of the three stamps issued, the first and most typical of Canada was the 3d. which was designed, so Mr. C. N. Robertson of Ottawa tells us, by Sir Sanford Fleming, a civil engineer and draughtsman. The central feature is a representation of the beaver in its native haunts, above which is the royal crown of England resting on a rose, thistle and shamrock, with the letters V and R (Victoria Regina) at either side. A reference to figure 6 on Plate I makes further description unnecessary. The normal color was a bright red.

A quite marked variety of this stamp occurs in what is generally known as a "double strike" or "shifted transfer." It is not due to accidental light contact of the sheet in printing, previous to the heavier impression in a slightly changed position, as is often suggested, but is a true plate variety, caused by a slight impression of the transfer roller in the wrong position on the plate previous to the heavy impression sunk in the proper position. This fact is shown by its being found in pairs and blocks with the normal stamp. It 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. The figure 3 also appears doubled at the bottom. Its position in the sheet has not been determined, but it occurs on all papers.

The 6d. stamp is in the usual upright form, containing a portrait of Albert, the Prince Consort. It has been impossible to trace the original of the picture, though diligent search has been made. The rose, thistle and shamrock again appear on the stamp, at either side of the oval frame and separating the inscriptions. Figure 1 of Plate I gives an excellent reproduction of this value. The normal color may be said to have been a slate violet.[Pg 33]

The 12d. stamp is very similar in design to the 6d. stamp, but contains a portrait of Queen Victoria. This beautiful head, so often seen upon the early British Colonial stamps, 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 occasion was the prorogation of Parliament, on July 17, 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.[10] The stamp is illustrated as figure 2 on Plate I, and it will be noticed that the inscriptions in the oval frame are this time separated on either side by the royal crown. The color is black.

The peculiarity in the expression of the value of this stamp as "Twelve Pence" instead of "One Shilling," which would seem to be the natural form for such an amount in English money, was long a moot question amongst collectors. It was even suggested as an "error" of the American manufacturers of the stamp! But the controversy has been practically settled by reference to the monetary conditions of the period. 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 that is brought out on the two stamps issued subsequently for the British Packet rates. Add to this the 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.[11] "Twelve pence" was without doubt wholly intentional, therefore, as the designation of the stamp, and was a happy solution of any ambiguity in its use, even if it has proved a stumbling block to the understanding of latter day collectors.

An interesting essay for this stamp is in existence, being a companion for the 3 pence "beaver," inasmuch as the shape of the stamp and the central design are the same, though on a larger scale; the inscriptions, however, are[Pg 34] on an octagonal frame around the picture instead of an elliptical one, and the value is expressed as "one shilling," with "1s" in each spandrel. It was doubtless also a conception of Sir Sanford Fleming, the designer of the 3 pence, and it would be interesting to know what the companion 6 pence may have been.

The three issued stamps were ordered from and engraved on steel by Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson of New York, who, it will be interesting to note, were the engravers of the 1847 issue of United States stamps—a fact which very likely may have had its influence on the Canadian authorities. The stamps were printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten, and had eight marginal imprints, two on each side. The imprint reads, "Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York.", in minute letters of the size known as "diamond" in the printing office, and it is placed opposite the third and eighth stamps of the horizontal or vertical row, as the case may be, but always with the bottom of the imprint next the stamps. This causes the imprints to read up on the left, down on the right, and upside down on the bottom margins of the sheets.

We have found but one item in the departmental accounts for the fiscal year 1851-2 referring to the stamps. This reads:—

Rawdon, Wright & Co., for engraving postage stamps, £31.8.2

This was doubtless simply a bill for printing, as it is altogether too small an amount to account for the engraving of three stamp dies and the making of three printing plates.

The first delivery of the stamps from the manufacturers took place on April 5, 1851, according to a valuable summary from official records, published in the Metropolitan Philatelist,[12] when 100,000 of the 3 pence value were received by the Canadian Government. A second lot, numbering 150,200 of the 3 pence, arrived on April 20th. The 6 pence value followed on May 2nd, to the number of 100,400; and the 12 pence two days later, on May 4th, when the only consignment ever received from the printers, numbering 51,400, was delivered.

The paper on which the stamps were printed was a thin, tough, grayish white variety which we should probably call bond paper, but which at that time is said to have been known as bank note paper. It was doubtless handmade, and therefore varies considerably in thickness, the two extremes being usually listed as medium or ordinary, and very thin or almost pelure.[Pg 35]

It has been the custom to assume that the first deliveries of the stamps were probably all upon laid paper, which was borne out by dates on covers or postmarked specimens of the stamps used during the first year of issue. But by June of 1852, at least, according to Messrs. Corwin and King,[13] the stamps were beginning to appear on paper which was simply wove, without any trace of the laid lines, though in all other respects similar to the first supplies. Of course a minor detail of manufacture like this would have no official cognizance, so there is nothing for us to go by in determining the quantities printed on one or the other kind of paper, or the dates of issue, save for what can be gleaned from dated covers and deductions to be drawn from them. The two varieties of paper, however, have been as productive of controversy in the case of the 12 pence stamp as the peculiar expression of its value proved.

But before discussing this question, let us see what we have to work on. The first annual report of the Postmaster General, for the year ending 5th April, 1852, contains the following information concerning the new stamps:—

Postage Stamps for the pre-payment of letters of the respective values of 3d., 6d. and 1s. were procured and issued immediately after the transfer, and have been kept for sale to the public at all the principal Post Offices in the Province; the demand, however, has not been great, as will be seen by the following statement, and the sales of the last quarter of the year would seem to demonstrate that the use of these Stamps in pre-payment of letters, is rather diminishing than gaining ground in the community. There were procured from the manufacturers, Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Co., of New York, during the year ended 5th April 1852:

250,2003d. Stamps£3127100
100,4006d. Stamps251000
51,0001s. Stamps255000

Of these have been issued to Postmasters for sale, to the same date:

217,3003d. Stamps£271650
63,4006d. Stamps158500
8201s. Stamps4100
281,520 £434250

The succeeding annual reports of the Postmaster General, for the years[Pg 36] ending 31st March, 1853-6, give the following table of postage stamp statistics:—

Postage stamps issued for sale as follows:—

3d. Stamps6d. Stamps1s. Stamps
On hand 5th April, 185232,90037,00050,180
Since received from Manufacturers250,000
Issued for sale during year163,0002,575100
On hand 31st March, 1853119,90034,42550,080
Received from Manufacturers250,000......
Issued for sale during year240,70010,825325
On hand 31st March, 1854129,20023,60049,755
Received from Manufacturers250,00050,000...
Issued for sale during year355,00025,800265
On hand 31st. March, 185524,20047,80049,490
Received from Manufacturers600,300......
Issued for sale during year368,70038,419...
On hand 31st. March, 1856255,8009,38149,490

In this annual report of 31st March, 1856, is the last account of the 12d. stamp, from which it appears that none were issued to postmasters during the fiscal year. It does not mean that none were sold or used during that period, however, for with the increasing use of stamps this was quite probable. But it is evident from the tables given that the stamp was disbursed from headquarters in very limited quantities during the four years from 1851 to 1855 only; and we are quite fortunate in being able to give the exact details of this[Pg 37] distribution. An anonymous article was published in the Metropolitan Philatelist in 1902,[14] from which we have already quoted, that contained a "Valuable summary of the first issue of postage stamps used in this Colony." The statement is made that "it is taken from official records and is absolutely accurate." We quote here the information concerning the


Total number rec'd. from Contractors51,000
Total number issued to postmasters1,510
Balance (destroyed)49,490

NOTE.—On May 4, 1851, the first and only consignment of the Canada 1 shilling postage stamp, to the number of 51,000 (value £2,550), was received by the Post Office Department, Canada, from the Contractors, Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, New York.

The issue of this stamp began on June 14, 1851, and concluded on December 4, 1854, when the stamp was discontinued. During its issue 1510 stamps of that denomination were sent out to postmasters, leaving a balance on hand of 49,490, which, on May 1st. 1857, were, in accordance with the practice of the Department in cases of the discontinuance of stamps, destroyed. As has already been observed, there was only the one lot of this stamp received from the contractors.


Date of Issue.Name of Office.Name of P. M.No.
June 14, 1851HamiltonE. Ritchie300
Oct. 17, 1851ChippewaW. Hepburn100
Nov. 13, 1851ThoroldJ. Keefer20
Nov. 25, 1851TorontoC. Berchy200
Mar. 8, 1852MontrealJ. Porteous200
Sept. 14, 1852IngersollD. Phelan100
Apr. 5, 1853[15]BytownG. W. Baker100
Oct. 20, 1853SherbrookeWm. Brooks15
Jan. 13, 1854Smith's FallsJas. Shaw50
Jan. 20, 1854BytownG. W. Baker100
Feb. 8, 1854L'IsletBallantyne15
Feb. 27, 1854IngersollChadwick20
Mar. 22, 1854Sault S. MarieJos. Wilson25
May 15, 1854Port. du FortMcLaren15
Oct. 21, 1854Rowan Millsde Blaquiere50
Oct. 26, 1854MelbourneThos. Tait50
Oct. 27, 1854MontrealA. La Rocque100
Dec. 4, 1854Smith's FallsJas. Shaw50
Total number issued,1,510

From the above it is seen that Hamilton and Montreal each received a total of 300 copies, Toronto and Bytown each 200, Ingersoll 120, Chippewa and Smith's Falls each 100, and so on down.[Pg 38]

So much for the 12d. stamp. The tables of the Post Office reports tell us also that the issues of the 6d. stamp to postmasters for these same four years totalled 102,600, or only 2200 more than the original number delivered, the second delivery of the 6d. not having taken place until March 21, 1855,[16] at the end of the last fiscal year of the four. If, then, the entire first printings of the 6d. and 12d. stamps were on laid paper, as is usually claimed, there would be no such thing as a 12d. on wove paper, and the 6d. stamp in the same state would not be found used (provided proper postmark evidence were forthcoming) before the end of March, 1855. During the same period there were at least five deliveries of the 3d. stamp, so that several things may have happened to that value. But, curiously enough, it is the other two stamps that furnish us with our best evidence.

We now come literally to the "nigger in the wood-pile." The 12d. stamp does exist on the wove paper! Mr. Worthington and Mr. Pack each possess an unused copy, and careful examination by the writer has failed to disclose any appreciable difference in the color, quality or appearance of the paper, save for the impossibility of discovering the laid lines, between these copies and those possessing proper credentials as the regular laid paper 12d. of 1851. The color of the stamp and its general appearance give no hint of the supposed irregularity, and a letter to Mr. Worthington from the well known expert, Mr. John N. Luff, gives his approval to the specimen in Mr. Worthington's collection. It was formerly considered that the supposed 12d. on wove paper was merely a proof, and in the "Catalogue for Advanced Collectors" we find the following note concerning it under Canada.[17]

Although the 12p is catalogued by some as existing on thin wove paper, we do not believe in it as in every copy on wove paper sent to us for examination some traces of the word specimen were to be discovered thus showing them all to be merely proofs.

As far as the writer has seen them, specimen copies have been on India paper, which is quite distinct from the regular paper of the issue, and they have been overprinted with the word "SPECIMEN" in carmine ink, either diagonally or vertically upward. The copies referred to in the paragraph just quoted probably had been treated with chemicals to remove the red ink overprint.

Of course the desideratum for the settlement of the whole question is to[Pg 39] find a copy of the stamp used on cover; but inasmuch as up to the present time but three copies of the 12d. on laid paper are known in this condition, it seems a hopeless quest. Nevertheless there appear to be several used copies of the wove paper 12d. known, the first mention we find of one being in the report of the proceedings of the Philatelic Society of London for 4th May, 1888,[18] which reads: "The business of the evening consisted in the revision of the Society's reference list of the Stamps of Canada, which was concluded, Mr. F. Ransom showing an undoubted postmarked specimen of the 12d. first issue, printed upon stout wove paper." Mr. W. H. Brouse, the eminent Canadian philatelist, also possessed a cancelled copy of this stamp, which later adorned the Ayer collection, it is understood. An editorial in the Dominion Philatelist thus speaks of it:[19]—"We have received from W. H. Brouse, of Toronto, a photograph of ... 12 pence Canada on wove paper [which] appears to be a beautiful specimen with fine margin and light cancellation." Two fine copies, one unused and one used, were sold in the auction of the Mirabaud collection at Paris, in April, 1909.

From the above it is plainly evident that the 12d. on wove paper properly exists, in spite of the "first [and only] printing on laid paper" theory, which is usually laid down as an a priori consideration. Also it appears that it is found in a used condition, though this cannot be taken as an absolute test, because of the uncertainty that may lurk in a cancellation on a detached specimen of a stamp. Only the discovery of a copy properly used on the original cover, as already intimated, can effectually settle the question of its actual issue and use. But there is a fact which doubtless furnishes the clue to the seeming mystery of its being. We have already noted that the laid paper first used varied considerably in thickness, and also that the wove paper next used was in all respects similar to the former, but of course without the laid lines. Now 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. If such be the case, it is only a step further to the entire disappearance of these "laid lines," and lo, the wove paper!

Writing to Mr. F. C. Young concerning the 12d. stamp, Mr. John N. Luff says:[20]—"It is my opinion that both the wove and laid papers are quite[Pg 40] 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 might 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." Finally Mr. Charles Lathrop Pack, in some notes sent the London Philatelist, sums matters up in these words:[21]—"After a very careful investigation I believe that the 12d., on wove paper, was issued, and that the stamp was on sale at the Post Office, in Hamilton, Canada West." Mr. Pack writes us further:—"When I was a boy I went to school at St. Catherines, Ontario. There were keen stamp collectors in St. Catherines at that time, not only among boys, but among grown people. That was about 1869 or 1870. I was told that part of the 12d. Canada which had been on sale at the Hamilton post office were on wove paper and I was convinced that that was the case."

Concerning the laid and wove papers of this issue Mr. King writes as follows:[22]—"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."

We now come to the most interesting and confirmatory part of our evidence. We have already referred to the fact that Messrs. Corwin & King give June, 1852, as the date when the wove paper appeared, and 1852 is given in all catalogues and lists as the year of issue for all three stamps on this paper. In their article on British North America, the above gentlemen, in discussing early dates established by entire covers for the varieties of paper that they describe, remark under the caption "Series IV." (the thin wove paper): "We took a six-pence from a letter dated June 25th, 1852."[23] This statement can[Pg 41] hardly be questioned, after the careful and minute study that they gave to the papers of this issue, and it therefore means just one thing: the 6d. on wove paper came in the first lot delivered, for we have seen that the second supply did not arrive until 1855. The fact is therefore established that the first deliveries of stamps in April and May, 1851, included the wove paper, and we therefore have here what amounts to the proper credentials for the appearance and even use of the 12d. on wove paper.

As the 3d., having been delivered first, was undoubtedly printed first, this value may have been entirely upon the laid paper, particularly as it seems to be not especially rare on this paper and has not been recorded on wove paper used earlier than the receipt of the 1852 supplies. But this of course is negative evidence, and this value may yet be found to have been printed upon the wove paper along with the other two values in 1851.

We have remarked that there were but three covers known bearing copies of the 12d. stamp. It is with great satisfaction, therefore, that we are able to present reproductions of two of them for the benefit of our readers. The earliest date is on the cover numbered 90 on Plate VI, which is in the Worthington collection. This bears the postmark of "Montreal, L. C. JY 21, 1852" in red. The stamp is a little heavily cancelled by the concentric rings type of obliteration in black. The word CANADA within the curved frame and the word PAID are stamped in red on the cover. This was a requirement of the first postal convention between Canada and the United States, signed on March 25, 1851. Section 9 reads:—

"The Offices designated for the despatch and receipt of Canadian Mails on the side of the United States will stamp 'U. States' upon all letters sent into Canada for delivery; and the Offices designated for the despatch and receipt of United States mails on the side of Canada will stamp 'Canada' upon all letters sent into the United States for delivery."

The other two covers were both the property of the late John F. Seybold, but the one upon which the stamp appears in finest condition now ornaments the collection of Mr. Charles Lathrop Pack. This is illustrated as No. 91 on Plate VI and bears the postmark of "Hamilton, C. W. NO 23, 1853." The stamp is cancelled with the concentric rings in blue, and an additional handstamp appears in red reading "CANADA—PAID 20 Cts" in two lines. The "20" is made over from "10" by the use of a pen in changing the first figure. In[Pg 42] this connection it will be remembered that 6d. currency, equal to 10 cents, was the single rate for ½oz. letters between Canada and the United States.[24]

The third cover is in all respects a companion piece of the second, bearing the same marks and (probably) the same address originally, but dated from Hamilton on "DE 8, 1853."

All three of these covers show the particular use of the 12d. stamp—simply as a multiple of the 3d. and 6d. in currency rates. That it was not issued with any intention of being especially used for the British packet rate must be evident, as we have seen that this was 1s. 4d. currency if prepaid and sent via the United States, or 1s. 1½d. currency if prepaid and sent via Halifax[25]—rates that could not be made up by means of the three stamps first issued.

On the other hand the stamp was quadruple the domestic rate, double the rate to the United States, and the single rate for the fortnightly mails from Montreal viâ Boston to Newfoundland, Bermuda and the British West Indies.[26] Probably letters in the first category were not common, and, as it happens, all our specimens fall in the second. The third category doubtless did not entail a large correspondence, particularly as the more direct route to the places mentioned, viâ Quebec and Halifax, was at the lesser rate of 7½d.[27] For the above reasons, then, the covers as we find them evidently exemplify the usual use to which the 12d. stamp was put, and explain why more were not used, as surely would have been the case had the stamp been convenient for prepaying the packet rate to England, with which there was a large correspondence.

Having now described the two main varieties of paper common to the three values of this issue, let us look at some further varieties of the stock used for the 3d. and 6d. values, which, because of their long term of use, were subject to quite a number of printings and therefore gave opportunity for the variation in paper which is a characteristic of this issue. We have already given the statistics of the receipt and issue of 3d. and 6d. stamps for the five years from 1851 to 1856,[28] and find they total 1,600,500 for the 3d. and 150,400 for the 6d. From succeeding reports of the Postmaster General we cull the following:—

[Pg 43]

REPORT OF 30TH SEPT., 1857, [including 1 year 6 months, by statute.][29]
3d. stamps6d. stamps
Balance on hand 31st March, 1856255,8009,381
Received from Mfrs. in half-year to 30th. Sept.50,000
Issued for sale during half-year186,20024,781
Balance 1st October, 185669,60034,600
Received from Mfrs. year ending 30th Sept., 1857600,00050,078
Issued for sale during yr. ending 30th Sept., 1857587,90060,600
Balance on hand81,70024,078
REPORT OF 30TH. SEPT., 1858.
Received from Mfrs. year ending 30th Sept., 1858900,000100,000
Issued for sale during year717,20082,500
Balance on hand 30th Sept., 1858264,50041,578
REPORT OF 30TH. SEPT., 1859.
Rec'd from Mfrs. during 9 mos. to 30th June, 1859449,90070,000
Issued for sale during above 9 months692,70094,000
Balance on hand 30th June, 185921,70017,578

On July 1, 1859 the stamps in decimal currency were issued, so the above remainders represent the last of the 3d. and 6d. stamps. Adding the receipts from the manufacturers in the above tables, therefore, to the totals already given for the years 1851-6, and then deducting the remainders (which were later destroyed), we have for the total issue of the 3d. stamp 3,528,700, and of the 6d. stamp 402,900. In these figures are of course included the perforated stamps, which we will consider later.

It will be seen from the tables that there were at least eight deliveries of the 3d. stamps and at least six deliveries of the 6d. stamps, but inasmuch as these are totalled by years, and as some of the amounts are quite large (e. g. 900,000 of the 3d. in 1858), it seems certain that there were even more deliveries and consequently more printings of the stamps than is indicated. In no other way can we account for the variety in the paper used, and also[Pg 44] the variety in the color of the 6d. stamp. The 3d. does not vary so much, probably because its shade of red did not require much mixing of inks and the ingredients were such that slight variations in the proportions did not greatly affect the tone. The normal color being a bright red, we find it running to a deeper, almost brick red in one direction, and to a vermilion in the other. As to the normal color of the 6d. it would be almost impossible to hazard a guess, if we had simply a series of one stamp of each distinct variation in color or shade in which it is found. The common run of shades is from a slate violet to a slate or "near black" with a "cast" of violet, of brown, or even green. What can one do in trying to describe the "color" of such a chameleon stamp with such an uncertain basis to work upon? The check list gives the nearest approximation to the various shades that we have been able to translate into color names, but it is almost impossible to so describe some of them as to convey the proper idea of the exact shade to the reader.

For papers used, Mr. King describes no less than fourteen.[30] Four of these are the two grades of the laid and wove "bank-note" paper already mentioned. A third variety of laid paper is described by him as entirely different, being a stout white paper in which "the laid lines are most distinct, while the paper is of a different texture and color from the regular grey shade." Mr. Pack states: "This paper is very rare, and I have never seen but very few copies."[31] Mr. King's sixth variety is described as "hard, stout, grayish wove," but we have included it with the ordinary wove paper in the check list, of which it is but a little heavier manifestation. The same may be said of his varieties XII and XIII, described as "medium" and "thick, hard, white wove paper, very slightly ribbed," respectively, which we have classed under "stout, hard, white wove paper." There is an extreme case in the 6d. stamp, which comes on a very thick hard paper, concerning which Mr. Pack says:—"The unused 6d. on very thick, hard paper is one of the greatest rarities of Canada. It is as rare as the 12d. unused. Curiously enough, this stamp in used condition is very rare in a pair or strip. So far as I know there are only two or three strips or pairs in existence. It is my understanding that the very thick hard paper stamps were printed previous to those on the soft paper." The last remark refers to the very thick, soft paper, almost a card board (Mr. King's variety XIV) which is now well known as an exceedingly rare variety. It is distinct, both in paper and[Pg 45] color, from any other variety of the 6d. stamp, the shade being a dull purple. The same may be said of the thick hard paper stamp, which appears to be in a very even shade of slate violet.

Mr. King's varieties X and XI are both peculiar, the former being a "very soft, thin, cream wove which is quite fragile and will not bear much handling," and the latter a "soft, thick, coarse white wove paper; the surface presents a sort of hairy appearance, and the quality is better than series X." The 3d. is the only value occurring in these two varieties, which we have placed under "soft white wove paper" in the check list.

Lastly comes the ribbed paper. The first variety is a very soft, thin paper on which the 3d. appears. This is Mr. King's variety VII, and he makes a variety VIII of the same paper in a "cream" tone. The same value comes on a thicker, hard paper, Mr. King's variety IX, and he lists a 6d. in violet black as well.

From the foregoing it will be seen that the first issue of Canadian stamps furnishes plenty of material for study, and is an extremely difficult series to work out and put into proper form for a reference list. Mr. King truly says:—"If the papers and shades of this series of stamps are thoroughly studied, there are more varieties than in all the other British North American stamps put together; in many cases they are minute, in others more decided, but in every case distinct." Some criticism may be made of our not using in extenso, the excellent "Reference List"[32] prepared by Messrs. King and Corwin, but it has seemed wise, in working with the specialized collections already alluded to, to condense this list to some extent; nor do we think its correctness and usefulness have been impaired thereby.

We have spoken of the three values of stamps already treated as the "first issue" of Canada. Some may cavil at this, for there are three more values belonging to the pence series which may be regarded as part of the "first issue," inasmuch as they were complementary as well as supplementary to the original three. But they did not appear until nearly four or more years later, and therefore escaped the laid paper varieties. For this reason, and because there appears another important question to solve in connection with two of them, we have reserved a separate chapter for these three. We may also say that as one of them appears in the perforated series of pence values we have left the consideration of these latter stamps until the next following chapter.

[7] This correction of the date must be noted, for in Mr. King's article in the Monthly Journal, VII: 7, it is wrongly given as 1st April, which might lead to erroneous conclusions. In the Article by Messrs. Corwin and King, (Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 149), the date is correctly given.

[8] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[9] London Philatelist, XIII: 153.

[10] London Philatelist, VI: 147.

[11] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 170.

[12] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[13] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 149.

[14] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[15] Now Ottawa, Capital of Dominion of Canada.

[16] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[17] American Journal of Philately, 2d. Series, III: 121.

[18] Philatelic Record, X: 124.

[19] Dominion Philatelist, No. 34, p. 8.

[20] Canada Stamp Sheet, IV: 142.

[21] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[22] Monthly Journal, VII: 9.

[23] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 149.

[24] See 63 on page 30.

[25] See Secs. 60 and 62 on page 30.

[26] See Sec. 70 on page 31.

[27] See Secs. 67 and 68 on page 30.

[28] See pages 35-36.

[29] 20o Vict. cap. XXV. Sec. VII; see page 61.

[30] Monthly Journal, VII: 9.

[31] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[32] Monthly Journal, VII: 9.

[Pg 46]



A resume of the chief happenings of the year and other items of interest is given in the annual reports of the Postmasters General, and a brief summary of these first few years will not be without its importance here. It will be recalled that the Provincial Government took over the control of its posts on the 6th April, 1851, and by the Act to Amend The Post Office Act, passed 30th August, 1851,[33] the Postmaster General was required by statute to "report to the Governor General of the Province annually, for the purpose of being laid before Parliament at each Session, First. A report of Finances, Receipts and Expenditure of the Post Office Department for the year ending on the fifth day of April previous," etc., etc. Accordingly the first annual report of the Postmaster General was rendered on the 5th April, 1852. In it we find the following information:—

Upon the transfer of the control of the Post Office Department in this Province, by the Imperial Post Office Authorities to the Provincial Government, on the 6th April, 1851, the number of Post Offices in operation was found to be 601—the number of miles of established Post Route, 7595—over which the annual transportation of the Mails was 2,487,000 miles—and the Gross Revenue raised under the authority of the Imperial Post Office, at the high tariff of rates then prevailing, had been for the year preceding the transfer £93,802 currency, including in that sum the collections in Canada of British Packet Postage, estimated to have amounted to £10,000 sterling.

The Provincial Act of the 12th and 13th Vic. cap. 66, providing for the management of the Department after the transfer, reduced the Postage charges in Canada upon all letters passing between places within the Province, or within British North America generally, to a uniform rate of 3d. per ½ oz.; whereas under the tariff in force previous to the transfer, the average charge on each letter was computed to have been as nearly as possible 9d. per ½ oz.; the reduction therefore consequent upon the introduction of the uniform 3d. rate was equivalent to ⅔, or 66⅔ per cent, on the former average letter Postage charge.

The Postage charge on Box or Drop Letters, and the additional charge on letters delivered in the Cities by Letter Carriers, have in[Pg 47] each case been reduced to one half penny, being one half the former rates.

With regard to newspapers, the Postage charge has been altogether taken off upon several important branches of newspaper circulation, and papers to and from the other British North American Provinces, papers sent to the United States, and Editors' exchange papers, pass free of all Postage charge whatever. The rates on printed papers, circulars, pamphlets, books, &c., have also been modified and reduced.

The gross receipts of the Department for the year under review are given as £71,788 18s. 5d. currency, a drop of over £20,000 from the previous year; but this is a good showing after all, for when it is remembered that the new uniform rate of postage was but one third the former average rate, it is readily figured out that correspondence nearly doubled under the new tariffs. This is confirmed by the following comparative statement of pieces mailed:—

One week preceding 5th April, 1851, No. of letters, 41,000; papers, 90,000.

One week preceding 5th April, 1852, No. of letters, 86,051[34]; papers, 101,000.

There were 243 new post offices added during the year and 1023 miles of post routes.

"An agreement was concluded with the Post Master General of the United States, which has continued in satisfactory operation since April, 1851, under which letters pass between any place in Canada, and any place in the United States, at a Postage rate of 6d. currency, per half oz., except to and from California and Oregon, when, the distance being over 3,000 miles, the rate is 9d. per half oz. Letters are posted on either side, paid or unpaid, at the option of the sender."

The total correspondence passing between the two countries is given as having a postage rating of $85,636.97.

The second annual report of the Postmaster General is dated the 31st March, 1853, and contains little of interest but statistics. 176 new post offices were established and 504 miles of new post routes added. The gross revenue of the Department for the fiscal year is given as £84,866.6.11½. and the total postage on the correspondence passing between Canada and the United States was $104,966.40.[Pg 48]

The third report, of 31st March, 1854, speaks of a large reduction in the postal charges upon newspapers circulating within the Province and on certain classes of periodical prints, which took place on Feb. 1, 1854, but gives no further details. Concerning the British packet postage, however, the report says:—

In March, 1854, the charge on packet letters passing between Canada and the United Kingdom and most foreign countries was reduced by the Imperial Government from 1s. 2d. sterling to 8d. sterling per ½ oz. when sent in closed mails through the United States, and from 1s. to 6d. when sent direct from a Provincial Port, Quebec or Halifax.

Further on are the following recommendations:—

Should no further change 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 7½ d. respectively to correspond with the present packet letter charges.

And again:—

Much unnecessary labor and waste of time is occasioned to this Department by the practice now followed of rating and collecting Postage on all Government and Legislative correspondence, and it would be an improvement, in my belief, very worthy of adoption, to authorize by enactment the transmission of all such matter through the mails, under proper regulations, free of Postage charge, and that in lieu thereof, a certain fixed annual sum estimated to be equivalent to the aggregate of the Postage arising upon such correspondence, should be paid by the Receiver General to the Post Office, to be accounted for as Post Office Revenue.

Perhaps the most pregnant remark is one short statement:—"The use of stamps has materially increased"; for it will be remembered that the first annual report of the Postmaster General was pessimistic with regard to the employment of stamps, fearing that their use was diminishing.

The accounts accompanying the report contain but one item concerning stamps:—

Rawdon, Wright & Co., Postage Stamps furnished Post Office
Department                                        £12.11.3

This amount was of course only for printing supplies, evidently for the 250,000 3d. stamps received during the fiscal year.[Pg 49]

In the fourth report, of 31st March, 1855, there are several items of interest. The lowering of the British packet rates proved a popular step, naturally, and the report states that "Notwithstanding the important reduction granted by the Imperial Government in the postage rate between this country and the United Kingdom in March, 1854," the results were as follows:—

British Packet Postage collected in Canada in year ending 31 March, 1855 (postage rate 8d. sterling) £16,449.14.3½.

British Packet Postage collected in Canada in year ending 31 March, 1854 (postage rate 1s. 2d. sterling) £17,495.1.4½. which was a drop of but six per cent. in receipts upon a reduction of over forty per cent. in the postal charge.


In March, 1855 the Imperial Post Office authorized a reduction in the charge on letters passing through the English Posts between Canada and France, from 2s. 8½d. Currency to 1s. 8d. Currency per ¼ oz. letter.

The suggestions contained in the report for 1854 concerning the franking of official mail matter, and the payment of a fixed annual sum to the Post Office Department on this account, were acted upon, and the report states:—

In July last the Act of last Session came into effect, removing altogether the Postage charge on the circulation of Provincial Newspapers and according a franking privilege to the correspondence of the Legislature and of the Public Departments of the Government.

The Act referred to was doubtless the following:—

18o Vict. Cap. LXXIX.

An act to abolish Postage on Newspapers published within the Province of Canada, and for other purposes connected with the Post Office Department of this Province.

[Assented to 19th May, 1855.]

WHEREAS papers devoted to the advancement of Education, Temperance, Science, Agriculture and other special objects, are now exempt from postage; And whereas it would further materially aid the diffusion of useful knowledge to remove all postal restrictions on the transmission of Newspapers in general, published within this Province, and of all documents printed by order of either House of Parliament: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative[Pg 50] Council and the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, * * * * and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, as follows:

I. All Newspapers published within the Province of Canada, shall be transmitted by mail free of Postage.

* * * * *

IV. All Letters and other mailable matter addressed to or sent by the Governor of this Province, or sent to or by any Public Department at the seat of Government, shall be free of Provincial Postage under such regulations as may be directed by the Governor in Council.

V. All Letters and other mailable matter addressed to or sent by the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Legislative Council or of the Legislative Assembly, or by or to any Member of either of said branches of the Legislature during any Session of the Legislature, shall be free of Provincial Postage.

VI. All public documents and printed papers may be sent by the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Legislative Council or of the Legislative Assembly, to any Member of either of the said branches of the Legislature of Canada, during the recess of Parliament, free of Postage.

VII. Members of either branch of the Legislature of Canada may send during the recess of Parliament by mail, free of Postage, all papers printed by order of either branch of the Legislature of Canada.

* * * * *

IX. This Act shall come into effect on and after the first day of July, eighteen hundred and fifty-five.

There is a bit of conflict here. The "enactment clause" of the above Act makes it operative unequivocally on July 1, 1855. Yet the Postmaster General's report, just quoted, which is supposed to be for the fiscal year ending 31st March, 1855, distinctly states that the provisions of the above Act came into effect "in July last," which would seem to be July, 1854. The Act itself is not in error, so the discrepancy must lie in the Postmaster General's report. Probably the report was written much later in the year than March 31st, as it was not presented to Parliament until the fall session, and therefore gave opportunity to refer back to happenings in July.

The growth of the Department during the first four years under Provincial control is illustrated by the following table:—

Date Post Offices
of Post
per week.
with the U. S.
6th April, 18516017,59541,000£  93,802
5th April, 18528408,61871,726£  71,788.18.  5$  85,636.97
31st Mar., 18531,0169,12281,896£  84,866.  6. 11½$104,966.40
31st Mar., 18541,16610,02798,350£  98,495.  6.  7$129,921.67
31st Mar., 18551,29311,192116,671£110,747.12.  9½$145,377.69

[Pg 51]

The number of post offices had more than doubled; the length of the post routes had increased by fifty per cent; and although the revenue had dropped one quarter during the first year, owing to the reduction in postage rates, it had increased by half in the next three years; while the total correspondence between Canada and the United States had increased by two thirds in the same three years.

But the item that interests us particularly in this report reads:—

To promote the general convenience 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 for sale to the public.

Thus part of the recommendation contained in the report for the preceding year was carried out.

In the accounts for the fiscal year we find the following entries:—

1st. Quarter, Rawdon, Wright & Co., Postage Stamps for P. O. Dept.£12.12.6
3rd. Quarter, Rawdon, Wright & Co., Making Stamps42.18.6
4th. Quarter, Rawdon, Wright & Co., Postage Stamps for P. O. Dept.17.13.6

From this it would appear that the bill for engraving ("making") the new 10d. stamp was paid in the third quarter of the fiscal year, corresponding to the last quarter of 1854. According to the table of receipts from manufacturers in the "summary" already quoted,[35] the 10d. stamp was first received by the Post Office Department on Jan. 2, 1855. In Mr. King's "Reference List,"[36] however, the date "Dec. 5, 1854" is given as being "taken from used stamps on the original covers," but this must certainly be a mistake. The "summary" also gives the quantities issued to postmasters by quarters, and there were none issued (naturally) in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1854. In the next quarter, ending Mar. 31, 1855, there were 16,200 issued to postmasters, so that the first issue probably took place soon after receipt, that is, in January, 1855. The total number received from the manufacturers in this first delivery was 100,080.

The plate for this stamp is stated to have been made up for printing sheets of 100 impressions in ten rows of ten, like the three values of 1851, and also to have had the eight marginal imprints. But there are reasons for[Pg 52] thinking it may have been made to print 120 impressions, ten rows of twelve each, concerning which more will be said later. Suffice it to remark here that the number delivered (100,080) is exactly divisible by 120, making 834 full sheets, which is not the case if 100 is used. The normal color of the stamp is a very deep blue.

The design of the new 10d., illustrated as No. 3 on Plate I, corresponds in general style to the 6d. and 12d. of 1851, but the portrait in the central oval is of Jacques Cartier, the explorer and founder of Canada. There has been some discussion over the identity of the original, it having been claimed that the subject was Sebastian Cabot, the discoverer, just as the portrait on the 6d. stamp has been assigned to Lord Elgin, Governor-General of Canada from 1846 to 1854.[37] Unfortunately no circular announcing the issue of the stamp has come to hand, and, as seen from the quotation already given, the report of the Postmaster General does not give us the information. It is nevertheless a fact that the portrait represents Cartier, the original being a three-quarter length painting in the Hotel de Ville at St. Malo, France, the birthplace of Cartier. The inscriptions in the oval frame are in this case separated by a small picture of the beaver at the right, and three maple leaves at the left. The value is expressed as TEN PENCE, with the numerals "10" in the lower spandrels, followed by the letters "cy" for "currency." In the upper spandrels is the corresponding value in sterling money, expressed as "8d stg". The relation between sterling and currency values and their equivalents in the decimal coinage of the United States was fixed by law, and the matter seems important enough to reproduce the statute here.

16o Vict. Cap. CLVIII.

An Act to regulate the Currency. [Assented to 14th June, 1853.]

* * * * *

II. And be it enacted, That the denominations of money in the Currency of this Province, shall be pounds, dollars, shillings, pence, cents and mills: the pound, shilling and penny shall have, respectively, the same proportionate values as they now have, the dollar shall be one-fourth of a pound, the cent shall be one-hundredth of a dollar, and the mill one-tenth of a cent....

III. And be it enacted, That the Pound Currency shall be held to be equivalent to and to represent one hundred and one grains and three hundred and twenty-one thousandths of a grain Troy weight of Gold of the Standard of fineness now prescribed by Law for the Gold Coins of the United Kingdom; and the Dollar Currency shall be held to be equivalent to and to represent one fourth part of the weight aforesaid of Gold of the said Standard....[Pg 53]

IV. And be it enacted, That the Pound Sterling shall be held to be equal to one pound, four shillings and four pence, or four dollars, eighty-six cents and two-thirds of a cent, Currency....

* * * * *

IX. And be it enacted, That ... the Gold Eagle of the United States, coined after [1st. July, 1834], ... and weighing ten penny weights, eighteen grains, Troy weight, shall pass current and be a legal tender in this Province for ten Dollars or two pounds ten shillings currency....

Further supplies of the 10d. stamp were not needed for three years, the next lot, numbering 72,120, having been delivered during the year ending 30th Sept., 1858, according to the table of stamp statistics. These two lots were the only ones delivered, and the balance on hand when the decimal stamps appeared being 31,200, we find a total issue for the 10d. stamp of 141,000.

Puzzling questions seem to be the rule with this first series of Canadian stamps, and the 10d. is no exception. The stamp occurs, to all appearances, in at least two sizes, one of which has been termed the "wide oval" and the other the "narrow oval." These are well brought out by illustrations Nos. 70 (wide) and 71 (narrow) on Plate IV. Very likely the peculiarity was noticed much earlier, but it seems to have been brought to the attention of collectors generally for the first time by Mr. W. H. Brouse, in a paper read before the London Philatelic Society on Feb. 3, 1894.[38] We quote this entire:—

"I have carefully read such Philatelic articles or publications relating to British North American stamps as have come under my notice, but have as yet not come across anything relating to the difference in Canadians that is to be found in the 7½d. Canadian currency (6d. sterling), green, and the 10d., blue, and so concluded that it may have passed my observation, or, if not, has not yet been 'written up.' Will you therefore pardon a short note on the subject?

"Of the 10d., blue, there are three distinct varieties in design, viz.,

"The outside edges or ornaments are in all three cases the same, but the difference lies in the fact of the oval or frame around the head having been, as the case may be, elongated or contracted, or sometimes widened out.[Pg 54]

"The extreme variation in length is about one-sixteenth of an inch, which is considerable in a postage stamp. I doubt very much if this happened through intention, but rather think that it is the result of what might be termed 'engravers' license.' However, whatever it may be, the result is that there are three distinct varieties.

"It will, I think, be found that the earlier one of these is the long and narrow, on thinnish paper; then the long and broad (which is the most common), on thicker paper; and lastly, the short and broad, on medium paper. The latter is the scarcer, and consequently the most valuable.

"I have for a long time known of the above differences, and at first thought it only an optical delusion, owing to some of the copies having had their sides closely trimmed, but on closer observation the distinct differences, as I have mentioned, were manifest. What is said of the 10d. may also be said of the 7½d. (but to a lesser degree of variation), only the latter are generally found in the long and broad frame or oval. A slight difference also occurs in the 6d., violet; no variation appears in the length of the stamp, though I have two specimens in which the oval or frame shows a contraction in width to the extent of about one-forty-eighth of an inch, and is quite noticeable.

"This may be 'piper's news' to some of the members of the Philatelic Society, London, but to others it may be of interest, and for that reason I beg your indulgence."

Mr. Castle, in reading the foregoing paper at the meeting of the London Philatelic Society, shewed specimens of the stamps described by Mr. Brouse, and added a few remarks as under.

"I venture to think the modest disclaimer on the part of Mr. Brouse, in his closing sentence, is hardly borne out in view of the interesting communication he has made. To me the information was certainly novel, and I could hardly credit that there should exist such differences in size until I had verified the fact by examination of specimens. Owing to the kindness of Messrs. Stanley Gibbons, Limited, and Mr. W. H. Peckitt, I was enabled to inspect a number of these pence issues, and I have tabulated the measurements as nearly as I can:—

(a) 22 × 18½ mm.Medium thick
(b) 22½ × 18 mm.Medium thick
(a) 22 (full) × 18 mm.Very thin wove
(a) 22 × 18mm.Very thin laid
(b) 22½ × 17½ mm.Thin
(c) 22¾ × 17½ mm.Thick
(a) 22 × 18 mm.Thin wove
(a) 22 × 18 mm.Thin Laid
(b) 22¾ × 17¾ mm.Thick
(a) 22¼ × 18½ mm. (bare)Med. thick
(a) 22½ × 18½ mm.Medium thick
(a) 22¾ × 18 mm.Medium thick
(a) 22¾ × 18½ mm.Medium thick
(a) 22¾ × 17½ mm.Thin to very thin
(b) 22½ × 18 mm. (full)Thick
(b) 22¾ × 18½ mm. (bare)Thick
(c) 22 × 18 mm.Thin

[Pg 55]

"The varieties of the Tenpence are those described by Mr. Brouse as (a) long and narrow, (b) long and broad, and (c) short and broad. I may add that in the case of this value I have examined and measured some forty copies, including a strip of three, as also a proof on very thin India paper, which corresponds exactly in measurement with variety (b) on the thick paper (22¾ × 18½mm.). It is obvious that to be absolutely accurate beyond a half mm. with an ordinary gauge is hardly possible, but in several of the given cases I have averaged the sizes of several that very closely approximated.

"As will be seen, I have gone somewhat beyond the lines of Mr. Brouse's paper in including the ½d., the 3d., and 6d., the variation in the former being slight, but in the two latter noteworthy. The question how these varieties have arisen is an interesting one, nor can I see that they can be accounted for by shrinkage of the paper, as in the case of the 10d. proof above cited, which is on all fours with the ordinary stamp on thick paper. In the case of the strip of this value I found all three stamps measured the same, and the fact remains that variety (c) is short and broad. In any case the existence of these varieties is palpable, the question of their origin a genuine philatelic problem, and I think that the thanks of us all are therefore due to Mr. Brouse for his interesting paper."

This may have been the first record of the peculiarity in the case of the Canadian stamps, but it was at least not the first time that variation in the dimensions of certain line engraved stamps, supposed to have been produced from the same original die, had been noted and discussed. We refer to the case of the early Ceylon stamps, which furnished food for contention in the philatelic press for many years. The first mention of a difference in the length of these seems to have been in December, 1864.[39] Ten years later the reference list of Ceylon prepared by the London Philatelic Society[40] noted the fact that the stamps of 1863 on unwatermarked paper were in general about a millimeter shorter in the vertical dimension than the succeeding issue on paper watermarked Crown C C, although the engraved designs were otherwise absolutely identical. Major Edw. B. Evans, in his catalogue,[41] appends a note on the unwatermarked stamps of 1863 as follows:—

These stamps are apparently (indeed, we may say certainly) from the same plates as the other issues, but at the same time the impressions on this paper are about 1-16 inch shorter than those on other papers. This can only have been occasioned by the paper having shrunk to some extent since the stamps were printed....

[Pg 56]Later, in 1887, Mr. T. K. Tapling, writing in Le Timbre-Poste,[42] claims the difference cannot be due to shrinkage of paper because the stamps have all shrunk evenly, and attributes it to some defect in the process of making the plates. He reasons thus:—

Les timbres sur les feuilles de n'importe quelle valeur étaient tous identiques comme type. Ils furent gravés sur acier, je pense par MM. Perkins Bacon et Co., chaque timbre par un procédé de réduplication, étant reproduit d'une matrice; la planche étant ensuite durcie pour l'impression. Il n'y a par conséquent pas de variété de types, les lignes des gravures sur les timbres courts étant les mêmes que celles sur les timbres longs, excepté qu'elles sont un tant soit peu contractées.... Il me semble plus que probable que la différence en longeur des exemplaires puisse être attribuée à un léger défaut dans le procédé de réduplication des planches de la matrice originale.

As a matter of fact the stamps did not shrink evenly, but very unevenly. Mr. W. B. Thornhill, writing on these same stamps in 1889,[43] says:—"You can hardly find two stamps of exactly the same measurements in the same value, though the difference in many cases is too small to signify"; and he proceeds to show the extreme variations in a carefully prepared table including every value on every variety of paper for issues from 1855 to 1867. The greatest variation in the vertical dimension seems to be about 1 mm. in 26 mm., or roughly 4%, and in the horizontal dimension about ¼ to ½ mm. in 19 mm. or roughly 1¼ to 2½%. These dimensional differences being so palpably existent, therefore, what factors are we to consider in looking for their cause? There seem to be but three: first, an original die or matrix for each different size; second, one original die only, whose impressions on the printing plate show variations resulting from the process of transferring them; third, a printing plate with all the impressions exact duplicates of the one original die, but whose reproductions in ink on dampened paper are varied by the shrinkage of the paper in drying.

Mr. Thornhill convinces himself by inspection that the first proposition is untenable; in fact its absurdity is at once apparent on a little thought, for the engraving of the original die is a laborious and costly piece of work, and that very fact, coupled with the comparative ease of exact reduplication by mechanical processes on the printing plate, furnishes the chief reason for the employment of this method of producing stamps. Since there is such[Pg 57] a variety in the size of the stamps, therefore, the first theory would indicate many original dies, and this we know was not the case. Its refutation indeed is seen in the stamps themselves; for each original die, if differing in size from its fellows, meant a separate engraving, and it is humanly impossible to make these separate engravings exact duplicates, whereas, on the other hand, no appreciable variation in line or dot can be detected on the same stamp in its different sizes save the general expansion or contraction of the design, which is proportionate in all its parts. The different die or matrix theory is therefore thrown out on grounds of impracticability and absurdity.

Accepting the one original die proposition, then, Mr. Thornhill agrees with Mr. Tapling in turning down the shrinkage of paper theory and favoring the second supposition, that the variation comes on the plates and is due to the process of transference. Let us glance at this a moment. The original die is engraved on a block of soft steel of very fine and even quality. When finished it is tempered to a very great degree of hardness. Next the engraving is transferred by tremendous pressure to a transferring roller of similar soft steel, which is in turn hardened. In this process there might be an opportunity for a slight variation in the size of the transferred impression, due to the expansion and contraction of the steel in the tempering process. Next, this hardened transfer roller is impressed upon the printing plate of soft steel as many times as there are copies desired. These naturally all agree among themselves and with the transfer roller impression in size. Now when the printing plate in turn receives its hardening, there may again be a chance for a slight difference between the transfer roller and the plate impressions; but it is wholly unlikely that the plate impressions will vary much among themselves, otherwise the perfection of Mr. Jacob Perkins' invention, the chief merit of which was exact reduplication, would be impaired. As a matter of fact, the high grade and even quality of the steel necessarily employed, and the care naturally taken in hardening the plate, preclude any other than an even variation, if any, due to the tempering process. This means that such variations would be practically constant over the printing surface of the plate, and that therefore the impressions would still remain practically identical in size.

Where, then, does this bring us? With such numerous and well defined variations in dimensions in the printed stamps, we should look for the cause in the simplest and most natural method by which they could readily be pro[Pg 58]duced, which is furnished by the third theory presented. Concerning this we quote from the London Philatelic Society's work on Ceylon:[44]

In reference to the variations in the size of the stamps of Issues III and V [no watermark and Crown CC], Major Evans, who was the first to propound the theory that these variations were due to differences in the nature of the paper employed, writes as follows:—

"The theory of the expansion and contraction of the paper being now pretty generally accepted, as accounting for the variations observed in the size of the stamps of the early issues of Ceylon, it seems necessary to explain exactly what that theory is, and how these differences are supposed to arise. Previous to printing from plates engraved in taille-douce the paper is wetted, which, as is well known, causes it to expand; the amount of expansion varies, no doubt, considerably in different kinds of paper, and it must also vary with the amount of moisture in the same kind of paper, for as the paper dries it returns to its original dimensions, and, therefore, up to a certain point, the wetter it is the greater will be the expansion. In any case the paper is in a state of expansion at the time of printing, both from being wetted and from being stretched out flat and pressed, and the impression when first printed is then, and then only, in all cases the size of the engraving upon the plate. It then dries, and in so doing contracts, and the greater the amount of expansion the greater will be the amount of the subsequent contraction, so that the smallest stamps are those printed on the paper which expanded most, and the largest those on the paper which expanded least. The minor variations of size may be due to the paper being more or less damp when used, but probably a very slight difference in the thickness or density of the paper would cause some variation in its expansion. The marked difference in size of the stamps on thin, unwatermarked paper, which were the first to attract the attention of Philatelists, is no doubt due to that particular variety of paper, which is very tough and elastic, and which has been found to expand very greatly on being wetted and stretched."

So much for the Ceylon stamps, which we have discussed in extenso; but we have only to substitute in every case a reference to the first Canadian issues, particularly the 10d. which we started out with, to make the discussion apply with equal force in this case as in the other. The question is the same—the variations occur in the same way, the method of engraving and reproduction is the same, and the varieties in the paper are very similar.

Major Evans, in a reply to Mr. Thornhill's paper,[45] states that he tried some experiments in wetting a thin, tough note paper, and found an expansion of three per cent., while by stretching it he increased the expansion to eight per cent, without difficulty! Yet the greatest variation in Mr. Thornhill's table was only four per cent. Major Evans then tried some of the 1863[Pg 59] Newfoundland stamps, which he judged were on paper of almost the same nature as that of the unwatermarked Ceylons of the same year, and they gave precisely similar results.

Mr. Frank C. Young, who was in the printing business, also tells of similar experiments which he carried still further.[46]

Having provided some twenty-five sheets of paper of different qualities and thicknesses, each was cut into sixteen pieces. Selecting a common half tone cut which measured exactly 100 × 69 mm. and dampening the sheets of paper to different degrees of wetness I proceeded to impress the cut on each sheet, using a common roller proof press. After the printed sheets had been allowed to dry it became a matter of a good millimeter gauge and careful measurements of the printed impressions, not the paper.

... Hardly two sheets of the whole lot were identical in size, nor was I able to formulate any table as to how much or how little or which way of the paper shrinkage would occur. The only general rule which seemed to come out clearly was that thin paper would invariably shrink more than thick. In many of the sheets the difference was barely noticeable, while, on the other hand, such measurements as 96 × 68, 97 × 68½, 99 × 67½, 98 × 68 mm. were fairly common, and one sheet, after several very careful measurements, was undeniably 95½ × 69 mm., thus showing a shrinkage of 4½ per cent, one way and none at all the other. This was very thin laid linen paper.

Contrary to all expectations, more than one impression measured more than either the cut or those printed on dry paper, one on thin wove paper being fully 101 mm. long.

Looking back now at Mr. Castle's tables,[47] we find his greatest variations in length amount to ¾ mm. in 22 mm., or roughly 3½%, and in width 1 mm. in 18 mm., or roughly 5½%—results entirely within bounds according to Major Evans' and Mr. Young's experiments, and doubtless settling once and for all the reason of the "three distinct varieties in design" of Mr. Brouse.

As for the paper actually used for the printing of the 10d. stamp, we find it a hard, white wove variety varying very much in thickness from a very thin, almost pelure quality, through which the design is quite plainly evident, to a medium and finally a considerably thicker quality. The pelure paper seems naturally to be the one on which the greatest variation in dimensions occurs, the long and broad size of the stamp coming principally on the thicker paper,[48] which is supposed to shrink the least upon drying and therefore keeps the printed impression nearest the size of the plate impression. The long and narrow impression, being the commoner variation, was prob[Pg 60]ably due to the paper being fed to the press the same way of the "grain" as a rule, while the short and broad variation, which is much scarcer, occurred by an occasional sheet of paper being fed the other way of the "grain." That paper has a "grain" is readily proved by tearing a piece in one direction and then tearing it at right angles to the first tear; one will be found much easier of accomplishment generally than the other, and this "grain" doubtless has its due effect in the amount of shrinkage in one way or the other upon drying a dampened sheet.

One further variety we have to record in the 10d. stamp, this being a "shifted transfer" variety similar to that occurring in the 3d. value. 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 evidently 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.

To continue again with the Postmaster General's reports. We find in that for 31st March, 1856, a note to the effect that the postage on letters to France had been once more reduced, this time to 10d. currency per ¼ oz., which gave further employment to the new 10d. stamp. There is also some information concerning the registry system, but this will be treated later under that head. One item is found in the accounts to interest us:—

Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, for printing 300,000 postage stamps for Post Office Department £15.2.3.

As only 3d. stamps were received during the year, this of course refers to that value, and the price charged is found to be practically one shilling, currency, per thousand, or twenty cents American money.

In June of 1857 the Canadian Parliament made further changes in the newspaper rates, etc., according to the following Act:—

20o Vict. Cap. XXV.
An Act to Amend the Post-Office Laws of this Province.
[Assented to 10th June 1857.]

Whereas it is expedient to amend the Post-Office Laws, in the manner hereafter provided: Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada enacts as follows:[Pg 61]

I. [Repeals sections I and V of 18o Vict. Cap. 79.][49]

II. Newspapers printed and published within this Province and addressed from the Office of Publication, shall be transmitted from the Post-Office where mailed to any other Post-Office in Canada, or to the United Kingdom, or to any British Colony or Possession, or to France, free of Canadian Postage.

III. Newspapers printed and published in the United Kingdom, or in any British Colony or Possession, or in France, when received in mails addressed to this Province, and directed to any place in Canada, shall pass through the Post and be delivered at the Post-Office addressed, free of Canadian postage.

IV. For the purposes of this Act, the word "newspapers" shall be held to mean periodicals published not less frequently than once in each week, and containing notices of passing events, or any such newspaper published fortnightly or monthly at the time of the passage of this Act.

V. Periodicals printed and published in this Province other than newspapers, when specially devoted to Religious and to General Education, to Agriculture or Temperance, or to any branch of Science, and addressed directly from the Office of Publication, shall be transmitted from the Post-Office where mailed to any other Post-Office in this Province free of postage.

VI. Letters and other mailable matter addressed to or sent by the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Legislative Council or of the Legislative Assembly, or to or by any Member of the Legislature at the seat of Government, during any session of the Legislature, or addressed to any of the Members or Officers in this section mentioned, at the seat of Government as aforesaid, during the ten days next before the meeting of Parliament, shall be free of postage.

VII. So much of the twelfth section of the Post-Office Act, passed in the session held in the 14th and 15th years of Her Majesty's Reign and chaptered 71, as requires the Postmaster General to make to the Governor General of this Province, annually, certain Reports for the purpose of being laid before the Provincial Parliament at each Session thereof, for the year ending the fifth day of April previous to such Session, is hereby repealed; and it shall, hereafter, be the duty of the Postmaster General to furnish such Reports annually so that they may be laid before the Provincial Parliament within ten days after the assembling thereof, and such Annual Reports shall be made up to the thirtieth day of September previous to each Session.

* * * * *

X. This Act shall take effect on and from the first day of August next.

Although the enactment clause made the above Act operative on 1st August, 1857, because of which we should not expect it to affect the Postmaster General's report for the year ending 31st March, 1857, yet we find[Pg 62] this report dated 30th September, 1857, thus including the year and a half from 1st April, 1856. Among other items of interest in this report we find the following:—

There is very material economy of labor to the Department in dealing with letters pre-paid 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 pre-payment by stamp enables the Post Office to afford for posting and delivering letters so pre-paid.

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 some time 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 pre-payment of letters passing from Canada to England by the Canadian steamers, a new stamp bearing value at 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.

The above is the only reference we have to the issue of the 7½d. stamp. The accounts for the fiscal year ending 30th September, 1857, contain the following item:—

"Rawdon, Wright and Co., Postage Stamps, £165.9.6"

which must include the cost of dies and plates for the two new values. There is no record of the date of issue of the 7½d. stamp, as far as our research has gone. The London Society's work[50] gives it as June 2, 1857, but upon what authority is not stated. It will be recalled that a stamp of this value was suggested, in company with the 10d., in the Postmaster General's report for 31st March, 1854, as being the reduced rate granted in that same month on letters sent "direct from a Provincial Port, Quebec or Halifax," to England. The Halifax Philatelist states:[51]—"This stamp was rendered necessary on account of the contract between the Canadian Government and the Allan Line of Steamers in regard to carrying the mails, and by which contract the postage was reduced." It hardly seems to have been very "necessary" when it took three years at least to bring the Postmaster General's suggestion to[Pg 63] a realization. Besides, the Allan Line steamers began their service over a year before the appearance of the stamp, and the rate it represented had even then been in force for two years, nor was it reduced for many years thereafter.

The Postmaster General's Report for 1856 says:—

The month of May, 1856, was marked by the first voyage to the St. Lawrence of the line of Canadian Mail Steamers, under the contract between Mr. Hugh Allan of Montreal, and the Provincial Government. These vessels have performed the service for which they were bound, with laudable punctuality, and have crossed the Atlantic at an average speed which compares successfully with the performances of the steamers of the Cunard and Collins lines from New York and Boston.

The average time of passage is given as—Westward, 12 days, 20½ hours; Eastward, 11 days, 2 hours.

The design of the stamp was simply adapted from that of the discarded 12d. stamp, as will readily be seen from the illustration (No. 5 on Plate I). The inscriptions were changed to CANADA PACKET POSTAGE, which of course referred to the fast mail steamers then known as "packets," and not to any "parcel post" as is sometimes erroneously stated; and SIX PENCE STERLING, a new departure in labeling a Canadian stamp. Like the 10d. that preceded it, however, the corresponding values were inserted in the spandrels, "6d. stg." in the left hand pair and "7½d. cy." in the right hand pair. The stamp is generally listed under its "currency" value to conform with the rest of the set and avoid confusion with the regular "six pence" stamp. The normal color of the stamp is a dark green.

The 7½d. stamp is known to have been arranged on the plate for printing sheets of 120 stamps, ten rows of twelve stamps each, this being to facilitate the reckoning in English money. The eight marginal imprints appeared as on the other values. There was but one supply received, on the first order, of 100,080 stamps which, if we divide by 120, gives an even 834 sheets. Now, if we but glance back at the first supply received of the 10d. stamp[52] we find exactly the same number, evenly divisible by 120 but not by 100. The second supply of the 10d. stamp works out in exactly the same way,—72,120 makes an even 601 sheets at 120 per sheet. Is it not probable to suppose, therefore, in the absence of entire sheets or horizontal[Pg 64] rows of the 10d. stamp, that the latter was also printed in sheets of 120, as previously suggested, instead of sheets of 100 as stated in Mr. King's article?[53]

When the issue of the decimal stamps took place, on July 1, 1859, there were 17,670 of the 7½d. stamps on hand, so that the total issue of this value was 82,410 copies.

As will be gathered from Mr. Brouse's paper, which we quoted in connection with the 10d. stamp, a similar variation in the width of the oval is to be found in the case of the 7½d. stamp, but the extremes are not so great and it is therefore not so noticeable. A glance at the table of measurements[54] will show that the variation in width is confined to a half millimeter and that in height to practically the same amount. Of course the discussion and conclusions detailed at length under the 10d. stamp apply with equal force in the present instance, and the fact that the 7½d. stamp is not found on the very thin paper probably accounts for the lack of extreme variations. It was printed upon paper of the same kind as used for the 10d., but only on the medium and thicker qualities. A pair of the stamps in juxtaposition, showing the wide oval and the narrow oval, will be found as numbers 67 and 68 respectively on Plate IV.

The last—and also least—of the pence issues was the half-penny stamp. There had been a need for this value since the introduction of stamps, for there were several rates that were impossible to make up with the denominations that were issued and which therefore had to be paid in money. Among these were the ½d. charge on newspapers from 1851 to 1855, the same charge per ounce on magazines and books during the entire period, the ½d. and 1d. carrier's fees, the 1d. rate on circulars and on soldier's letters, and the several 7½d. rates for letters and for the book post with England. But the Act last quoted,[55] which restored a charge on transient newspapers, seems to have been the direct cause of the belated issue of the half-penny stamp. The circular announcing its issue is as follows:[56]


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[Pg 65] 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 pre-paid by Postage stamp—one halfpenny on each Newspaper, and on each Periodical, 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 London Society's work gives the date of issue of the ½d. value as 18th July, 1857, and it is clearly seen from the preceding notice where the date was obtained. But it is more likely that the stamp was issued on 1st. August, the day the new rates took effect.

The new stamp was very plain, as will be seen from the illustration, No. 4 on Plate I. The profile head of Queen Victoria was quite evidently taken from the head on the British penny stamp. The usual inscription, CANADA POSTAGE, occupies the upper part of the oval frame, and ONE HALF PENNY the lower part, but the value is not expressed by numerals in the corners, as on all the other stamps of the issue, the spandrels being merely filled in with a reticulated pattern. The stamp was printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten, with the eight marginal imprints as described for the series of 1851.

The tables of statistics in the Postmaster General's reports give the number of ½d. stamps received previous to 1st. October, 1857, as 1,341,600; during the next fiscal year 1,258,920 were received; and between 1st. October, 1858 and 30th June, 1859, when they were superseded, 850,100 more arrived, making a total stock of 3,450,620. The balance on hand when the decimal series was issued was 60,660, which makes the total issue of the ½d. stamp 3,389,960.

The normal color of the stamp is a deep rose. It is found printed on a soft ribbed paper, with the ribbing both horizontal and vertical, as well as on the ordinary hard white wove paper of this issue in both the thin and thicker qualities.[Pg 66]

The London Society's work has the following remarks:[57]

Two soi-disant provisionals have been chronicled; viz., the Halfpenny surcharged in black—one with an Arabic numeral "1," and the other with "8d. STG." The Society can furnish no information concerning these two stamps; but supposing the surcharges to be genuine, they are probably only notifications of insufficient postage applied after the letters were posted.

We find that the original chronicle of these varieties was in Le Timbre-Poste in 1869. Concerning them M. Moens writes as follows:—

Un de nos correspondants nous annonce qu'il possède un timbre rose ½ penny, surchargé de la marque: 8 d. stg. Cette émission, provisoire sans doute, doit être le résultat de la penurie momentanée de timbres 10 pence, dans un ou plusieurs bureaux secondaires.[58]

And in the next issue of the paper:—

On nous a montré le ½ p. rose, non dentélé, surchargé en noir, du chiffre 1, de 20 mm. environ et placé dans le sens horizontal. C'est probablement encore un timbre émis provisoirement, pour une raison qui nous échappe, le 1 penny n'ayant jamais existé. Quant au timbre dont nous avons parlé le mois dernier, le chiffre 8 et la lettre S ont pour dimension 16 mm.[59]

We think all idea of a "surcharge" can be at once dismissed, as the raising of the value, particularly to 8d., would be a very foolish and doubtless wholly unnecessary proceeding, and certainly some record of such procedure would have been found ere this. The impressions were probably from rating stamps that were accidentally struck on the postage stamps, or possibly used purposely as cancellations.

The report of the Postmaster General for the 30th Sept. 1858, notes the fact that previous to 1854 all newspapers were rated at ½d. each, but in that year were granted free transmission. Concerning the new regulations it continues:—

In pursuance of the Act of 1857, limiting free transmission to such as are posted directly from the office of publication, a halfpenny rate, pre-payable by postage stamps, has been taken since 1st. August, 1857 on all transient newspapers—that is, papers posted by individuals other than the Publishers.

[Pg 67]

The same report states:—"The Department has, from 1st. January, 1859, put in operation an arrangement for the conveyance of Parcel Packets between any two Post Offices in Canada with the ordinary mails." The charge was fixed at 1s. 3d. per pound with a maximum weight of two pounds, and prepayment was enforced.

In the Department accounts we find the following:—

Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Co., Supply of letter and newspaper stamps£99.6.6

which was simply a printing bill. The last payment for the pence issue of stamps appears in the report for 30th Sept., 1859, and is for the deliveries during the nine months from 30th. Sept. 1858 to 30th June, 1859, when the pence stamps were retired. The charge is given in decimal currency:—

Rawdon, Wright & Co., supply of letter and newspaper stamps$238.69

The report for 1858 gives an interesting table showing the growth of the postal business by decades for the thirty years previous. The remarkable increase during the last period, within which the Province assumed control and the use of stamps was introduced, is to be noted:—

YearNumber of
P. Offices
Miles of
P. Routes

The year 1859 brings us to the end of the pence issues, but before leaving them there is still one more question to consider, that of the perforated varieties, which will form the subject of the next chapter.

[33] 14o & 15o Vict., cap. LXXI, sec. 12.

[34] This is explained in the report for 1853 as being "a clerical error for 71,726."

[35] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[36] Monthly Journal, VII: 9.

[37] Philatelic Record, X: 50.

[38] London Philatelist, III: 34.

[39] The Stamp Collectors' Magazine, II: 191.

[40] The Philatelist, IX: 10.

[41] A Catalogue for Collectors, page 39.

[42] Le Timbre-Poste, Numéro Jubilaire, page XXXV.

[43] Philatelic Record, XI: 71.

[44] Postage Stamps, &c., of British India and Ceylon, page 69.

[45] Philatelic Record, XI: 158.

[46] Canada Stamp Sheet, IV: 173.

[47] See page 54.

[48] See page 56.

[49] See page 50.

[50] The Postage Stamps, etc., of the North American Colonies of Great Britain, page 14.

[51] Halifax Philatelist, II: 74.

[52] See page 51.

[53] Monthly Journal, VII: 8.

[54] See page 54.

[55] See pages 60-61.

[56] Canada Stamp Sheet, IV: 184.

[57] The Stamps, etc., of the North American Colonies of Great Britain, page 14.

[58] Le Timbre-Poste, VII: 82.

[59] ibid. VII: 94.

[Pg 68]



The perforated series of the pence issues of Canada furnishes another one of those knotty problems for which these stamps are noted. The first intimation of the improvement that was announced officially appears in the Report of the Postmaster General for 30th September, 1857, in these words:—

Moreover, the Department has been led, by the increasing use of Postage Stamps, to take measures for obtaining the Canadian Postage Stamps on 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.

One would naturally suppose that the stamps would be ordered in this condition from the manufacturers, and we think they were; but no further light is thrown upon the matter by the Reports, and other facts that persist in intruding themselves have given rise to a theory that the Department either bought perforating machines of its own and operated upon the stock on hand, or engaged some local concern to perforate the stock in question. This might have been done, but if so why were the 7½ and 10 pence stamps omitted? Again, had such been the case, it is passing strange that the ½ penny, issued unperforated but two months before the date of the report, should be approximately twice as common in that state as perforated. In the case of the 3d., taking stock on hand the 30th September, 1857, and subsequent deliveries, two-fifths of the entire issue should have been perforated, which would make the latter stamps almost as common as the earlier issues; while in the case of the 6d., under similar conditions, almost the same ratio holds, the figures being a trifle more in favor of the perforated series. This does not conform with facts at all, and it can hardly be explained by supposing that a relatively small stock of but three values was operated upon in 1857 and the improvement then dropped for a couple of years.

For further proof of the incorrectness of this theory we think the following fact speaks for itself. Appended to each Postmaster General's Report are various tables of expenditures. One of these statements is headed:[Pg 69]

"Sums paid in discharge of Tradesmen's Bills," and in it are found the amounts paid to various parties named for all kinds of supplies furnished the Department. This is where the payments to the engravers of the stamps appear, as well as items for cancelling stamps, post-marks, etc. Now a careful examination of all items for the years 1857, 1858 and 1859 fails to disclose any payment either for purchase of a perforating machine or for having the stamps perforated by outside parties. This may be "negative evidence" but we feel that it has its due weight.

Nevertheless, we find at least two other perforations on stamps of this issue besides the regulation gauge 12, which has made it appear to some that the Department might have experimented with means of separation before settling definitely on the type adopted. The stamp operated upon was the 3d., probably as being the most commonly employed value, which would naturally be the case were the perforations the efforts of private parties. The first "irregular" perforation was listed by Major Evans[60] as gauging 13, and the London Society's work lists it as well, probably following the earlier catalog. But Messrs. Corwin and King state:[61]—"This perforation is totally unknown in America, and we doubt its existence." Neither the Pack nor the Worthington collection contains a copy and we think it can be passed by.

The next perforation is of gauge 14, and this is well known though of extreme rarity. Messrs. Corwin and King did not know of over twenty specimens in 1891. We are fortunate in being able to illustrate a fine used pair on piece of cover from the Pack collection as No. 128 on Plate XIII. Most unfortunately, however, as will be noted, some vandal cut the cover, though perhaps unwittingly, just so as to destroy most of the postmark and thus lose forever the date and place of mailing. Messrs. Corwin and King state:[62]

We have lately seen a pair of 3d. perf. 14, upon the original cover, but which, unfortunately, presents a most indistinct dating stamp, and, although endorsed by the recipient with date of writing, May 30, date of receipt and date of reply, all three year dates are so indistinctly written that one is unable to tell whether it is 1857 or 1859, although we think the former was the date. Should this be the case it would seem as though the perf. 14 and another curious perforation just discovered ... were experimental, or provisional, pending the receipt from the makers of those perf. 12. Most of the few stamps perf. 14 which we have seen, appear cut on one or more[Pg 70] sides with the shears, as though the users were not familiar with the advantages of perforation as a means of separating the stamps, and adhering in a measure to the old methods. This is one of the reasons which lead us to believe that these stamps, perf. 14, were issued before those perf. 12, because the latter are almost invariably separated by tearing apart as is proper.... The writer has in his collection seven copies of the 3d. perf. 14, and of these four specimens show double perforation on one or more sides. It is a rare occurrence when a double perforation is found upon any of the stamps so treated by the American Bank Note Co. or their predecessors, and when we find four out of seven specimens in that condition, we are justified in stating that these stamps, gauging 14, were never perforated by the makers.

In another part of the article just quoted is the following:[63]

The American Bank Note Co. and Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, their predecessors, have never, according to official information from them, employed any other gauge than 12, in fact they call 12 their standard and only perforation. Allowing that they did perforate the ones found perf. 12 (which are the rule, while those perf. 14 are the exception), then those perf. 14 must have been certainly operated upon elsewhere than in the shops of the Bank Note Co., where this perforation is unknown.

From all the foregoing we can seem to make but one deduction for the 3d. perforated 14 and that is—unofficial. The dated cover, if 1859, would be but a month before the issue of the decimal stamps, and the regular "perf. 12" stamps were plentifully supplied at that time. It would therefore seem that the date must have been 1857, as suggested, which would have been well ahead of the appearance of the "perf. 12" issues as we shall see later. Then the fact that the manufacturers cannot be held responsible for this perforation, and the Department accounts furnish no item of expenditure directly traceable to such work, make it seem wholly probable that it was done by private parties for their own or customers' convenience.

The "curious perforation" alluded to as just discovered was announced by the Scott Stamp & Coin Co. as follows:[64]

Canada.—In a large lot of pence issues purchased by us lately, we have found two copies of 3 pence on grayish 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.

[Pg 71]With regard to the deductions given, we think that what we have already presented concerning the unofficial character of the gauge 14 perforation applies with even more force in the present instance, and we unhesitatingly put these two curios in the "privately perforated" class.

Messrs. Corwin and King give further details as follows:[65]

As one of them has passed into the possession of the writer, we are able to particularize somewhat with reference to this particular perforation.... Our specimen is from the bottom of the sheet, or else the shears have been used, so that we find the perforation as it originally existed between each stamp, before separation. This perforation consists of oblique curved parallel cuts; they are not straight, but show a very decided curve from right to left, looking at the face of the stamp. The other sides of our specimen present, having been torn from the stamp on either side, a very well defined saw-tooth perforation, very much like that found on the Bremen stamps, but much coarser, clearly gauging 13. It occurs to us that, perhaps, this is the 13 perforation listed by the London Society, although, had a specimen been before the society when the reference list was compiled, the peculiarity of this style of perforation would surely have been noted by them.

To return to the general subject, Mr. Donald A. King in his own article says:[66]

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 of perforation ever used by the manufacturers, or their successors, the American Bank Note Company; indeed, they call 12 their standard and only gauge.

The stamps in issue from the time of the announcement of perforation in the Report of 1857, to the appearance of the decimal stamps in 1859, were the ½d., 3d., 6d., 7½d., and 10d. values, but only the first three appeared with perforations. The first supply of the 10d. stamp, as we know, was received in January 1855, and was naturally unperforated. The first and[Pg 72] only supply of the 7½d. stamp was received probably in the second quarter of 1857, and these were all unperforated. The first supply of the ½d. stamp was doubtless delivered about midsummer of 1857, and these were evidently all unperforated. The other supplies received in the fiscal year of 1857 were 300,000 of the 3d. in September 1856, and the same number again in March 1857, together with the 50,078 of the 6d.[67] Evidently these were still in the unperforated class, as they were delivered before either the 7½d. or ½d. supplies. We must therefore look to the supplies delivered after the 30th September, 1857, as a basis for reckoning up the perforated series. The values and quantities given in the stamp accounts (already quoted) are as follows:—

Rec'd, yr. ending 30th Sept. 18581,258,920900,000100,00072,120
Rec'd. half-yr. end'g 30th June, 1859850,100449,90070,000
Balance on hand 30th June, 1859 (destroyed)60,66021,70017,57831,200

The first thing that confronts us here is a second supply of the 10d. stamp in this supposed "perforated period," over half of which was issued for sale, and yet the 10d. stamp is practically unknown in a perforated condition! We say practically, because the London Society's work[68] remarks:—"The Seven Pence Halfpenny, green, and Ten Pence, blue, perforated, exist in the collection of a well known Parisian collector. The authenticity, however, of the perforations appears to be doubtful." We think it is more than doubtful, as it is practically certain that neither value was ever issued in this condition. Messrs. Corwin and King state:[69]—"We agree with the Society in doubting the authenticity of the 7½d. and 10 pence, perforated, as these stamps, thus treated, have never been seen in America, nor can anything be ascertained from the makers of the Stamps or the Canadian Post Office Department concerning them." The last statement is hardly convincing, for neither party referred to can give any more information concerning the other three values that we know were issued. We can heartily[Pg 73] subscribe to the next remark, however:—"We have no hesitation in pronouncing them impostors."

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 catalogs, both name the date as November 1858. Unfortunately no more authoritative statement has been found, except that in Messrs. Corwin and King's article[70] 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,"[71] 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 catalog 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 catalog 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 catalog 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 new supplies was given to the manufacturers much later than has hitherto been thought to[Pg 74] be the case? It hardly seems likely that this improvement would be ordered for a few supplies and then dropped, only to reappear 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 catalog 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 catalog 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 to seven. The inverse ratio of seven to one for a catalog 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 catalog 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 catalog 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 catalog 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 the following propositions in regard to the perforated stamps for further proof or disproof:—

First. The regular perforation (gauge 12) was done by the manufac[Pg 75]turers 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, Dec. 29, 1857, turned out to be bad. Of course perforated pence 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.

There is one point left which perhaps needs some attention. The London Society's work lists a 6d. on laid paper, perforated 12, and Mr. King has followed by including it in his reference list. This would imply that the Canadian Government had perforated its stock on hand, in which might be a few remainders of the early laid paper issue, and naturally would go far toward confirming that view of the origin of the perforated series. But this stamp seems to be an unknown quantity, almost as much so as the 3d. "perforated 13" of Major Evans' Catalogue. Mr. Pack says:[72]—"I have never heard of the 6d. perforated, on laid paper. It is catalogued in the Society's publication, but a copy, so far as I can learn, has never been seen in Canada or in the United States."

We have been interested to track this stamp, and have apparently found the original located in the Tapling collection, now housed at the British Museum. In a catalog of the Canadian portion of this collection by Gordon Smith,[73] we find two unused copies listed on laid paper, one marked "perf. 12" and the other "forged perf." The sequel is found in the American Journal of Philately for 1891[74] in the following note:—

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 shops 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.

[Pg 76]The paper upon which the perforated pence series is found seems to give further confirmation to the theory that they came from but one or possibly two printings. Outside of the two lower values on ribbed paper, which are rare, the series seems to be entirely on a hard, white wove paper, varying in thickness from a medium to a thicker quality, which is in every way similar to the paper employed for the succeeding cents issue. On the thin ribbed paper the London Society (1889) and Messrs. Corwin and King (1891) list the ½d. stamp, but this is not found in the catalog of the Tapling collection already referred to, nor in the Pack or Worthington collections; we have therefore listed it with a query. The 3d. stamp we have seen, however, and Mr. Pack says it "is a scarce stamp even in used condition, but in unused condition I find it one of the great rarities of Canada."[75]

As noted under Chapter II,[76] the use of split stamps was not usual, as in Nova Scotia, but Mr. King chronicles the 6d. perforated, in dark violet, split diagonally and used as a 3d. in like manner to its unperforated predecessor.

[60] A Catalogue for Collectors, page 33.

[61] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 226.

[62] ibid. I: 275.

[63] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 226.

[64] American Journal of Philately, 2d. Series, IV: 23.

[65] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 277.

[66] Monthly Journal, VII: 9.

[67] Metropolitan Philatelist, XVII: 83.

[68] North American Colonies of Great Britain, page 15.

[69] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 226.

[70] Metropolitan Philatelist, I: 275.

[71] ibid. I: 226.

[72] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[73] The Stamp News, X: 43.

[74] American Journal of Philately, 2d. Series, IV: 365.

[75] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[76] See page 32.

[Pg 77]



A rather interesting study, particularly for the collector of entires, is that of postmarks and cancellations, and sometimes much assistance in the solution of knotty questions is rendered by these often despised and neglected adjuncts to the proper use of postage stamps.

The early cancellations of Canada have been the subject of some attention, more so, in fact, than the postmarks, as they were required to be used on the stamps while the postmark was struck on the cover, where the date and place of mailing would be plainly visible. In one of the early volumes of reports it is stated that "Office Stamps and Seals were supplied from England on 21st July, 1851." It is presumed that this included postmarks and cancellations.

It will be remembered, perhaps, that in the circular announcing the issue of stamps in 1851[77] it was ordered that "Stamps so affixed are to be immediately cancelled ... with an instrument to be furnished for that purpose." The first one so supplied was the "concentric rings" cancellation, consisting of seven concentric circles and having an outer diameter of 18 mm. This is the most common of all, being found from the very earliest dates down to 1870, at least, as it occurs on the early shades of the "small" cents issue. It was generally struck in black ink, but may occasionally be found in a dull blue. A good illustration of this cancellation is seen on the cover numbered 90 on Plate VI.

By 1855, at least, a modified form of the concentric ring cancellation was introduced. This had a number in the center in large figures, some 8 mm. high, with four concentric circles enclosing it, the outside diameter being about 23 mm. This type was generally struck in black, but is sometimes found in a dull blue also. It can be seen on the strip of stamps numbered 81 on Plate V. The numbers, of course, were placed in the cancellations with a definite purpose, and a little study of entire covers shows that certain numbers were[Pg 78] assigned to certain post offices, as might be suspected. Number 21, for instance, is the most common one and will be found to be connected with Montreal. Further study will reveal the fact that the names of the post offices were taken in alphabetical order, and the numbers assigned to them consecutively in that way. Still further inspection develops the fact that most of the post offices were those in Upper Canada (or Canada West), while but a few of the most important ones were included from Lower Canada (or Canada East.)

Mr. Edgar Nelton seems first to have made a study of these numbers in an attempt to identify their corresponding post offices, and he published a list of some twenty-two as the result of his examination of many original covers.[78] The numbers run up to 52 at least, and using the facts that we have deduced concerning the arrangement of the names, we have endeavored to fill out his skeleton list with such offices as it seems possible may yet be identified with the corresponding numbers. We have done this with some assurance for the following reasons:—

We were fortunately able to examine a Canada Directory for 1857-8, and on looking up the postal information given therein, found a list of the money order offices then existing. This was in two sections, the first containing the names, alphabetically arranged, of 31 offices in "Class No. 1," which included most of the principal cities and towns; and the second a lengthy alphabetical list of offices in "Class No. 2." The first section had a somewhat familiar appearance, and inspection showed that a majority of the names on Mr. Nelton's list of numbered cancellations were there in proper order! But 21 more names were needed, according to the cancellation numbers, to fill out the latter series. The second section was therefore examined for such towns as had the largest populations and were presumably most important. The result enabled more than one name, already on Mr. Nelton's list, to be fitted in its proper place! Here, then, was apparently the solution of the first series of numbered cancellations, and we hazard a guess that the 52 names are the original list of money order offices, arranged when the money order system was instituted in February, 1855.

The subjoined table gives the list of post offices and their corresponding numbers, which has been worked out along the lines above mentioned. It is offered in the hope that more will be done to determine positively the cor[Pg 79]respondence between the two. The names in ordinary type are those that have been identified without any reasonable doubt; those that have been fitted in tentatively are in italics. The Roman numeral following indicates the Class to which the Money Order Office belongs.

1.Barrie, U. C.I
2.Belleville, U. C.I
3.Berlin, U. C.I
4.Bowmanville, U. C.I
5.Brantford, U. C.I
6.Brighton, U. C.II
7.Brockville, U. C.I
8.Chatham, U. C.I
9.Clinton, U. C.II
10.Cobourg, U. C.I
11.Cornwall, U. C.I
12.Dundas, U. C.I
13.Galt, U. C.I
14.Goderich, U. C.I
15.Guelph, U. C.I
16.Hamilton, U. C.I
17.Ingersoll, U. C.II
18.Kingston, U. C.I
19.London, U. C.I
20.Melbourne, L. C.II
21.Montreal, L. C.I
22.Napanee, U. C.II
23.Napierville, L. C.II
24.Newcastle, U. C.II
25.Niagara, U. C.I
26.Oakville, U. C.II
27.Ottawa, U. C.I
28.Paris, U. C.I
29.Perth, U. C.II
30.Peterborough, U. C.I
31.Picton, U. C.II
32.Port Dover, U. C.II
33.Port Hope, U. C.I
34.Port Sarnia, U. C.II
35.Prescott, U. C.I
36.Preston, U. C.II
37.Quebec, L. C.I
38.St. Catherines, U. C.I
39.St. Hyacinthe, L. C.II
40.St. Johns, L. C.II
41.St. Thomas, U. C.I
42.Sherbrooke, L. C.II
43.Simcoe, U. C.II
44.Smith's Falls, U. C.II
45.Stanstead, L. C.II
46.Stratford, U. C.I
47.Three Rivers, L. C.I
48.Toronto, U. C.I
49.Whitby, U. C.II
50.Windsor, U. C.I
51.Woodstock, U. C.I
52.York, U. C.II

It will be noticed, if Mr. Helton's list is compared with the above, that there are a few discrepancies. He assigns Toronto to No. 24, which is manifestly out of place. Owen Sound is given to No. 26, while 28 should be its location; the latter must be reserved for Paris, however, which is a first class office where Owen Sound is but second class. Richmond is given as No. 42, but as St. Catherines, a first class office, has been identified as No. 38, there seems no place for the second class office of Richmond, which should precede it alphabetically. Niagara has been assigned to No. 23, but in such case it would necessitate two blanks preceding Ottawa, so it seems that the proper number should be 25. With these few exceptions no further trouble was experienced in working out the list, and since it was drawn up Numbers[Pg 80] 2, 4, 8, 38 and 49 have been identified and tallied exactly with it! Such proof has gone far toward confirming our propositions in regard to it, and we hope for more.

A third cancellation, which was apparently used mainly for newspapers and packages, consisted of nine somewhat thick diagonal bars, the whole impression having a square outline. This was generally struck in black, but occasionally in dull blue.

Postmarks were supposed to be used only on the cover, where they would plainly exhibit the story they were to tell, while the cancellation marks were intended to deface the stamp. But sometimes the postmarks are found used for the latter purpose. They seem to be mostly of two varieties, both circular in outline, a larger one having the town name in a curve above, with U. C., L. C., C. W., or C. E., at the bottom, and arcs of two concentric circles filling in the outline between; a second being smaller with a single arc of a circle filling in the outline. The first variety is plainly shown on the cover numbered 90 on Plate VI, and the second on the cover numbered 130 on Plate XIV. The date in the center seems always to be given in full—month, day and year. The postmarks are generally in black, as usual, but sometimes in dull blue.

Penmarked specimens are sometimes met with, but not often.

With the issue of 1859 the duplex mark seems to have been adopted, with the postmark (the ordinary complete circle with the usual arrangement of name, abbreviation of province and date) and the cancellation mark (a series of parallel lines with a circular outline) on the same instrument so as to be struck on the letter together.

With the 1868 issue for the Dominion we of course find the cancellations of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, then British Columbia and finally Prince Edward Island, all of which introduce complications. A new cancellation, which seems to have been for the Dominion as a whole, consisted of two heavy concentric circles containing a number. It is one of this kind that Mr. Nelton refers to in his article as having the number 627. A notable cancellation is one in the shape of a large maple leaf.

An interesting and rare postmark which was found on the 3 cent of the 1868 issue, is thus written up by Mr. F. G. Bing[79]:—

The stamp had been obliterated with a small thick lined circle in which appear the words "WAY LETTER" in large type. Eventually[Pg 81] a full account of the matter was obtained from the Canadian postal authorities.

* * * * *

Post Office Department, Canada.

Office of the Superintendent of the Postage Stamp Branch.

Ottawa, 13th March, 1908.

Dear Sir:—Replying to your enquiry on the subject, as to the object of the post office mark consisting of a rather thick circle in which are the words "WAY LETTER" only, impressed upon a Canada postage stamp (3c.) similar to the one you enclosed, and which I herewith return, I find on enquiry that previous to the Confederation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, there was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick a regulation requiring mail couriers on the coach roads to accept letters for mailing, when these were offered them at a distance of not less than one or two miles from the nearest post office, to place them in a locked leather pouch provided for the purpose, and to post them at the first post office, the Postmaster of which was instructed to stamp these with the words "WAY LETTER." After Confederation this postmark lingered at some of the offices in the provinces named, when it was used for general cancellation purposes, if not for its primary purpose. It has now, however, wholly disappeared. Some think it lasted up to 1887 or 1891, but I am sorry I cannot furnish you with a more definite date as to its extinction.

Very truly yours,
E. P. STANTON, Superintendent.

It will be seen from this interesting letter that the postmark was in the first instance applied to the postage stamps of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and it is quite possible that only upon the stamps of these two provinces does it possess its full original significance. At the same time it does not follow that the regulations under which this cancellation was in use were immediately withdrawn with the Confederation of the Dominion of Canada; and it is more than probable that the custom based upon these regulations of accepting letters from the public at a distance from a post office, and applying the special obliteration, would continue long after that date, as it is evident that the use of the "Way Letter" postmark was never definitely prohibited by the Canadian postal authorities, or the date of its extinction would not have been in doubt. It is, however, quite certain that only a comparatively small number of letters would be entitled to receive this special mark, and its rarity is therefore indisputable.

Various new varieties came with the "small" cents issue and later, concerning which there is not so much of interest as in the earlier years of the postal service; we therefore pass them by, remarking only on the special "jubilee" machine cancellation which was used at Montreal in 1897. This was of the "flag" form and somewhat ornate, bearing the name "VICTORIA" and the dates "1837" and "1897."

[77] See page 28.

[78] Chicago Collectors' Monthly, II: 21.

[79] The Postage Stamp, VII: 6.

[Pg 82]



With two valuations placed upon the cumbrous English monetary system inherited by Canada from the Mother Country—"sterling" and "currency"—and with the practical illustration of the advantages of the decimal system manifest in all the transactions with its great southern neighbor, whose currency was already legalized in the Province,[80] it was only a question of time when Canada would adopt a decimal system of its own. This was done, but all that interests us is the Decimal Postage law resulting, which is as follows:—

22o Vict. Cap. XVII.

An Act to amend the Post Office Laws.

[Assented to 4th May, 1859.]

Whereas it is expedient to amend the Post Office Laws, in the manner hereinafter provided: Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada, enacts 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 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 half-penny 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[Pg 83] 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.

* * * * *

8. [To inclose a letter in a parcel or a newspaper, posted as such, is a misdemeanor.]

From the above Act we see that the transmission of newspapers has again been subjected to revision looking toward an increase of revenue, all free transmission by post being now limited to exchange copies between editors or publishers. The making of prepayment by stamps obligatory was another step which had been quite strongly recommended in the last Postmaster General's report in these terms:—

No single improvement would be so valuable to the Post Office service as the introduction of the system of the pre-payment of letters by stamp. It is not recommended that pre-payment of letters should be made absolutely compulsory, but where stamps are readily procurable, pre-payment in that form should be insisted on, and the principle of pre-payment should be enforced by imposing an additional charge on letters posted unpaid.

By referring to the Act subsequently passed we see that these recommendations were carried out to the letter.

In regard to the fifth section of the Act, concerning the Parcel Post, we come across another example of the curious shuffling of dates and apparent ex post facto law making which we have previously noted. In quoting the Postmaster General's report for 30th Sept., 1858,[81] we found it stated that the Parcel Post had been in operation "from 1st January, 1859," and now we have the Legislative Act providing for it passed under date of 4th May, 1859! This is going it one better on "reading history backward" by actually making it backward! The reports at least, as we previously deduced, were evidently written some time after the dates given them and did not confine[Pg 84] their record to happenings previous to those fictitious dates. Confirmation of this is furnished by the Postmaster General's report that we have to consider, that of the Hon. Sydney Smith for the year ending 30th September, 1859, the report being actually dated 20th February, 1860.

Further details concerning the Parcel Post are not given until the Report for 30th June, 1864, where we read:—

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.

The rate is given in decimal currency, then in use, but at the time of the establishment of the Parcel Post the equivalent rate would have been 1s. 3d. currency. In the Report for 1865 it is stated that:—

The provisions of the Parcel Post have been extended to parcels passing between Canada and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and parcels not containing letters may now be forwarded by post from one end of British North America to the other, on prepayment of a uniform rate of 25 cents per lb.

In the report for 1859, mentioned above, we find the following:—

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 cents issue of Canadian stamps therefore dates from July 1, 1859. The stamps themselves were merely an adaptation of the designs of the pence series to the corresponding values of the decimal currency. The ONE CENT stamp was unchanged from the half-penny except for the substitution of the new for the former value. The FIVE CENTS stamp had these words in place of the old denomination, with a quarterfoil ornament separating them at each side from CANADA and POSTAGE. Oblique figures 5 were[Pg 85] placed in the spandrels on a cross-hatched ground instead of the upright figures 3 on foliations. A similar change was made in the TEN CENTS, Roman numerals X being placed obliquely in the spandrels on a cross-hatched ground where upright figures 6 were previously on foliations; while the new denomination was substituted for the old. The sole change in the 12½ cent stamp was to substitute "12½c." in the spandrels for the former values in sterling and currency. The 17 cent stamp had the value in words replacing TEN PENCE, but the new value was so much longer that the emblems between the old value and CANADA POSTAGE were removed and replaced by two small elliptic ornaments. "8d. stg." still occupies the upper spandrels, but figures 17 are placed in each of the lower ones. The central designs in each of the above stamps are absolutely identical with those of the pence stamps that preceded them—indeed the portrait and surrounding oval with inscriptions on the 12½ c. are all unchanged. From this it is evident that the new dies were "built up" from the old ones, the central portions being transferred and the required changes in surrounding inscriptions, etc., being newly engraved. This was easy enough of accomplishment since the American Bank Note Co., who furnished the new stamps, were the successors of Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, the firm name having been changed on May 1, 1858, and the dies of the pence issue were of course in their possession. Illustrations of the five values will be found as Nos. 10, 15, 12, 13 and 14, respectively, on Plate I.

There was one addition to the list of values in this set during its period of use—a 2 cent stamp. In the Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1864, it is noted:—"A new Postage Stamp, of the value of two cents, was added to the other denominations supplied, from the 1st. August last [1864]." The Report for the succeeding year has this further to say:—"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 was evidently largely on account of this that the new stamp was ordered. Its design was unmistakably "built up" as with the rest of the set, the 1 cent stamp serving as the model, figures 2 being placed in ovals in the spandrels and the wording of the value being changed to correspond. (Illustration No. 11 on Plate I). The stamp was issued as stated on the 1st August, 1864.

All the stamps of this issue were, as before, line engraved and printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. The same style of marginal inscriptions as[Pg 86] in the first issue is found—"American Bank Note Co. New-York" in minute letters of the type known as "diamond," repeated twice in each margin, reading up on the left, down on the right, and inverted at the bottom of the sheet. In the 1, 2, 5 and 12½c. stamps the imprint is placed against the third and eighth stamps of each marginal row of ten, but from a block of 10c. at hand the inscriptions in the case of this value are apparently "centered" over the space between the third and fourth and the seventh and eighth stamps of each marginal row, thus bringing them over two stamps instead of one. Curiously enough, the 17c. value has no marginal inscriptions at all.

The same plate variety that occurs in the 3d. stamp—the "shifted transfer" or "double strike"—is repeated in its successor, the 5c. stamp. That it is a true plate variety is abundantly proved by the fine block of seven stamps illustrated as No. 96 on Plate VII. The variety will be found in the upper right corner stamp, and the doubling of the frame lines at the left and of the oval frame line above CANADA will be readily apparent. A single copy is illustrated as No. 19 on Plate I. It seems to have been first noted by Mr. R. Wuesthoff in the American Journal of Philately for June, 1892.

A minor variety of the 5c. stamp printed from a worn plate is also to be noted, in which the fine lines of the groundwork have almost disappeared.

The entire series comes regularly perforated 12, the identical normal perforation of the pence stamps that immediately preceded it, and which we have endeavored to trace to the same source. The abnormal varieties in this series are of course the imperforate ones, and of these we present cuts of a full set in blocks of four, numbered 100 to 105 on Plate IX. That the stamps were actually issued and used in this condition is proved by copies of several with the proper postmarks of the period in the Pack collection. Mr. Pack writes of them[82]:—

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.

Further varieties are formed by "split" stamps, as before, though these were never authorized and seldom used. We are fortunate in being able to illustrate two five cent stamps used with half of a third to make up the 12½c. packet rate. This is No. 97 on Plate VII. The postmark is unfortunately mostly torn away, but is evidently "Montreal," and the last numeral in the[Pg 87] year figures seems to be an "8," which would mean "1868." A 10c. stamp also split and used for a 5c. is shown on the entire as No. 99 on Plate VIII. The postmark is "Bowmanville, U.C., Feb. 15, 1860."

The normal colors for the stamps of this series may be given as 1 cent deep rose, 2 cents dull rose, 5 cents deep red, 12½ cents deep green, and 17 cents Prussian blue. It will be noticed that we have omitted the 10 cents—and with reason. If the 6 pence stamp of the preceding issue was difficult to select a normal color for, how shall we find one for its successor? Messrs. Corwin and King say[83]:—"The most surprising fact about this issue is the vast number of colors and shades to be found in the 10 cents. We have several hundreds of them in our collection, and are continually adding new color varieties." They run all the way from a bright red lilac through shades of violet and brown to a black brown, which is so dark and distinct that it has for years been catalogued separately.

The paper on which these stamps were printed does not show as much variation as in the previous issue. Mr. King[84] gives a list of five varieties, all of which vary considerably in thickness. It seems sufficient for our purposes, however, to list them under three heads as ordinary wove paper, a thick, hard wove paper, and ribbed paper.

These stamps were in issue from the 1st July 1859, until the series issued for the new Dominion of Canada appeared on 1st April, 1868. The stamp accounts in the various Postmaster General's Reports give the quantities received and issued, and we present here a summary of these tables as their reproduction entire would serve no useful purpose unless to show the increase in the consumption of stamps from year to year as the postal business increased.

Received from manufacturers:1c.5c.10c.12½c.17c.
quarter ending 30th Sept. 18591,000,4001,000,089200,000200,00050,000
year ending 30th Sept. 18602,000,0502,499,986300,000300,00050,000
year ending 30th Sept. 18612,200,1003,400,300499,998199,99650,000
year ending 30th Sept. 18622,799,9003,300,350400,000399,99650,000
year ending 30th Sept. 18633,500,2004,300,450600,050300,000100,000
9mos. ending 30th June 18643,000,0003,999,999800,000399,99049,999
year ending 30th June 18653,064,8004,890,598700,000676,600100,000
year ending 30th June 18663,910,0008,100,000800,000400,10050,000
year ending 30th June 18675,100,0005,100,500999,650299,950100,000
year ending 30th June 1868(?)900,0003,199,900400,000?......

[Pg 88]

The yearly supplies of the 2 cent stamps, first appearing in the 1865 accounts, were as follows:—


Unfortunately the stamp accounts for 1868 do not separate the supplies received in the old and new designs, so that in the case of the 1, 2 and 12½ cent stamps, which appear in both issues, the quantity delivered by the manufacturers is a total which we cannot divide with certainty. An approximation may perhaps be made, particularly with the 2 cent stamp. The balance of this value on hand 30th June, 1867, was 171,000, and the deliveries in the year ending 30th June, 1868, were 2,050,000. Inasmuch as the yearly issue of this value had been some 250,000, the probability is that the odd 50,000 delivered belonged to the 1859 series, as this would make 221,000 for the nine month's supply to 1st April; the even two millions were doubtless the order for the new series. The yearly issue of the 1 cent had been some 3½ to 4 millions; if from the 2,900,000 received, according to the 1868 Report, we take the odd 900,000, we find it makes 3,308,900 when combined with the balance on hand in 1867. This gives a sufficient supply for the nine months of the old issue and leaves an even two millions again for the new series. The 12½ cent presents a slightly different aspect. The yearly issue had been some 400,000, and the amount on hand in 1867 was 385,750—without doubt a plentiful supply for the nine months preceding the issue of the new stamps. It must be remembered, also, in all these cases, that the "amount on hand" was that of the Department's stock, and that the postmasters were of course in possession of local stocks. It therefore seems probable that the 500,000 12½ cent stamps received in 1868 were of the new series alone. The 5 and 10 cent stamps, however, which are lacking in the new set, can at once be added to their preceding deliveries, and it will be noted that no further supplies of the 17c. stamp were required during the year.

We find in the Department accounts that the American Bank Note Co. was paid $1331.70 for "engraving postage stamps" during the fiscal year, which was the final settlement with that Company.[Pg 89]

What became of the remainder of the old issue does not appear, but it seems probable that they were largely used up in the course of regular business, as no object would be gained by turning in the relatively small quantities remaining, for accounting and destruction, unless it be the 17 cent value, which had become rather useless. Curiously enough, the stamp accounts do separate the old and new issues in the "balance on hand, 30th June, 1868," which was three months after the appearance of the new set. These figures are as follows:—


Glancing now over the Postmaster General's reports for the years 1859-1868, during which the above issue was in use, and which were the last years of the strictly provincial control, we find many items of interest.

In the report for 1859 it is noted that "the issue and use by the public of Postage Stamps has increased with great rapidity since last return," and the issue of stamped envelopes "for the promotion of public convenience" is announced. These will be treated of by themselves in a later chapter. We find the experiment was made of placing street letter boxes in Toronto, and "with very encouraging results as to the extent to which the number of letters posted in these boxes would appear to demonstrate their usefulness. These Pillar Boxes are visited, at least twice each day, at suitable hours, by Post Office Messengers, in order to convey the letters deposited in them to the Post Office." Preparations were also being made to install letter boxes in Montreal and Quebec.

The Department accounts have the following entries:—

Rawdon, Wright & Co., supply of letter and newspaper stamps$238.69
American Bank Note Co., engraving letter and newspaper stamps1487.40

Of course the amounts all went to the same concern, as the firm name had been changed on May 1, 1858, as already noted.

The report for 1860 contains interesting statistical information concerning the growth of the Department, which it may be well to put on record:[Pg 90]

Year No. of
Miles of
Post Route.
No. of letters
by Post
per annum.
Postal Revenue
dead letters.)
18528408,6183,700,000$230,629.00First year of account under Provincial control.
185310169,1224,250,000278,587.00Charge on newspapers reduced one-half.
1855129311,1926,000,000368,166.00Newspapers conveyed without charge.
1860169814,2029,000,000658,451.99Additional 2c. rate on unpaid letters and charge made on newspapers.

The Report continues:—

From the experience of the past, the confident hope may be entertained that, by a wise and judicious economy, (and without withholding from newly settled portions of the country, the Postal accommodations without which the settlement of the country cannot advance), in a comparatively short space of time the Postage upon letters may be reduced from the present five cent to a three cent rate, as near an approach to the Penny sterling postage system of the Mother Country as the relative value of our currency will conveniently permit.

It was eight years before these hopes were realized, however.

The "epistolary intercourse with the United States" is given for the same period, but we need only note that the postal value of the total correspondence exchanged was $83,630.97 in 1852, had increased to $187,469.59 in 1857, and then dropped gradually to $178,132.39 in 1860. The Report says:—

The prepayment of letters passing between the two countries continues optional on either side, at the combined rate of 10 cents per ½ oz. from any place in Canada to any place in the United States and vice versa, except to or from the States on the Pacific, California and Oregon, when the rate is 15 cents per ½ oz.

The accounts present a charge in favor of the American Bank Note Co. of $1697.95 "for engraving Letter and Newspaper stamps and Stamped Envelopes." Of the latter we shall have more to say in their proper place.

The Reports of 1861 and 1862 contain nothing special, and the accounts show payments of $1451.87 and $1583.63 respectively to the American Bank Note Co.

The Report of 1863 states that in November of that year an agreement[Pg 91] was entered into with the United States for the transmission between the two countries of seeds, bulbs, etc., at 1 cent per ounce, and also book manuscripts, printers' proof sheets, maps, prints, etc., at the same rate.

In January 1864, the Imperial Post Office extended to the mails between Canada and the United Kingdom regulations conceding patterns of merchandise and trade samples at the same rates as books and printed matter.

The American Bank Note Co. was paid $1946.62.

The next Report is dated 30th June, 1864, instead of the usual 30th September, and is therefore for nine months only. This was done to bring the fiscal year of the Post Office Department to correspond with the financial year of the General Government.

The enactment which was the cause of the change follows:—

27o—28o Vict. Cap. VI.

An Act to amend the Law respecting the Public Accounts, and the Board of Audit.

(Assented to 30th June, 1864)

10. It shall be the duty of the Board of Audit to prepare and submit to the Minister of Finance the Public Accounts to be annually laid before Parliament.

11. The said Public Accounts shall include the period from the thirtieth of June in one year to the thirtieth of June in the next year, which period shall constitute the Financial Year....

There is nothing particular in the Report for these nine months to quote here, except the payment of the relatively small sum of $619.25 to the American Bank Note Co.

The Report for 1865 states that "Regulations have been adopted establishing a sample and pattern post in Canada, and packets of trade samples, or patterns of merchandise, may be sent by post between any places within this Province, on prepayment of one cent per ounce, under certain conditions to prevent an abuse of the privilege." It further announces that "Street Letter boxes are being placed in all the principal streets of Montreal."

The Reports of 1866 and 1867 were published together, but contain little of interest beyond the statistics we have already used. Payments to the American Bank Note Co. were $2630.11 in 1866 and $1699.03 in 1867. The final payment to the American Co., which we have already quoted from the 1868 report, was $1331.70. We read that "The street letter boxes put up in the city of Montreal have worked satisfactorily. The number of letters[Pg 92] and papers posted therein weekly, appeared from returns taken to be, Letters 2400, Papers 500, or at the rate of 150,000 letters and papers per annum."

Authority to establish letter boxes was given by an Act of Parliament which contains several other matters of interest and which we therefore quote.

29o—30o Vict. Cap. XI.

An Act to amend the Post Office Act.

[Assented to 15th August, 1866.]

Whereas the more effectually to prevent frauds upon the Post Office Revenue, it is expedient to amend the Post Office Act: Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the consent of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada, enacts as follows:

1. If any person uses or attempts to use in payment of postage on any letter or mailable thing posted in this Province, any postage stamp which has been before used for a like purpose, such person shall be subjected to a penalty of not less than Ten and not exceeding Forty dollars for every such offense, and the letter or other mailable thing on which such stamp has been so improperly used may be detained, or in the discretion of the Postmaster General forwarded to its destination charged with double the postage to which it would have been liable if posted unpaid.

2. [To enclose a letter in a parcel, packet of samples or newspaper, posted an such, shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not less than ten or more than forty dollars in each case.]

3. The Postmaster General may grant licenses, revocable at pleasure, to Agents, other than Postmasters, for the sale to the Public, of Postage Stamps and Stamped envelopes, and may allow to such Agents a commission not exceeding five per cent, on the amount of their sales;—and it shall not be lawful for any person to exercise the business of selling Postage Stamps or Stamped envelopes to the Public unless duly licensed to do so by the Postmaster General and under such conditions as he may prescribe: and any person who shall violate this provision by selling Postage Stamps or Stamped envelopes to the public without a license from the Postmaster General, shall on conviction before a Justice of the Peace, incur a penalty of not exceeding forty dollars for each offence.

* * * * *

5. The Postmaster General may, when in his judgment the public convenience requires it, establish Street Letter Boxes or Pillar Boxes for the reception of letters and other mailable matter in the streets of any City or Town in this Province, and from the time that a letter is deposited in any such Street Letter Box or Pillar Box it shall be deemed to be a Post Letter within the meaning of the Post Office Act.

6. [Wilfully injuring such letter boxes is a misdemeanor.]

* * * * *

8. The Governor in Council may, by regulations to be from time to time made, provide for the transmission through the Mails of this Province, of patterns and samples of merchandise and goods[Pg 93] for sale, and of packages of seeds, cuttings, bulbs, roots and scions or grafts, on such terms and conditions as may be set forth in such regulations.

9. [Wilfully destroying, damaging or detaining any of above articles is a misdemeanor.]

The only other item to quote from the report of 1867 is the following:—"On 1st July, 1867 the Union Act came into operation, and brought under one central administration the Postal Service throughout the Dominion." With this statement we close the account of the Postal history of the Province of Canada, and in the next chapter open up the larger one of the Dominion of Canada, whose later issues, though not without interest, still lack the charm that time can never tear from the simple, yet dignified and beautiful stamps of the Province.

[80] See page 52.

[81] See page 67.

[82] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[83] Metropolitan Philatelist, II: 3.

[84] Monthly Journal, VII: 32.

[Pg 94]




As outlined in our Introductory Chapter, the union of Upper and Lower Canada into the single Province of Canada had been so manifestly advantageous that it started an agitation for the union of all the British North American provinces. The result was a convention, held at Quebec in 1864, which drafted a proposed Constitution that was later embodied by the British Parliament in "An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof,"[85] which was passed on the 29th March, 1867. The preamble recites that "the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom." The Act is cited in brief as "The British North America Act 1867," and provides that the Dominion of Canada shall be divided into four provinces named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; that there shall be a Governor General who may select his own Privy Council; that there shall be a Parliament consisting of a Senate, with members appointed by the Governor General for life, and a House of Commons of elected representatives; that the seat of Government shall be at Ottawa; that each Province shall have a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the Governor General and a local legislature similar to the Dominion Parliament; and making provision for the admission of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Rupert's Land and the North-western Territory. The Act took effect on the 1st July, 1867, which day is annually observed as "Dominion Day."

The first Parliament of Canada, which convened at Ottawa on November 6, 1867, was naturally largely concerned in revising and consolidating the laws of the various Provinces, and among these of course appeared the Post Office Laws. A number of changes were introduced, but many of the provisions[Pg 95] of former Acts were embodied almost as they stood in the new statute. We reproduce its most important features in our line of inquiry.

31o Vict. Cap. X.

An Act for the regulation of the Postal Service.

[Assented to 21st. December, 1867.]

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as The Post Office Act 1867; and the following terms and expressions therein shall be held to have the meaning hereinafter assigned to them....

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 by 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 the Post;—And a letter shall be deemed a Post Letter from the time of its being so deposited or delivered at a Post Office, to the time of its being delivered to the party to whom it is addressed....

2. All Laws in force in the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, at the Union thereof on the first of July, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, in respect to the Postal Service, and continued in force by the "British North America Act 1867," shall be and the same are hereby repealed.

* * * * *

Organization and General Provisions.

7. There shall be at the seat of Government of Canada a Post Office Department for the superintendence and management of the Postal Service of Canada, under the direction of a Postmaster General.[Pg 96]

8. The Postmaster General shall be appointed by Commission under the Great Seal of Canada, and shall hold his office during pleasure.

* * * * *

10. The Postmaster General may, subject to the provisions of this Act:

1. Establish and close Post Offices and Post Routes;

* * * * *

3. Enter into and enforce all contracts relating to the conveyance of the Mails or other business of the Post Office;

4. [Make regulations concerning mailable matter and limits of weight and dimensions of such.]

5. [Establish rates of postage and conditions on matter not already provided for.]

6. Cause to be prepared and distributed Postage Stamps, necessary for the prepayment of Postages under this Act, also stamped envelopes for the like purpose;

7. [Make arrangements concerning Posts and Postal business with postal authorities outside of Canada.]

* * * * *

11. Prescribe and enforce such Regulations as to letters directed to be registered as to him may seem necessary, in respect to the registration of letters and other matter passing by Mail, as well between places in Canada, as between Canada and the United Kingdom, any British Possession, the United States or any other Foreign Country, and to the charge to be made for the same; and also in respect to the registration by the officers of the Post Office of letters unquestionably containing money or other valuable enclosure when posted without registration by the senders of the same, and to imposing a rate of two cents registration charge upon such letters;

* * * * *

14. Establish and provide Street Letter Boxes or Pillar Boxes or Boxes of any other description for the receipt of letters and such other mailable matter as he may deem expedient, in the streets of any City or Town in Canada, or at any Railway Station or other public place where he may consider such Letter Boxes to be necessary;

15. Grant licenses revocable at pleasure, to Agents other than Postmasters, for the sale to the Public of Postage Stamps and Stamped Envelopes, and allow to such Agents a commission of not exceeding five per cent, on the amount of their sales.[Pg 97]

Rates of Postage.

19. On all letters transmitted by Post for any distance within Canada, except in cases herein otherwise specially provided for, there shall be charged and paid one uniform rate of three cents per half ounce in weight, any fraction of an ounce being chargeable as a half ounce, provided that such three cents postage rate be prepaid by postage stamps or in current coin at the time of posting such letters; and when such letters are posted without prepayment being made thereon, then and in such case it shall be lawful to charge upon letters so posted unpaid a rate of five cents per half ounce.

20. On letters not transmitted through the mails, but posted and delivered at the same Post Office, commonly known as local or drop letters, the rate shall be one cent, to be in all cases prepaid by postage stamp affixed to such letters.

21. [Seamen and Soldiers, etc. in Her Majesty's service, entitled to receive and send letters on payment of a certain special sum in lieu of all British postage, shall be freed likewise from Canadian postage.]

22. The rate of postage upon newspapers printed and published in Canada, and issued not less frequently than once a week, from a known office of publication, and sent to regular subscribers in Canada by mail, shall be as follows: upon each such newspaper, when issued once a week, the rate for each quarter of a year, commencing on the first of January, first of April, first of July, or first of October of each year, shall be five cents, when issued twice a week, ten cents, when issued three times a week, fifteen cents, when issued six times a week, thirty cents, and in that proportion, adding one rate of five cents for each issue more frequent than once a week; and such postage must be pre-paid in advance from the first day of the quarter from which the payment commences, for a term of not less than a quarter of a year: ... provided, nevertheless, that Exchange Papers, addressed by one editor or publisher of a newspaper to another editor or publisher, may be sent by Post free of charge.

23. On all newspapers sent by Post in Canada, except in the cases hereinbefore expressly provided for, there shall be payable a rate not exceeding two cents each, and when such newspapers are posted in Canada this rate shall in all cases be prepaid by postage stamp affixed to the same.

24. For the purposes of this Act, the word "Newspapers" shall be held to mean periodicals published not less frequently than once in each week, and containing notices of passing events.

25. The rate of postage upon periodical publications, other than newspapers, shall be one cent per four ounces, or half a cent per number, when such periodicals weigh less than one ounce and are posted singly, and when such periodical publications are posted in Canada, these rates shall in all cases be prepaid by postage stamps affixed to the same.[Pg 98]

26. On books, pamphlets, occasional publications, printed circulars, prices current, handbills, book and newspaper manuscript, printer's proof sheets whether corrected or not, maps, prints, drawings, engravings, photographs when not on glass, in cases containing glass, sheet music whether printed or written, packages of seeds, cuttings, bulbous roots, scions or grafts, patterns or samples of merchandize or goods, the rate of postage shall be one cent per ounce; provided that no letter or other communication intended to serve the purpose of a letter be sent or enclosed therein, and that the same be sent in covers open at the ends or sides or otherwise so put up as to admit of inspection by the Officers of the Post Office to ensure compliance with this provision—and this postage rate shall be prepaid by postage stamps in all cases when such articles are posted in Canada.

27. [Foregoing rates subject to such conditions as may be agreed upon between Canada and any other country.]

28. [Postage on unpaid letters is due from addressee, or if refused may be recovered with costs by civil action from sender. (See 13o—14o Vict. Cap. 17, Sec. 12.)]

29. In all cases where letters and other mailable matter are posted for places without the limits of Canada, on which stamps for pre-payment are affixed of less value than the true rate of Postage to which such letters are liable,—or when stamps for prepayment are affixed to letters addressed to any place as aforesaid for which prepayment cannot be taken in Canada,—the Postmaster General may forward such letters, charged with postage, as if no stamp had been affixed.

30. And for avoiding doubts, and preventing inconvenient delay in the posting and delivery of letters,—no Postmaster shall be bound to give change, but the exact amount of the postage on any letter or other mailable matter shall be tendered or paid to him in current coin as respects letters or other things delivered, and in current coin or postage stamps as the case may require in respect to the letters or other things posted.

31. [The Postmaster General may make reasonable compensation to Masters of vessels not Post Office Packets for conveyance of ship letters from foreign ports to Canada.]

32. [Postmaster General has exclusive privilege of collecting, conveying and delivering letters, etc.; $20 penalty for infraction. (See 13o—14o Vict. Cap. XVII. Sec. 9.)]

* * * * *

35. [The Postmaster General may employ Letter Carriers, and charge two cents for delivery of a letter and one cent for a newspaper or pamphlet. (See 14o—15o Vict. Cap. LXXI. Sec. 15.)]

36. It shall be lawful for the Postmaster General, with the consent of the Governor in Council, to establish in any city, when he shall deem it expedient, a system of free delivery by Letter Carrier of letters brought by mail and he may direct that from the time that[Pg 99] such system is established, no charge shall be made for the delivery of such letters by Letter Carriers in such city, and further that on drop or local letters when delivered by Letter Carrier in such city, one cent only per half ounce shall be charged in addition to the ordinary local or drop letter rate.

37. [Postmaster General may establish a parcel post. (See 22o Vict. Cap. XVII. Sec. 5.)]

38. [Usual franking of official matter. (See 18o Vict. Cap. LXXIX. Secs. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 24o Vict. Cap. XXV. Sec. 6), but limited to transmission in Canada.]

* * * * *

40. Letters, or other articles, which from any cause remain undelivered in any Post Office, or which having been posted, cannot be forwarded by post, shall under such regulations as the Postmaster General may make, be transmitted by Postmasters to the Post Office Department as Dead Letters, there to be opened and returned to the writers on payment of any postage due thereon, with five cents additional on each Dead Letter to defray the costs of returning the same, or such Dead Letters may in any case or class of cases be otherwise disposed of as the Postmaster General may direct.

* * * * *

77. [Stealing mail matter or forging stamps, etc., (see 13o—14o Vict. Cap. XVII. Sec. 16) is a felony. Stealing or damaging printed matter, package of merchandise, etc., or enclosing a letter in other mail matter, or obstructing mails is a misdemeanor.]

Sub. sec. 16. To remove with fraudulent intent from any letter, newspaper or other mailable matter, sent by Post, any postage stamp which shall have been affixed thereon, or wilfully, with intent aforesaid remove from any postage stamp which shall have been previously used, any mark which shall have been made thereon at any Post Office, shall be a misdemeanor.

* * * * *

81. If any person uses or attempts to use in prepayment of postage on any letter or other mailable matter posted in this Province, any postage stamp which has been before used for a like purpose, such person shall be subject to a penalty of not less than Ten and not exceeding Forty dollars for every such offense, and the letter or other mailable matter on which such stamp has been so improperly used may be detained, or in the discretion of the Postmaster General forwarded to its destination charged with double postage.

* * * * *

91. This Act shall come into operation on the first day of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight.

Although the above Act gives most of the groundwork upon which the Post Office Department of Canada has since been operated, save of course the[Pg 100] changes in detail that will be noted in their proper places, yet it seems advisable, in spite of some possible repetition, to quote the larger part of the Instructions sent out to Postmasters in preparation for the impending changes, because of additional details to be found therein.

To All Postmasters, and Other Persons Employed in the Postal Service of Canada:

Department Order No. 2.

Post Office Department,
Ottawa, 1st March, 1868.

The Post Office Act, passed on the 21st December, 1867, for the regulation of the Postal Service, will come into operation throughout the Dominion on and from the 1st April, 1868.

A copy of the Statute, and of the General Regulations founded thereon, will be forwarded to every Postmaster, whether in charge of a regular Post-Office, Way Office or Sub-Office, and to every Railway Mail Clerk; meanwhile the following summary of the principal provisions of the Act, as affecting the organization of the Department, in relation to the several Provinces of the Dominion, the postage rates to be charged from and after the 1st. April, etc., etc., is supplied for the information of Postmasters and other persons employed in the Post Office Service of Canada.

Organization of the Department.

1. The Superintendence and Management of the Postal Service of Canada is vested in the Post Office Department, at the seat of Government, Ottawa, under the direction of the Postmaster General of Canada.

2. Subject to the directions of the Postmaster General, the general management of the business of the Department will be with the Deputy Postmaster General of Canada.

3. The local Superintendence of Post Office business, and performance of such duties as are assigned to them by the Statute, or entrusted to them from time to time by the Postmaster General, will be confided to the Post Office Inspectors, of whom there are seven, stationed and exercising their powers and functions in the undermentioned Postal Divisions.

Postal Division.Post Office Address.
Nova ScotiaHalifax, N. S.
New Brunswick and the Bay Chaleurs, Coast of GaspéFrederickton, for the present
Province of Quebec, as far West as Three RiversQuebec
Province of Quebec, from Three Rivers WestwardMontreal
Province of Ontario, as far as CobourgKingston
Province of Ontario, from Cobourg to HamiltonToronto
Province of Ontario, from Hamilton WestwardLondon

[Pg 101]

4. All Postmasters, including Way Office and Sub-Office Keepers, are continued in Office, and all Bonds and Mail Contracts continued in force, subject to the ordinary conditions of such appointments and engagements, and to the future action of the Department.



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 posted 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 10 cents per ½ oz., if posted 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, 12½ cents per ½ oz.

On do. in Mails via New York Packet15cents per ½ oz.
On letters to Prince Edward Island, if prepaid,3cents per ½ oz.
if posted unpaid,5cents per ½ oz.
On letters to Newfoundland, to be in all cases prepaid,12½cents per ½ oz.
On letters to British Columbia and Vancouver Island,
in all cases to be prepaid,
10cents per ½ oz.
On letters to Red River, to be in all cases prepaid,6cents per ½ oz.
On letters to Red River, to be in all cases prepaid,6cents per ½ oz.


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 publishedonce a week5cents per quarter of a year.
dotwice a week10do
dothree times15do
dosix times30do

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 Ed[Pg 102]ward 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, and between publishers in Canada and publishers in the United States, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, are to pass free—one copy of each paper to each publisher.

11. Transient Newspapers include all Newspapers posted in Canada, other than Canada 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 viâ 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.


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.


16. When posted in Canada for any place in Canada, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland or the United States, the rate will be one cent per four ounces.[Pg 103]

17. A like rate will be payable on delivery in Canada, when received from 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 where 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.


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 oz12½ cents
Over 8 oz., and not exceeding 1 lb25   cents
Over 1 lb., and not exceeding 24 oz37½ cents
And so on, to the limit of three lbs.


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.


22. 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:—

[Pg 104]

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

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 following matter is exempt from Canadian Postage:—

24. All letters and other mailable matter addressed to or sent by the Governor of Canada.

25. All letters or other mailable matter addressed to or sent by any Department of the Government, at the seat of Government at Ottawa, under such regulations as may from time to time be made by the Governor in Council.

26. All letters and other mailable matter addressed to or sent by the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Senate or of the House of Commons, or to or by any Member of either House, at the Seat of Government, during any Session of Parliament—or addressed to any of the Members or Officers in this section mentioned at the Seat of Government as aforesaid, during the ten days next before the meeting of Parliament.

27. All public documents and printed papers sent by the Speaker or Chief Clerk of the Senate or of the House of Commons to any Member of either House during the recess of Parliament.

28. All papers printed by order of either House sent by Members of either House during the recess of Parliament.

29. Petitions and Addresses to either of the Provincial Legislatures of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, or to any branch thereof; and votes, proceedings and other papers, printed by order of any such Legislature, or any branch thereof, during any Session thereof,—provided such petitions and addresses, votes, proceedings and other papers, are sent without covers, or in covers open at the ends or sides, and contain no Letter or written communication to serve the purpose of a Letter.

30. Letters and other mailable matter (except that provided for as above) addressed to or sent by the Provincial Governments or Legislatures of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, will be liable to the ordinary rates of Postage.[Pg 105]

31. Public documents and printed papers sent under the foregoing clauses should bear, as part of the address, the bona fide superscription of the Speaker, Chief Clerk, or Officer specially deputed for this purpose to act for those functionaries, or of the Member sending the same.

32. The privilege of free transmission, as above described, has effect only as respects Canada Postage rates.

33. All letters and other mailable matter to and from the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General, and all Official communications to and from the Post Office Department, and to and from the Post Office Inspectors, are to pass free of Canadian Postage.

34. All letters and communications on the business of the Post Office Department, intended for the Post Office Department at Ottawa, should be invariably addressed to "The Postmaster General." The branch of the Department for which the letter or communication is intended should be written on the left hand upper corner of the letter, thus:—

"For Accountant"
"For Secretary"

as the case may be, but the main direction must be to the Postmaster General, or Deputy Postmaster General.

35. All letters containing a remittance on account of the Public Revenue sent by any Postmaster in Canada to a Bank or Bank Agency; and all remittances or acknowledgements sent by a Bank or Bank agency, on account of Public Revenue, to any Postmaster in Canada, are to pass free through the Post, as respects both postage and registration charge.

36. No change is made in the Way or Sub-Office system of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Quebec or Ontario.

37. No change is made in the Money Order System.

38. A system of Post Office Savings Banks will be instituted on the 1st. April, and will be extended as quickly as practicable to all the principal cities, towns and places throughout the Dominion.

A. CAMPBELL, Postmaster General.

[85] 30o—31o Vict. Cap. III.

[Pg 106]



A glance at the new regulations quoted in the last chapter will show that there is no five or seventeen cent prepaid rate, and but one at ten cents—to British Columbia and Vancouver Island; as a result these three denominations are not found in the new set of Dominion postage stamps. On the other hand the half cent transient newspaper rate, the three cent letter rate, with its double at six cents, and the new British Packet rate via New York of fifteen instead of seventeen cents, necessitated these four additional denominations in the new series.

The stamps themselves are as usual line engraved on steel, and present more "continuity of design" throughout the set than before. The main feature of this design is a circular medallion bearing a diademed profile portrait of Queen Victoria to right, on a horizontally lined ground. Arched above this medallion are the words CANADA POSTAGE, and beneath it the value, both in words and Arabic numerals, a slightly different arrangement occurring on each denomination. Foliations of acanthus pattern fill in the remainder of the design, making the outline somewhat irregular. The stamps are fairly large, averaging 20 × 24 mm. in size, except the half cent, which is considerably smaller, being only 17 × 21 mm. They will be found illustrated as Nos. 17, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23 and 24 on Plate I.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten, and by the imprint we find they were the product of a new concern. This 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. (see illustration 107 on Plate IX.) 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[Pg 107] 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, (illustration 119 on Plate XI). 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 normal colors of the stamps of this series are approximately:—½ cent, black; 1 cent, brown red; 2 cents, green; 3 cents, deep red; 6 cents, dark brown; 12½ cents, deep blue; 15 cents, mauve. We say approximately, since there is considerable variation as may be noted by a glance at the Reference List. Particularly is this the case with the 15 cent stamp. The earliest tint is the one we have noted—mauve; but the stamp was in practically continuous use down to 1900, and the gamut of shades and colors through which it passed in that time is almost equal to the 10 cent stamp of the preceding issue.

Of the approximate dates of issue of some of the more pronounced shades of the 15 cent stamp it is possible to give an idea through the chronicles of various contemporary magazines which noted them. The original stamp we know was in a mauve tint, and was so chronicled in the Stamp Collector's Magazine for May 1868 (VI: 71). The American Journal of Philately for April 20, 1868, (I:18) describes it as "lilac". The Stamp Collector's Magazine in December, 1874 (XII: 182) says it has "just appeared in a dull deep mauve." Next M. Moens notes that it has become gray lilac, in Le Timbre-poste for March, 1877. Again in the issue for June, 1880, he records it in bright violet, while in May, 1881, it is described as a dark slate color (ardoise foncé). In the July, 1888, issue of the Halifax Philatelist the color is said to have reverted to the mauve tint of the first printings except that it was "more bluish", and once more in May, 1890, the Dominion Philatelist states that "The Canada 15c. has again changed color. It is now bright violet." Finally, in Mekeel's Weekly for March 12, 1896, under "Canadian Notes", we read that "quite a large stock is still on hand in the P.O. Department, but no more are being printed. What are going out now are the remainders of various batches. They are coming in all shades; some being almost the first issue colors."

It remains to note two additions to this series. The first was a change in color:—the 1 cent and 3 cent stamps were quite naturally found to be too nearly alike in shade to properly differentiate them in the rush of post office busi[Pg 108]ness. Hence the 1 cent was changed to an orange yellow, appearing in its new dress in 1809. The exact date seems not to be available, but we find it first noted in The Philatelist for April 1, 1809, in these words:—"The 1 cent and 3 c. of this colony have been hitherto almost identical in hue; that anomaly is now rectified by the recent emission of the former value in bright orange." In the "Summary for the year 1809", the same paper credits the issue to January, 1869.[86]

The second addition was a 5 cent stamp, which is a bit of an anomaly inasmuch as it is a companion in size and design to the 1868 series, but was issued on October 1, 1875, after the series in reduced size, begun in 1870, had been practically completed. The explanation is simple: the die of this large 5 cent stamp had been engraved in 1867 with the other values of the first Dominion series,[87] but as there were no rates requiring such a denomination in the set, it was not issued. When in 1875 the need for a 3 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. The large 5 cent stamp is thus really in the nature of a provisional, for its smaller and permanent successor followed it in about four months.

The statement is often made that the 5 cent denomination was required because of Canada's entry into the Universal Postal Union, which was instituted on July 1, 1875. The statement has elements of truth in it, inasmuch as the indirect results of Canada's application produced the 5 cent rate which required the new stamp; but the statement is not exact because Canada was not actually admitted to the Postal Union until three years later. The Postmaster General's Reports tell the story. The Report for 30th June, 1875 says:—

A treaty for the formation of a General Postal Union, and for the adoption of uniform postage 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.[Pg 109]

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.

From the Report of 30th June, 1876 we find that the application of Canada for admission to the Universal Postal Union was not successful owing to the opposition of France. Because of differences with Great Britain in regard to admitting Colonies beyond the seas at the same rates as European countries, British India and the French Colonies had been admitted with a reduced rate of 6 pence per half ounce letter, so as to include cost of sea transit. France contended that Canada should be kept to the same terms. From the Report of 30th June, 1877 we learn that Canada by treaty had obtained the Postal Union rate of 5 cents with Germany, including Prussia, Saxony, Hanover, Bavaria, Baden and Wurtemberg. The letter rate with Newfoundland had also been reduced from 6 cents to 5 cents per half ounce.

The Report for 30th June, 1878 brings matters to fruition:—

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. Existing postal arrangements between the United States and Canada were, by mutual agreement, allowed to remain undisturbed by the entry of Canada into the Union, under a provision of the General Postal Union Treaty applicable to such a case.

The last remark refers to the treaty which took effect on 1st February, 1875, by which letters posted in Canada or the United States could be sent to the other country at the single domestic rate of three cents—of which more later.[Pg 110]

This large 5 cent stamp was of course line engraved like the rest of the series, and issued in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. The sheet bore four marginal imprints, arranged as before, but of a slightly different type from 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 stamp is illustrated as No. 21 on Plate I, and the marginal imprint is of the type shown in illustration No. 118 on plate XI. The normal color of this 5 cent stamp is an olive gray, and it is perforated 12, as are all the other values of the set.

The paper upon which the series of 1868 was printed was in general an ordinary white wove variety which varied considerably from a very thin, almost pelure quality to a quite hard and thick variety. Laid paper also makes its appearance again in this set. In Messrs. Corwin and King's article[88] we read:—"The 3 cents on laid paper was first brought to attention in the Philatelic Record for March, 1882,[89] wherein it was stated that Mr. Tapling had a copy in his collection. The 1 cent was first mentioned in the National Philatelist for January, 1883, by Mr. Corwin, its discoverer, in these words: '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'". The 1 cent yellow is likewise catalogued by the London Society,[90] but the following remark is added: "The One Cent, yellow, on laid paper, is not known to the Society. It is taken from The Halifax Philatelist for July, 1888, page 74." Concerning this Messrs. Corwin and King state:[91] "This was inserted in the Halifax Philatelist in error; so far as we know this stamp does not exist. The original sin of chronicling this stamp, however, rests with M. Moens, for in the Philatelic Record for January, 1883, the fact is stated that M. Moens states that he knows of the existence of the 1c. orange on laid paper." Mr. Charles Lathrop Pack adds his testimony against this quondam stamp:[92] "I do not be[Pg 111]lieve that the 1c, yellow, exists on laid paper, None of the large collectors of Canada or of this country have seen it, and I believe there is no real authority for listing it." There was none: and now that we have tracked it down, the laugh seems to be on the Philatelic Record, and M. Moens is absolved from his "original sin." In Le Timbre-Poste for January, 1883, under the heading Canada we read: "Semblable au 3 cents, 1868, sur papier vergé blanc, il existe: 1 cent, brun-orange." This was the information quoted in the Philatelic Record,[93] but the translator evidently mistook the proper rendering of the French color name as orange-brown, and translated it simply orange, whence the error spread. We can therefore dispose quite effectually of the question and of the phantom stamp in the same breath.

Concerning the laid paper stamps Messrs. Corwin and King say they "must have been among the first issued, as we have seen a copy of the 1 cent, red-brown, postmarked November 27, 1868."[94] That this must have been the case is proved by the existence of the 1 cent in brown-red and not in yellow, as would have been the case if the paper were used in 1869 or thereafter. Mekeel's Weekly[95] also records the 3 cent on a cover bearing date of August 31, 1868.

The 15 cent stamp was reported in the American Journal of Philately for October, 1892, in these words: "Mr. F. de Coppet has shown us a 15 c. of the 1868 issue on thin paper, horizontally laid," and the stamp is described as "violet". We have not seen a copy, but if it was in the early "mauve" tint it probably was a companion of the 1 cent and 3 cents, the latter being found on both thick and thin horizontally laid paper according to Messrs. Corwin and King's lists. If the "violet" was of the gray shades, it belonged to a later printing and not with the early stamps. Mr. Pack lists another variety still[96]: "I also have a copy of the 15 c. on distinctly soft ribbed paper." This stamp is in the lilac gray shade and therefore belongs to later printings as we shall see, for this ribbed paper is found in all values of the small stamps of the succeeding issue.

One other variety of paper needs our attention, and that is the watermarked paper. The fact of its use was early known to collectors, for in The Philatelist for February, 1870, in an article on "British North America" by W. Dudley Atlee, after the "Issue for Confederation" is the following[Pg 112] "Note.—There is also in the last series of adhesives a Three Cent printed on paper watermarked with maker's name; these were most probably issued after the thin paper and before the usual stout paper emissions." Mr. H. F. Ketcheson, commenting on the above in 1889,[97] remarks: "the one cent red also appears on same paper, as I have two specimens of each in my possession." The Halifax Philatelist,[98] in its contemporary issue, also happened to note the discovery of two more values: "Mr. F. C. Kaye has shown us the 2 cent and 6 cent of the 1868 issue, with large watermarked letters of the same type as those in the 1 cent and 3 cent." The 12½ and 15 cent were later found, but the ½ cent and 1 cent yellow have never been discovered. This latter fact doubtless determines the period when the paper was used, for, like the laid paper, if employed in 1869 or later we should find the 1 cent yellow instead of brown red printed on it. On the other hand, it could not have been used when the first consignments were being printed, probably early in 1868, or the ½ cent would be included in the series. This is determined by the fact that the first supply of the ½ cent lasted until the fiscal year of 1871-2, before any further printings were made. 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 ½ cent were printed.

For the determination of the character of the watermark we are indebted to Mr. John N. Luff, whose thoroughness and acumen when delving into a philatelic problem are proverbial. The result of his study was published in 1895[99] and we take the following extracts from his interesting paper:—

Most philatelic writers, when treating of the Canadian issue of 1868-75, give small space to the series watermarked with large letters. Most of them make a few speculative remarks as to the probable watermark and then drop the subject. So far as I am aware, no one has taken the trouble to ascertain what the watermark actually is. The London Society in the North American Colonies of Great Britain says: "Some of the stamps on wove paper have been catalogued with a watermark, consisting of various letters. It is probable that these letters are portions of the name of the papermaker, which most likely exists in the margin of the sheets." Other writers are equally superficial. The Catalogue for Advanced Collectors says: "Although we catalogue as varieties the stamps on[Pg 113] watermarked paper, it is very possible that these form a separate issue. It may have happened that the printers, having-run short of the regular paper, replaced it by some similar paper that they had in stock, bearing this watermark"....

In the Stamps of British North America, by Messrs. C. B. Corwin and Donald A. King (Metropolitan Philatelist, June 1891), this watermark is given more attention. The possibility that it is the words "Canada Postage" or "Canada Post Office Department" is discussed and rejected, because the authors have found certain letters and pairs of letters which do not occur in these words.

It has seemed to me that it would be of interest, probably of value, to know exactly what this watermark is. I have therefore given the matter considerable study, and now have the pleasure of presenting the result to your readers. The extensive stock of the Scott Stamp & Coin Co., being placed at my disposal, together with a quantity of stamps from private sources ... I believe I have correctly reconstructed the watermark.

As the broadest letter measures only 12 mm., and the stamps are about 23mm. from center to center of perforations, there are usually parts of two or three letters on each stamp. I have found a large number of single letters, pairs, portions of three letters, and in one instance, a pair and parts of two letters. Of many combinations I have found several examples. I have also found quite a number of stamps showing parts of two rows of letters, one above the other.

Taking these in sequence we reconstruct the watermark


The reader will please bear in mind, that when the stamps are viewed from the back, the letters read from right to left (at least when the sheets were placed normally in the press) as is usual with the Crown and CC, CA and other watermarks.

The letters are plain double lined capitals, except the third in the first line, C, which is more fancy, having a decided hook at the end of the lower curve and the upper curve ending in a point, instead of being cut off squarely, as in the case of the other letters. The[Pg 114] E and C are followed by periods 2½ mm. square. The initial capitals E, C and B are 13 mm. high, the other letters 12½ mm. The upper row is about 140 mm. long, the lower about 122 mm., and the distance between the rows 11½ mm. The watermark will thus fall on twelve stamps in each sheet of one hundred. But it cannot be argued from this that the stamps with watermark are only eight times as rare as those without, as we must take into consideration the proportionately large number of sheets on ordinary unwatermarked paper. The sheets were apparently placed on the press without much care, as the letters are frequently found reversed and inverted. I have not however found any placed vertically, nor have I found any other letters than the above....

As to the position of the watermark in the sheets, I believe it to be central. Its height, 37 mm., is great for a marginal watermark, and the fact that none of the letters have been found vertically, as is so frequently the case with marginal watermarks, is also in favor of a central location. We might also expect to find stamps on watermarked paper showing, as is not uncommon, the imprint of the contractors above or below, if the watermark were marginal. I, at least, have found none.

Mr. Luff considers that the watermarked stamps "are on an unofficial paper used temporarily," which is without doubt the case, at least as far as the temporary nature goes. He says further: "Compared with the large number without watermark, they are sufficiently scarce to indicate a provisional use of the paper and at the same time there are enough of them to show that a considerable number of sheets were printed."

For other varieties in this series we have the ½ cent on "bluish-white wove paper", listed by M. Moens in the sixth edition of his catalogue. Messrs. Corwin and King say this "corresponds to our grayish paper, the shade sometimes being quite intense." But they list the entire series on "thin, soft, grayish wove paper", as well as the ½ cent and 1 cent brown-red on "pelure grayish paper". It may be that imperfect wiping of the plates had left an extra grayish tint upon the paper of the specimen that Moens singled out for cataloguing, just as occurred in the case of most values of the Post Office Department stamps of the United States.

Messrs. Corwin and King[100] give an extremely lengthy reference list of this issue on no less than seventeen varieties of paper, with the remark that, "every variety we mention is distinct from any other", but, with Major Evans, we must remark that "we confess we are unable to follow our friend[Pg 115] Mr. King through all the intricacies of these varieties of paper ... but the differences are, perhaps, more real than is indicted in the descriptions." On inspection the "seventeen varieties" seem to combine themselves into I: laid paper, of thick and thin qualities; II: watermarked paper; III: yellowish wove paper, very thin to very thick; and IV: grayish wove paper, from pelure to very thick. In both of the wove papers are found the differences due to the process of manufacture, the even texture of the plain wove variety and the mottled texture of the so-called "wire-wove" variety.

The paper used for this issue is responsible for variations in the size of the stamps similar in character and origin to those we have already thoroughly discussed in connection with the 7½ and 10 pence stamps of 1855-7. The design of the series is not calculated to render these variations so apparent as in the former case, but the extreme variations we have found have been carefully noted and are presented in the following list. It will be seen that the variation is confined to a half millimeter in each dimension.

½cent,16¾× 21½mm.
17× 21mm.
1cent,19½× 24½mm.
20× 24mm.
2cents,19½× 24½mm.
20× 24mm.
3cents,19½× 24½mm.
20× 24mm.
5cents,19× 24½mm.
6cents,20× 24½mm.
20½× 24mm.
12½cents,19½× 24½mm.
20× 24mm.
15cents,19¾× 24½mm.
20× 24mm.

It is also stated that these stamps exist perforated 11½ × 12,[101] as well as the usual 12 all around. As the perforation was done by guillotine machines, this would apparently indicate a machine of 11½ gauge used for the vertical perforations, and we should expect to find some stamps at least perforated 12 × 11½, if not 11½ all around. Such do not seem to have been reported and we have no further information concerning the variety mentioned.

For imperforate stamps in this series we find the 1 cent, yellow, and the 15 cents in a peculiar shade of brown violet. The former is known only in cancelled condition, we believe, but we are able to illustrate an unused block of four of the latter as No. 107 on Plate IX.

The only case of the use of a split stamp in this issue that we have to record is of the 6 cent, cut diagonally and used for the ordinary 3 cent rate on a letter posted at "Annapolis, N. S. JY 2,1869." While having no more authorization than any other of the occasional Canadian "splits," yet this[Pg 116] cover is particularly interesting because of its hailing from Nova Scotia, where split stamps had been used and recognized for their fractional values when the local issue was employed. An illustration of this cover will be found as No. 98 on Plate VIII.

Concerning the quantities issued of the various denominations in this series we cannot be quite as exact as in some of the previous cases. No distinction was made between the various issues in the tables of amounts received from the manufacturers, provided the denomination was the same. In the case of the ½, 3, 6 and 15 cent stamps, which were new values, the quantities given in the Report for 1868 can be used, but with the 1, 2 and 12½ cent stamps the last deliveries of the 1859 series and the first of the 1868 series are lumped together. We have already made a tentative division of the receipts for these latter values,[102] however, which we think is safe enough to use for our purposes. It must be recognized that we are approaching conditions in the business of the Post Office where the quantity of stamps used, particularly if they be of low value and are in service for a number of years, mounts to such an enormous total that the actual figures representing the numbers issued have practically no philatelic value. While interesting, therefore, the totals shown below may be "out" by several per cent without appreciably altering their usefulness—or lack of it.

With these considerations as a basis, we can lay out the series up to certain limits as follows:—

Received From Manufacturers.

½c. 1c. 2c. 3c. 6c. 12½c. 15c.
30th June,18681,500,0002,000,000(?)2,000,000(?)6,000,000 2,000,000500,000(?)212,500
"   "1869...9,250,0004,000,00012,000,000 2,000,0001,000,000600,000
"   "1870...2,300,0001,300,00011,300,000 2,230,000300,000...
"   "1871......1,800,000... 3,070,000734,000...
"   "1872500,000...3,200,000... 2,325,000......
"   "1873-824,756,700......... .........
"   "1876-96............ ......1,765,400
Totals6,756,70013,550,000 12,300,00029,300,000 11,625,0002,534,0002,577,900

The above table shows that the first deliveries of the ½ cent were sufficient to last until 1872; from that time there were yearly deliveries approximating a half million up to the issue of the miniature ½ cent in 1882. The figures for that year doubtless included a large quantity of this latter stamp, so we can safely approximate the quantity of the ½ cent of 1868 issued as 6½ millions. The large 1 cent stamp was superseded about March 1870,[Pg 117] so the above figures may very likely be reduced by say two millions in 1870, leaving 11½ millions of the large stamps, but in both brown-red and yellow. A large part of the 1868-9 deliveries must have been of the brown-red stamp, however, as the yellow one did not appear until January 1869, and from the catalog prices the former would seem to be twice as common as the latter. The large 3 cent was also superseded about January 1870, so that a considerable portion of the deliveries of 1869-70 were doubtless due its successor. Some 20 millions or more can without doubt be credited to the 1868 stamp, nevertheless.

The 2 cent and 6 cent were both superseded early in 1872, so their totals can be reduced probably to approximately 10-11 millions for the former and perhaps 10 millions of the latter.

With the 12½ and 15 cent stamps we find no successors, but we do find that none of the former was delivered after 1871, so that our total of 2½ millions is correct, barring our first approximation. From the lists of "Issues to Postmasters" it is evident that the stamp was regularly used, but in decreasing quantities, down to 1888, when the last figures "1100" appear. A summing up of these issues to postmasters (again allowing for the first approximation) gives us a total of 1,944,100 issued; but of these there were 44,086 returned by the postmasters as unfit for use, the last return (84 copies) being received in 1893. The result for the 12½ cent stamp is therefore approximately 1,900,000 issued and used, and some 634,000 probably destroyed.

The 15 cent stamp, after the amount received in the 1869 account, needed no further supplies until the 1875 account, although it was issued to postmasters each year. The changes in rates in 1875 made it again useful as a multiple of the 5 cent stamp and in connection with registration. From that time until 1893 it was regularly printed and delivered, but this was evidently the end of its usefulness, as the only receipt thereafter was of 400 in 1896—undoubtedly a small remainder which the engravers wanted to get rid of. It was regularly issued to postmasters, however, up to 1900, the last amount, 21,350 appearing in that year's accounts, though 70 copies were turned in for destruction in 1901. Some 31,000 all told were returned as unfit for use, but the rest were probably all used in the course of business.

Of the large 5 cent stamp we can only judge as with the preceding. The Report for 1876 includes the deliveries of both large and small stamps, the total being 2 millions. As succeeding deliveries of the small stamp averaged[Pg 118] a million or more for several years thereafter, it is highly probable that the above total was evenly divided and that the large 5 cent was at least printed to the number of a million copies.

Turning now to the Postmaster General's Reports for the several years during which the large sized stamps were the general issue, we find in the First Report of the Dominion of Canada, for the Year ending 30th June, 1868, the following remarks concerning the new order:—

The Post Office Laws and Regulations of the several Provinces of the Dominion, in force at the date of the Union, remained in operation under the authority of the Union Act until superseded by the statute known as "The Post Office Act 1867", passed in the first session of the Dominion Parliament, for the regulation of the Postal Service, and which general Act took effect from the 1st. April, 1868.

By this Act a uniform system of Post Office organization was provided for, the ordinary rate of domestic letter postage was reduced from five cents to three cents per half ounce, and the charge on letters sent to and received from the United States was at the same time lowered from ten to six cents per half ounce weight (the latter being the combination of the three cent letter rates of both Countries), and lastly, low rates of postage charge were established for the conveyance of newspapers, periodicals, printed papers, parcels and other miscellaneous matter by Post.

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the additional newspaper postage collected under the new Statute, applying equal charges on newspaper matter throughout the Dominion, approximately balanced the loss in the reduction of the letter rates, in fact the collections in Nova Scotia in the first fiscal year after the change in the postage rates, shew a marked improvement on the revenue of the previous year, and there has been a material increase in the number of letters passing by Post in the Maritime Provinces, as well as in Ontario and Quebec.

* * * * *

Postage stamps of denominations corresponding to the reduced rates of postage authorized by the Post Office Act of 1867, were prepared by the British American Bank Note Co. at Ottawa, and distributed by the Department throughout the Dominion for use on the 1st. April. 1868, from which date the new rates of postage came into operation.

Some statistics are also given which it will not be out of place to quote here for future comparison.[Pg 119]

There were 87 new Post Offices established in Ontario and Quebec during the [fiscal] year and 74 Post Offices and Way Offices in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. On the 1st January, 1869, there were 3638 Post Offices and Way Offices in the Dominion, and also:—

Miles of
Post Route
(fiscal year)
Ontario & Quebec18,71614,750,000$906,663.04
New Brunswick3,3791,350,00053,827.80
Nova Scotia5,5792,000,00064,219.77

The total correspondence passing between the United States and Canada is given as $319,352.53, but with no returns from the Maritime Provinces.

The next year's Report, dated 30th June, 1869, gives the revenue as $973,056, a drop of fifty thousand dollars, due to its being the first complete year since the reduction of the postage rates. The total correspondence with the United States is also given as $227,699.13, the drop having come through the reduction to a 6 cent rate, although the Maritime Provinces were included this time. The Report also notes that "From 1st January, 1870, the Postal rate to the United Kingdom was reduced from 12½ to 6 cents per ½ ounce letter."

The report for 1870 states that the Postal Packet rate was reduced on the 1st January, 1870, but does not give the new rate. It is also said that "measures will be taken to organize the whole postal system of the new Province of Manitoba on the same footing as the rest of Canada, from an early date."

The Province of Manitoba, as we have already noted, was admitted to full privileges in the Dominion on July 15, 1870, and the former Colony of British Columbia came in on July 20, 1871. The Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1871 says of these:—

The rates of postage have been made uniform in both newly confederated Provinces with those prevailing in the older sections, as well in respect to correspondence passing between British Columbia and Manitoba, and the rest of the Dominion, as in regard to the transmissions within each of the said Provinces.

Arrangements have been made with the Post Office of the United States, under which mails to and from British Columbia pass[Pg 120] in closed bags (through the United States mails) between Windsor (Ontario) and Victoria (British Columbia), via San Francisco, for the conveyance of which through the United States, a transit rate is paid by the Dominion to the United States Post Office, as in the case of similar closed mails passing to and from Manitoba.

The report for 30th June 1872 states that:—

Arrangements between Canada and Newfoundland came into effect from 1st. November, 1872, establishing a uniform prepaid rate of 6 cents per ½ ounce on letters passing between any Post Office in the Dominion and any Post Office in Newfoundland, instead of 12½ cents as before, and providing that Newspapers, Books, printed matter and post cards shall be prepaid at ordinary Canadian rates and vice versâ.

The postal revenue for the year was $1,193,062, it being the first year that the postal business of British Columbia and Manitoba was included. The former was credited with 38 Post Offices and the latter with 27 Post Offices.

It will be remembered that Prince Edward Island joined the Dominion on July 1, 1873, and the Report of that year credits the former Colony with 180 Post Offices.

The report of 30th June, 1874, states that "The System of free-delivery by letter-carriers in the principal cities, of letters and papers coming by mail has been commenced at Montreal and Toronto." This was under the authority of section 36 of The Post Office Act 1867 which we have already quoted.[103] The text of a new postal treaty between Canada and the United States is given from which we make the following excerpts:—

Postal Arrangement
Between the Dominion of Canada and the United States

Art. I. Correspondence of every kind, written and printed, ... [mailed in each country and addressed to the other], shall be fully prepaid at the domestic postage rates of the country of origin, and the country of destination will receive, forward and deliver the same free of charge.

Art. II. Each country will transport the domestic mails of the other by its ordinary mail routes in closed pouches through its territory, free of charge.[Pg 121]

Art. III. [Patterns and samples, weighing not over 8 oz., unsealed, 10 cents each, prepayment obligatory.]

Art. IV. [No further accounts to be kept between the two countries.]

Art. VIII. The existing arrangements for the exchange of registered letters between the two countries shall continue in full force; but the registration fee on registered letters sent from the United States to Canada shall be the same as the registration fee charged in the United States for domestic registered letters.

Art. IX. This arrangement, except so far as it relates to letter postage, shall take effect from the first of January, 1875. The reduced letter rate will come into operation on the first of February, 1875....

Done in duplicate and signed at Ottawa the 27th day of January, 1875.

From the above it is seen that the double domestic postage rate on letters between the two countries, and the keeping of accounts of the total correspondence passing through the exchange offices, were done away with on the 1st February, 1875, and since that date all such mail matter has passed freely between the two countries at the ordinary domestic rates of each. The figures given in this Report were the last for the total correspondence between Canada and the United States, and were presumably for the seven months from 1st July, 1874, to 1st February, 1875: they were $478,516.91, which would represent some eight million letters were that the only class included, and all of them single letters; this would be at the rate of some thirteen million letters per year, a very respectable figure for the intercommunication of the two countries.

Because of further postal changes which came in 1875 and also the fact that a new type of stamp had gradually been replacing the large sized first issue of the Dominion during the last few years, we will close this chapter with the 1874 Report.

[86] The Philatelist. IV: 42.

[87] In the first series of the American Journal of Philately for June 1, 1868 (I: 25) we read: "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."

[88] Metropolitan Philatelist, II: 57.

[89] This is an error, for in Le Timbre-Poste for November, 1877 (XV: 841). M. Moens says: "M. Fouré nous fait remarquer que le 3 cents [1868] a été imprimé exceptionnellement sur papier vergé."

[90] North American Colonies of Great Britain, page 16.

[91] Metropolitan Philatelist, II: 57.

[92] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[93] Philatelic Record. IV: 213.

[94] Metropolitan Philatelist, II: 57.

[95] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, IX: 64.

[96] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[97] Dominion Philatelist, I: 5.

[98] Halifax Philatelist, III: 8.

[99] American Journal of Philately, VIII: 77.

[100] Metropolitan Philatelist, II: 55 and Monthly Journal, VIII: 236.

[101] Monthly Journal, IX: 125.

[102] See page 88.

[103] See page 98.

[Pg 122]



In the American Journal of Philately for August 20, 1869 we find the following: "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 smaller, so as to save paper. The head will still remain exactly the same as now, but the frame and margin around the head will be considerably less." The 1869 set of the United States was then in use, and it may well be that the smaller sized stamps appealed to the authorities in comparison with their own rather large sized productions, even though their suggested parsimony had nothing to do with it. The current ½ cent stamp was taken as the model, and the other values reduced in size to correspond with it, while keeping their former colors. The main features of the designs were therefore retained.

No special announcement of the new series was made that we have been able to discover, and they were only introduced, apparently, as stocks of the large sized stamps on hand were used up. We find the first record of the change in the American Journal of Philately for February 20, 1870: "The stamps of the New Dominion have now made their appearance, altered as described by us last August." Though not specified, this referred to the 3 cent stamp, and its actual issue probably took place in January. The Philatelist chronicles it in the issue of March 1, 1870, as being of "the same colour and general description as before". [Illustration No. 28 on Plate II.]

The next value to appear was the 1 cent, which was noted in the Stamp Collector's Magazine for April 1, 1870; it was probably issued, therefore, some time in March, for the American Journal of Philately records it in its issue of April 20, 1870. [Illustration No. 25 on Plate II.]

Two years then elapsed before further additions were made, and lent some color to the report in several European journals that the cause of the new issue was the destruction by fire in Montreal of the plates of the 1 cent and 3 cent of 1868, and that the other values of the set would remain as before. The American Journal of Philately learned, however, that only the[Pg 123] press room of the Bank Note Co. was damaged, and that the plates were intact. At last the 6 cent in reduced size made its appearance and was chronicled in the American Journal of Philately for February, 1872, to be followed in the March issue by the announcement of the 2 cent. The former value must therefore have been issued in January and the latter in February. [Illustrations Nos. 30 and 26 on Plate II.]

Again in the American Journal of Philately for November 20, 1874, we find it "reported" that Canada "has issued a 10c. rose", and the next issue says it "is printed in a peculiar pale rose, we can not call to mind any other stamp of this particular tint." The actual issue therefore, was probably about November 1, 1874. Just what called forth this new value in the Dominion series does not appear, unless it be the section in the Postal Treaty between Canada and the United States which fixed the rate on patterns and samples at 10 cents for not over 8 oz., with prepayment obligatory.[104] This rate did not go into effect, however, until January 1, 1875. Of course as a multiple of the 5 cent rates which came into force on October 1, 1875, the new 10 cent stamp was very useful, but that was nearly a year subsequent to its issue. The new stamp is illustrated as No. 32 on Plate II.

The next of the series to make its appearance was the 5 cent, which was noted in the American Journal of Philately for February 20, 1876 as having "just been issued." [Illustration No. 29 on Plate II.] This doubtless means about the 1st February, so that its large sized predecessor had only about four months of life. There were now left in the large sized stamps only the 12½ and 15 cents. In its issue for May, 1872, the Stamp Collector's Magazine quoted from the Canadian Philatelist as follows:—"It is unlikely that the 12½ c. small size will be issued, as the large ones are very little used, and can now be bought at the post-office at 12 cents." This last statement is rather surprising. Nevertheless, it was announced in the American Journal of Philately for October, 1879 that "Canada will shortly issue the 12½ and 15c. values of postals in small size, to correspond with the others of the series." This paper seemed to have been usually well informed concerning Canadian postal matters, but the expected new stamps did not materialize. The dies and plates were undoubtedly prepared, for the 12½ cent stamp at least exists in a finished state, but is very scarce. Proofs of both values were illustrated in Le Timbre-Poste for November, 1888, with the following remarks: "On nous envoie les essais des futurs timbres 12½ et[Pg 124] 15 centavos qui doivent compléter un peu tardivement, la série des timbres à ce format. Nos exemplaires sont imprimés, le premier en lilas, le second en vert sur papier de la Chine." Commenting on this in the American Philatelist for December, 1888, Mr. W. C. Stone says: "We heard of these some ten or twelve years ago and saw them both last summer in New York." We have been fortunate enough to be able to illustrate the 12½ cent (see No. 89 on Plate V) from the Worthington collection, and this finished copy, with full gum, is in a bright blue as we should expect. We regret that it was impossible to locate a copy of the reduced 15 cent to illustrate as a companion piece. The reasons that the plates of these two stamps were never actually brought into use, though evidently prepared with the other values in smaller size, were probably these: The 12½ cent of 1868, as we have seen, though issued to postmasters for several subsequent years, was not printed after 1871, nor was the old stock exhausted when its use was discontinued. There was therefore no call for any supply to be printed from the new plate. The 15 cent was not printed between 1869 and 1875, and after that in such relatively small quantities each year until 1896, that, unless we are greatly mistaken, the original plate never wore out, but was used without change to the end.

The old adage that "history repeats itself" was again exemplified in Canadian stamps when in July, 1882, the ½ cent stamp, for fourteen years unaltered, was once more reduced to a smaller size than the regular series. The general effect of the design remained the same, but the foliate ornamentation gave place to angular outlines. The illustration will be found as No. 27 on Plate II.

All of the above mentioned stamps, except the ½ cent as will be explained, were line engraved on steel and printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. The marginal imprints turn out to be of three varieties in this series, and we have pieced together what information we can concerning them, for strips with marginal imprints are extremely hard to find now. The first plates made, including at least the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 cent stamps, and probably the 10 cent as well, since that was engraved before the 5 cent, had the denomination in shaded Roman capitals, 4 mm. high, [Illustration No. 121 on Plate XI], over stamps 2 and 3 of the top row. Sometimes the shading is hardly apparent, as in our illustration, but it can be detected. Beginning over stamp 4, extending over stamps 5 and 6, and ending over stamp 7, is the inscription we found on the series of 1868 (see illustration 107 on Plate IX), "BRITISH AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. MONTREAL & OTTAWA"[Pg 125] in colorless Roman capitals in the little strip of color 1 mm. wide and 51 mm. long. This imprint is also beneath the bottom row of stamps and at each side, reading up at the left and down at the right [Illustration No. 111 on Plate X]. We have so far not seen this inscription on the 5 cent and 10 cent sheets, and doubt if it exists on the former at least.

About 1875 the engraving company seem to have dropped their Ottawa branch, for on the large 5 cent stamp, whose plate was made in that year, we find the new imprint "British American Bank Note Co. Montreal" in capitals and lower case letters on a colored strip 56 mm. long and 2½ mm. wide, having a pearled border. This imprint is found on all four sides of the sheet, as before, as reference to Plates X, XI and XII will show, and on the plates of all values. In the case of the 6 and 10 cent stamps, and perhaps some others as well, the value SIX, TEN, etc. is now found in the shaded Roman capitals over stamp number 9 of the top row, but lacking the word CENTS. Over stamp number 2 of the top row is the figure of value, 6 mm. high, [Illustration No. 118, Plate XI]. A sheet of the small 5 cent stamps which we have seen, however, does not follow this arrangement but reverts to the first style with FIVE CENTS in the shaded Roman capitals over the first three stamps of the top row only, though having the four "Montreal" imprints. Again, a sheet of 3 cent that we have examined has the word THREE alone in the shaded Roman capitals over the first two stamps of the top row, and the "Montreal" imprint at the center of the top and bottom rows only, there being nothing at the sides. A sheet of 1 cent presents still another style, having the "Montreal" imprint at top and bottom alone, and no other marginal inscriptions. We have seen no sheet or margin of the 2 cent stamp bearing the "Montreal" imprint, but it doubtless exists.

Whether the arrangement of these marginal inscriptions is a special one for each value, or whether each style described exists in all values there does not seem to be material enough at hand to determine. Probably neither statement is wholly in accordance with facts, as there must have been a great many plates of the 1 cent and 3 cent stamps, with proportionately fewer for the less used values. There seems to have been no system of plate numbering, as far as we can discover, though some margins show reversed letters or figures about 3 to 4 mm. high in various positions; they do not appear to have any special significance, however.

In regard to the ½ cent of 1882, which we excepted from the above statements, there is a special arrangement to consider. The stamp was of[Pg 126] course line engraved on steel, as before, but the plate printed two panes of 100 impressions each, side by side. These panes were the usual 10 × 10 arrangement, and were separated by a space of 11 mm. through which they were cut into two "post office sheets". The marginal inscriptions were simply the "Montreal" imprint [illustration No. 127 on Plate XII] which appeared six times—at the top and bottom of each pane, in the right margin of the right hand pane and the left margin of the left hand pane, there being no imprint in the space between the two panes. 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.

Once again, and this time the fact was noted in some of the philatelic journals, the imprint was changed. The engraving company had been required by the Government to do its printing at Ottawa,[105] and under "Canada Notes" in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News for December 21, 1892, "Canadensis" reports: "The new plates of the Canada stamps now bear this imprint: 'British American Bank Note Co. Ottawa', instead of Montreal. The matrix being made from the old die are exactly like the previous issues." The new imprint is a copy of the first one we described, with "Montreal &" omitted. It is 40 mm. long and 1½ mm. wide and is well shown in illustration No. 123 on Plate XII. These new plates were doubtless the ones heralded in the Dominion Philatelist for September, 1892, wherein it is stated that "the present issue of Canada 3 c. Stamps are being printed and issued in sheets of 200 instead of 100 as formerly." And again in the same paper for May, 1893: "The Canada 1c., 2c., and 3c. stamps are now being printed in sheets of 200." This new sheet arrangement consisted of ten horizontal rows of twenty stamps each. 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, (see illustration No. 120 on Plate XI).

One other imprint was used on the 2 cent value at least, but we have so far seen it on no other. It was 49 mm. long and nearly 2 mm. wide, but otherwise is a duplicate of the smaller "Ottawa" imprint. A portion of it[Pg 127] is seen in illustration No. 129 on Plate XIII. The sheet was in the 10 × 10 form, and the imprint appeared at top and bottom only, there being no other marginal inscriptions. From the sheet form it would seem probable that it preceded the use of the sheets of 200 stamps.

The colors of these small stamps were intended to be the same as those of the larger stamps they superseded, and in the main they were so. The orange and orange yellow shades of the 1 cent stamp appear to have been the earlier ones, while the yellow tints came in the later printings. The 2 cent follows the green of its predecessor very closely. The 3 cent, as might be expected, is more prolific in the variety of shades presented. The Philatelist chronicled it (March, 1870) in the "same colour as before," while Moens, in Le Timbre-Poste, was more specific and gave it as red-brown. In May, 1873, the Stamp Collector's Magazine lists it in orange-vermilion, while The Philatelist says vermilion and Le Timbre-Poste bright orange. The 5 cent stamp did not vary a great deal except in tone, though Le Timbre-Poste notes it as "black-gray" in July, 1877. The 6 cent was also fairly constant in its brown shade. The 10 cent appeared at first in what, for want of a better name, may be called a rose-lilac. The Stamp Collector's Magazine called it pale rose, and the American Journal, of Philately said it was a "peculiar pale rose" which was a new tint. The latter paper notes it again in a "bright carnation" in March, 1876, while Le Timbre-Poste in August of the same year chronicles it in "pale red instead of lilac."

We have been thus particular in listing the record of early shades because of the changes which come later.

In the January, 1888, issue of the Halifax Philatelist we find the following note under "Canada":—"The plate of the 2 c. stamp has been re-engraved. Color is now dark green". No details of such re-engraving were forthcoming, but in the June, 1888, number of the Philatelic Record is a paragraph which evidently refers to the same stamp:—"A correspondent has sent us a specimen of the 2 cents, green, which he calls a new die. We fail to see it; but what we do see is, that the stamp is printed from a lithographed transfer." This surprising statement seemed to excite no special comment save from the sagacious M. Moens, who remarks:[106] "Nous avons également reçu ce timbre qui parait lithographié, par suite d'usure de la planche, croyons-nous, car la feuille entière que nous avons annonce que l'impression a été faite,[Pg 128] comme antérieurement, par la British American Bank Note Co. de Montreal et Ottawa, qui ne s'occupe pas d'impression lithographique que nous sachions."

Without doubt M. Moens gave the correct explanation, for the imprint that he mentions will be recognized as the one to be found on the earliest plates of the small stamps, and 1888 was thirteen years at least after the second type of imprint with "Montreal" only had been introduced. Hence the stamp in question was probably a late print from a worn plate, which gave a rather flat and indistinct impression that might suggest lithography, though it is certain that Canada has never yet stooped to such a cheap means of postage stamp production. A similar case may be recalled with the ½ penny stamp of St. Helena which was issued in 1884, and which presented a like appearance.

Whether the above incident had anything to do with the change of the printing company from Montreal to Ottawa, which we have already noted in describing the imprints, we cannot say, but it is certain that it was the beginning of changes, in shade at least, which affected the whole series of stamps. We have the authority of the Postmaster General's Report for 1889 that the "removal of the British American Bank Note Co. from Montreal to Ottawa" had taken place—evidently early in 1888, as will be seen later—so that the use of an old worn-out plate might have been a case of temporary necessity. Further details are given by the Canadian correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era[107] as follows: "About six years ago the Government insisted on their contractors doing their printing at the Capital, and the British American Bank Note Co. erected a handsome establishment on Wellington Street, where all postage stamps have since been printed. It may be remembered that the Ottawa printings were signalized by distinct varieties in shade from the earlier Montreal issues, varieties that have never been sufficiently distinguished in the standard catalogues."

These changes in the stamp shades were soon noted. In March, 1888, the Philatelic Record described the 10 cent stamp as "now in carmine-red", while two months later it chronicled the 5 cent as changed "from bronze-green to greenish-grey." We have already noted the change in the 15 cent to a color approximating its original mauve, "only more of a bluish tinge," which the Halifax Philatelist recorded in July, 1888. The following October the same paper listed the 3 cent in a "bright carmine", and in July, 1889, an[Pg 129]nounced the 2 cent in "blue green". The 6 cent lagged behind the others and did not manifest itself until the American Journal of Philately announced it in October, 1890, in a "rich brown." Once again, Le Timbre-Poste for April, 1892, stated that the 5 cent had "since the 8th March, appeared in gray black". The 1 cent doubtless had its special hue of yellow along with the other changes, but it was not recorded, probably because not distinct enough from the usual run of variations in which it had been appearing.

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 ½ cent and 1 cent stamps showed no appreciable difference in coloring and therefore caused no comment. The 2 cent did not maintain 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. King gives a list of eight varieties of paper[108] for the "small cents issues", but we have deemed it sufficient to note a thick and a thin white wove paper, and a closely ribbed paper. All values are reported as existing with the compound perforation (11½ × 12) spoken of under the 1868 issue. We also find all values occurring in an imperforate condition. The 3 cent was first noted in the Philatelic Record for December, 1882; the 15 cent we have already spoken of under the 1868 issue; and the 5, 6 and 10 cent at least, from the shades of the specimens we have seen, belong to the printings subsequent to the color modifications of 1888-90. Concerning these imperforates, we find in a paper on Canada, read before the Royal Philatelic Society by Mr. M. H. Horsley,[109] the following note:[Pg 130]

In my opinion, which I have had confirmed by several most competent authorities, the various imperforated copies which I show you, some used and some unused, are absolutely genuine 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 to use them. The quantities in this condition are, I believe, extremely small.

Supplementing this Mr. Pack writes:[110]

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.

The above statements are correct, and we can vouch for them by documentary evidence. Not only were the various values of the series we are considering on sale in imperforate condition, but also the 8, 20 and 50 cent stamps which we are next to consider, and the shade of the 8 cent stamp shows it to have been among the earlier printings—probably in 1893. We are fortunate in being able to present illustrations of all these imperforates in blocks of four or more, which will be found on Plates IX, X and XII.

That these imperforates are perfectly good for postage and are recognized by the Canadian Post Office to this day, equally with their perforated prototypes, has been proved to our satisfaction because we have employed some on registered matter addressed to the United States. As this class of mail requires to be fully prepaid, any irregularity would at once be detected and the covers would tell the story. We illustrate a pair of the 2 cent imperforate on a registered cover mailed at Como, Quebec, on March 20, 1905. [Plate XIII, No. 129.]

As before, we find that a few stamps have been "split" and used for half their value, copies of the 2 cent and 6 cent having been cut vertically and doing unquestioned duty as 1 cent and 3 cent stamps respectively. As this practise is unauthorized they can be regarded mearly as freaks that have slipped through by carelessness—or favor.

Turning once more to the Postmaster General's Reports, we begin with that of the 30th June, 1875. This notes that:[Pg 131]

The Act passed in the last Session of Parliament for the regulation of the Postal Service of Canada, came wholly into force on the 1st October, 1875.

1. Letters passing by mail at 3 cents per ½ oz.

2. Local or drop letters at 1 cent per ½ oz.

3. Post cards 1 cent each.

4. Canadian newspapers and periodicals, from office of publication at 1 cent per pound of bulk weight.

5. Transient newspapers and periodicals, circulars, books, pamphlets, etc., open, 1 cent per 4 oz.

6. Newspapers or periodicals weighing less than 1 oz. each, when posted singly, ½ cent each.

7. Closed parcels not containing letters, 12½ cents per 8 oz.

The Act referred to was "An Act to amend and consolidate the Statute Law for the regulation of the Postal Service. [Assented to 8th April, 1875.]"[111] and was mainly a repetition of The Post Office Act, 1867,[112] with certain amendments incorporated. The principal changes which interest us are as follows:—

1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as "The Post Office Act, 1875," etc., etc.

10.—6. Cause to be prepared and distributed postage and registration stamps necessary for the prepayment of postages and registration charges, under this Act; also stamped envelopes for the like purpose and post-cards and stamped post bands or wrappers for newspapers or other mailable articles not being post letters.

19. [Letter rate of 3 cents per ½ oz.]: and such postage rate of three cents shall be pre-paid by postage stamp or stamps at the time of posting the letter, otherwise such letter shall not be forwarded by post, except that letters addressed to any place in Canada and on which one full rate of three cents has been so pre-paid, shall be forwarded to their destination charged with double the amount of the postage thereon not so prepaid, which amount shall be collected on delivery.

20. [Drop letter rate restricted to "one cent per half ounce weight."]

22. The rate of postage on newspaper and periodical publications printed and published in Canada, and issued not less frequently than once a month from a known office of publication or news agency, and addressed and posted by and from the same to regular subscribers or news agents, shall be one cent for each pound weight, or any fraction of a pound weight, to be prepaid by postage stamps or[Pg 132] otherwise as the Postmaster General may, from time to time, direct; and such newspapers and periodicals shall be put into packages and delivered into the post office, and the postage rate thereon prepaid by the sender thereof, under such regulations as the Postmaster General may, from time to time, direct.

23. Newspapers and periodicals weighing less than one ounce each may be posted singly at a postage rate of half a cent each, which must be in all cases prepaid by postage stamp affixed to each.

24. On all newspapers and periodicals posted in Canada, except in the cases hereinbefore expressly provided for, and on books, etc., etc., [repeats Sec. 26 of Act of 1867], the rate of postage shall be one cent for each four ounces or fraction of four ounces, ... and this postage rate shall be prepaid by postage stamps or stamped post bands or wrappers....

27. [Repeats Sec. 29 of Act of 1867] And when any letter or other mailable matter is posted in Canada without prepayment, or insufficiently prepaid, in any case in which prepayment is by this Act made obligatory, the Postmaster General may detain the same, and cause it to be returned, when practicable, to the sender.

28. [Replaces Sec. 30 of Act of 1867] And for avoiding doubts, and preventing inconvenient delay in the posting and delivery of letters,—no Postmaster shall be bound to give change, but the exact amount of the postage on any letter or other mailable matter shall be tendered or paid to him in current coin as respects letters or other things delivered, bearing unpaid postage, as shall also the exact value in current coin as respects postage stamps, registration stamps, stamped envelopes or post cards, post bands or wrappers, purchased from any Postmaster and the exact amount of postage payable to any letter-carrier on any letter or mailable matter delivered by him.

38. [Repeats Sec. 40 of Act of 1867 concerning dead letters, but lowers the charge for returning to three cents and allows for deduction of postage prepaid in the case of insufficiently prepaid matter.]

87. The foregoing sections of this Act shall come into force and effect on the first day of October, in the present year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, except only in so far as they relate to the rates of postage on newspapers and periodicals sent to the United States, as to which they shall come into force on the first day of May now next....

From the above quotations we see that the new Act made prepayment of letters by stamps obligatory, and imposed a fine of double the deficiency if insufficiently prepaid; that the unlimited weight of drop letters was restricted to ½ oz. per rate; that newspapers and periodicals were classed together and publishers given the low rate of 1 cent per pound; that the rate of 2 cents[Pg 133] on transient newspapers was reduced to ½ cent per ounce, and 1 cent up to four ounces; etc.

The Report of 1875 further informs us that the free delivery of letters by carrier had been commenced in the following cities on the dates given:—

Montreal1st October,1874.
Toronto1st March,1875.
Quebec1st April,"
Ottawa1st May,"
Hamilton1st   ""
St. John, N.B.1st   ""
Halifax, N.S.1st July,"

Previous to the above dates a charge (in addition to the ordinary postage) of two cents on each letter received by mail, of one cent on each letter posted in the city, and of one cent on each newspaper, was collected by the letter-carrier on delivery of the same. Halifax was an exception, as letters and papers sent out for delivery by letter-carrier had been delivered without extra charge since 1851.

The British American Bank Note Co. was paid for

Engraving and printing postage stamps for Post Office Department, $22,675.50.

The Report of 1876 contains no special items not already noted, but that of 1877 states that the letter rate of postage with Newfoundland had been reduced from 6 cents to 5 cents per ½ oz., and the same rate had been obtained with Germany from 1st April, 1877.

The Report of 1878 announces the admission of Canada into the Universal Postal Union from the 1st July, as we have already detailed.[113] The Report of 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." This sounded the death knell of the 12½ cent stamp, which dropped in the number issued to postmasters from 84,150 in 1879 to 13,400 in 1880 and 4950 in 1881. It was issued in decreasing numbers down to 1888, when it disappears from the accounts.

Nothing further of importance transpired until 1881, when a supple[Pg 134]mentary agreement touching certain points was signed with the United States Post Office Department:—

Additional Articles of Agreement Between the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America.

For the purpose of affording to the public increased facilities for the exchange of written correspondence, and also of preventing evasions by publishers, of the postal laws and regulations of the United States, the undersigned, duly authorized by their respective Governments, have agreed upon the following additional articles to the Postal Agreement of 27th January and 1st February, 1875:

Article I.

Insufficiently paid letters mailed in the United States and addressed to Canada, or vice versâ, mailed in Canada and addressed to the United States, on which a single rate of postage or more has been prepaid, shall be forwarded charged with the amount of the deficient postage, to be collected on delivery and retained by the Post Department of the country of destination. The amount of such deficient postage shall be indicated in figures, by the despatching exchange office, on the upper left-hand corner of the address.

Article II.

When newspapers, periodicals and other printed matter, published or originating in the United States, are brought into Canada and posted there for destinations in the United States, apparently to evade the postage rates or regulations applicable to such matter in the United States, the Canada Post Office may require prepayment of the same to be made at a rate equivalent to double the Canada domestic rates.

* * * * *

Article IV.

The present articles shall be considered additional to those agreed upon between the two offices on the 27th January and 1st February, 1875, and shall come into operation on the 1st of May, 1881.

* * * * *

The Report of June 30, 1882 states that newspapers and periodicals published in Canada (under certain conditions as to form and manner of posting) are transmitted free by Post within the Dominion when posted from the office of publication to regular subscribers, from 1st June, 1882. This must have been due to a Department Order, as the Statutes of Canada reveal no such enactment at this time. The same Report announces the issue of reply post cards, but those will be dealt with later.[Pg 135]

Statistics make up most of the Reports until that of 1886, when an item of interest in connection with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway is found: "The first through train left Montreal on Monday the 28th June, 1885, and arrived at Port Moody, the Pacific terminus of the road on the 4th July. Mails for British Columbia commenced to pass over the Canadian Pacific Railway by this first train." This marked the independence of Canada from the United States in the matter of transcontinental transportation of mails. The distance from Montreal to Port Moody is given as 2892 miles.

In connection with this event the following note may be of interest:[114]

Up to the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, nearly all letters from the Northwest bore United States stamps. The Northwest mounted police took their mail to Bismarck, Dak., and others were sent to Fargo, from whence they were sent around to Detroit and thence into Canada. The pony express was used in the Canadian Northwest, but no system, no stamps and probably no stipulated charges were made to get a letter to the frontier of the United States.

The Report of 1887 says that:—

Provision has been made for the transmission by mail between all places in Canada, from 1st February, 1888, of small articles of ordinary goods and manufactures in packages, open to inspection, on payment of a postage charge of 1 cent per oz. Also a new convention with the United States Post Office providing that from the 1st March, 1888, the same class of matter will be admitted to pass between Canada and the United States, subject to Customs inspection.

The Report of 1888 announces the extension of free delivery by letter carriers to Victoria, B. C. Since the list of free delivery offices given on page 133, there are to be added as well:—

London, Ontario24th April, 1876.
Winnipeg, Manitoba,1st April, 1882.
Kingston, Ontario,1st July, 1882.

The Report of 1889 states that "the Post Office Act of 1889 increased the limit of weight of a single rate letter from ½ ounce to 1 ounce. The rate on drop letters at the same time was fixed at 2 cents per ounce." The[Pg 136] Act[115] referred to was an amendment to the Post Office Act, (assented to on the 2nd May, 1889), and the notice of the changes issued to the public was as follows:—



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 prepayment has been made.

Letters posted wholly unpaid will be sent to the Dead Letter Office for return to the writer.

OTTAWA, 8th MAY, 1889                              Postmaster General

The Act also made another change, not noted in the circular, by which section 24 of The Post Office Act, 1875, which provided a rate of 1 cent per 4 ounces on printed matter, seeds, etc., and samples of merchandise, was amended so as to limit the weight of printed matter to 2 ounces for the 1 cent rate.

The 1889 Report also chronicles the "removal of the British American Bank Note Co. from Montreal to Ottawa," a fact which we have already commented upon at length in its results upon the stamps issued after the transfer.[116]

[Pg 137]

In 1890 we find that "the complaints which were so prevalent some time since, of the want of adhesiveness in the postage stamps have almost entirely ceased. It is hoped, therefore, that the efforts of the manufacturer to remove the cause of complaint have been successful." And again in 1891: "Complaints of defective mucilage would be far less frequent if the public would kindly bear in mind that it is the envelope of a letter, or the cover of a packet, and not the postage stamp, which should be moistened when stamps are affixed in prepayment of postage. When a stamp is passed over the tongue the mucilage is frequently almost wholly removed." They should have had these instructions engraved on the margins of the plates, as did the British authorities with the old one penny black!

The Report for 1892 announces the preparation of letter cards, which will be treated of later, and also says: "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." And this brings us to our next chapter.

[104] See page 121.

[105] See page 128.

[106] Le Timbre-Poste, XXVI: 61.

[107] Weekly Philatelic Era, XII: 23.

[108] Monthly Journal, VIII: 237.

[109] London Philatelist, XVI: 88.

[110] London Philatelist, XVI: 144.

[111] 38o Vict. Chap. 7.

[112] 31o Vict. Cap. X. See page 95.

[113] See page 109.

[114] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, II: 32: 2.

[115] 52o Vict. Chap. 20.

[116] See page 128.

[Pg 138]



Before proceeding with the subject matter of this chapter in detail, it may be well to reproduce here a synopsis of the Canadian Postal Rates and Regulations as set forth in the Dominion Philatelist in December, 1893, and taken from the then current Canada Postal Guide. This will give a comprehensive review of the results of the various Acts and Amendments and Department Orders that we have quoted—and of some of the last that we have been unable to obtain.

1st. Class Matter.—Includes Letters, Post Cards, Legal and Commercial Papers wholly or partially written, with the exception of those specially exempted, and all matter of the nature of a letter or written correspondence.

The letter rate for Canada, Newfoundland and the United States is 3 cents per oz., and for all other destinations 5 cents per ½ oz.

Insufficiently paid letters posted in and addressed to Canada are charged with double the amount of the postage due thereon.

When posted wholly unpaid they will be sent to the Dead Letter Office.

Insufficiently paid letters for or from the United States, are charged with the deficient postage on delivery. Letters for the United States must be prepaid at least one full rate, 3 cents.

Wholly unpaid letters for and from the United Kingdom and other countries, are charged double postage on delivery, and insufficiently prepaid letters double the deficiency.

Letters addressed to mere initials, or to fictitious names, will not be delivered, unless a street address, the number of a box, or some other definite direction is added.

Letters bearing mutilated stamps, or stamps so soiled and defaced as to make it impossible for the sorting clerks to decide whether they have been used before or not, will be sent to the Dead Letter Office.

Post Cards. Nothing whatever may be attached to a post card, nor may it be cut or altered in any way. A previously used post card, bearing a 1 cent stamp, will not be accepted as a post card.[Pg 139]

2nd Class Matter.—For Canada, Newfoundland and the United States.—Newspapers and Periodicals posted from the office of publication, for regular subscribers in other places in Canada, Newfoundland and the United States, pass free of postage.

Newspapers and periodicals issued less frequently than once a month, and addressed to regular subscribers or news agents, and on all specimen newspapers, one cent per pound or fraction of a pound.

British newspapers and periodicals brought by mail to Canadian booksellers, or News Agents, for regular subscribers in Canada are liable to 1 cent per lb. or fraction of a lb.

Newspapers from offices of publication for city delivery are subject to ordinary transient newspaper rates.

3rd Class Matter.—Addressed to Canada.—1. Transient newspapers and periodicals. Rate, 1 cent per 4 oz.; prepayment compulsory; limit of weight, 5 lbs. A single paper weighing not more than 1 oz. may pass for ½ cent.

2. Book packets. Rate, 1 cent per 4 oz.; limit of weight, 5 lbs., except for a single book, in which case the limit is 7 lbs.

3. Miscellaneous matter. (a) Printed pamphlets, printed circulars, etc., and also seeds, cuttings, bulbs, etc.; rate, 1 cent per 4 oz. (b) Maps, lithographs, photographs, circulars produced by a multiplying process easy to recognize, deeds, mortgages, insurance policies, militia, school and municipal returns, printed stationery, etc.; rate, 1 cent per 2 oz.

Circulars, Prices Current, etc., to pass at 1 c. rate must be ENTIRELY PRINTED. Any insertion in ink is not permissible, except the name and address of the addressee, the name of the sender and the date of the circular itself.

Circulars type-written, or in such form as to resemble type-written, are liable to letter rate.

All miscellaneous matter must be put up so as to admit of easy inspection. The limit of weight is 5 lbs.

4. Patterns and samples. Rate, 1 cent per 4 oz.; limit of weight 24 oz.; must be securely put up and open to inspection, and boxes or linen bags should be used for flour and similar matter.

Miscellaneous Matter for the United States.—(a) Newspapers and periodicals; rate 1 cent per 4 oz. (b) Other miscellaneous matter, including books; rate, 1 cent per 2 oz., but a minimum prepayment of 5 cents is required for legal and commercial papers.

The limit of weight for patterns and samples is 8 oz., and for other matter under this head 5 lbs.

4th Class Matter.—Parcel Post for Canada.—Parcels must not exceed five lbs. in weight nor two feet in length by one foot in breadth or thickness. The postage is 6 cents per 4 oz., and the parcel should be marked "by PARCEL POST." Parcels may be registered by affixing a 5 cent Registration Stamp thereto, in addition to the postage.

Insufficiently paid parcels may be forwarded charged with simply[Pg 140] the deficient postage, provided one full rate is paid and the deficiency does not exceed one rate.

5th Class Matter.—Comprises such articles of general merchandise as are not entitled to any lower rate of postage. Postage 1 cent per oz., or fraction of an ounce. Limit of weight, 5 lbs.; of size, two feet in length by one foot in width or depth. Matter claiming to be 5th Class must be open to inspection and there must be no correspondence enclosed. Packages of 5th Class matter, including Seeds, Bulbs, Cuttings, Roots, may be sent to the United States for the same prepayment as required within the Dominion, but the contents will be liable to Customs inspection and collection of duty in the United States. Sealed tins containing fish, lobster, vegetables, meats, &c., if put up in a solid manner and labelled in such a way as to fully indicate the nature of their contents may be sent as 5th Class Matter within the Dominion, but no sealed matter can be forwarded to the United States under this head. Liquids, oils and fatty substances may be sent to places in Canada and the United States as 5th Class Matter, if put up in accordance with the ruling referring to such articles in the Canada Postal Guide. Electrotype blocks are included in this class. An insufficiently prepaid packet of 5th Class Matter may be forwarded charged with double the deficient postage, provided the deficiency does not exceed 5 cents.

Parcel Post.—For the United Kingdom and the Countries and Colonies with which the United Kingdom maintains Parcel Post relations, and for Newfoundland, Barbados, British Guiana, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Jamaica, Turks Island, Curacoa and Japan.—Parcels securely and substantially packed and closed for the United Kingdom, and other countries and colonies to which parcels may be sent via England, and for Newfoundland, limited in size to 2 feet in length by one foot in width or depth. The postage for the United Kingdom, which must be prepaid, is 20c. for the first lb. and 16c. for each additional lb. or fraction of a pound; the limit of weight is 11 lbs. For Japan the postage is 25c., the limit of weight is 7 lbs. For Newfoundland, 15 c. per lb., or fraction of a pound. For Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, 20 c. per lb. Parcels for Newfoundland are daily forwarded on to Halifax, N.S. For Japan, on to Vancouver, B. C. For Barbados, British Guiana, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, on to St. John, N.B., and for the United Kingdom and other countries and colonies by the weekly mail and conveyed by the steamers of the Canadian Lines. Parcels posted without the formalities required are sent to the Dead Letter Office, Ottawa.

Registration.—All classes of matter may be registered to places in Canada, the United States and Postal Union Countries, and the sender may entitle himself to an acknowledgement of delivery from the party addressed by the payment of a fee of 5 cents in addition to the registration fee.[Pg 141]

(A) Commercial Papers, (B) Books and (C) Samples, for Postal Union Countries.

"Commercial papers" comprise all papers or documents, written or drawn, wholly or partly by hand, (except letters or communications in the nature of letters, or other documents having the character of an actual and personal correspondence), documents of legal procedure, Deeds drawn up by public functionaries, copies of, or extracts from Deeds under private seal, Way-Bills, Bills of Lading, Invoices and other documents of a mercantile character, documents of Insurance and other public companies, all kinds of manuscript music, the manuscript of books and other literary works, and other papers of a similar description.

"Printed Papers" include periodical works, books, stitched or bound, sheets of printed music, visiting cards, address cards, proofs of printing with or without the manuscript relating thereto, engravings, photographs, when not on glass or in frames containing glass, drawings, plans, maps, catalogues, prospectuses, announcements and notices of various kinds, printed, engraved, lithographed, printed circulars.

(A) Limits of weight and size: 5 lbs. for the United Kingdom, and 4 lbs. for other countries, 18 inches in length and 12 inches in width or depth.

(B) 5 lbs. for the United Kingdom, and 4 lbs. to other countries, 2 feet long and 1 foot wide or deep.

(C) United Kingdom, 5 lbs. in weight, 2 feet in length by 1 foot in breadth or depth.

(D) Limits of weight to Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Egypt, France, Hawaii, Italy, Portugal, Roumania and Switzerland, is 12 ozs., limit of size 1 foot in length by 8 inches in width and 4 inches in depth. If in form of a roll it may be 12 inches in length and 6 inches in diameter.

The limit of weight to other Postal Union Countries is 8 ozs., limit of size same as to Austria-Hungary, &c., &c.

Matter Which Cannot be Forwarded Through the Post.—Liquids, Oils, etc., not properly put up. Explosive Substances and other matter likely to entail risk or injury to the ordinary contents of the mail, cannot be sent by post.

Letters containing Gold or Silver Money, Jewels, or precious articles, or anything liable to Customs duties, cannot be forwarded by Post to any of the Postal Union Countries except the United States.

We see from the above postal packet rates where the use of a 20 cent stamp would be convenient, which accounts for the announcement of the new value in the Postmaster General's Report last quoted in the preceding chapter. The 50 cent stamp of course would serve a useful purpose in making up relatively large amounts of postage. The above rates also show that there was still use for the 15 cent stamp in payment of parcels to Newfoundland.[Pg 142]

We find notice of the issue of the new values in the Dominion Philatelist[117] as follows:—

As foreshadowed in the Postmaster General's report, there have appeared Canada postage stamps of the value of 20c. and 50c.; the 20c. is a bright deep orange and the 50c. is indigo blue, they are of similar design and resemble very much the third issue bill stamp and may be described as follows: head and shoulders of Queen to left, with widow's cap and chin resting on right hand, enclosed in a circle; above the circle the words "Canada Postage", below the circle at either side the value in figures and across the bottom the value in words.... The above were all placed on sale Feb. 22nd. The 20c. and 50c. stamps were intended for parcel post.

The somewhat ambiguous description will be more readily understood by reference to the illustrations, numbers 33 and 35 on Plate II.

The stamps, as stated, are very evidently copied from the design of the dollar values of the Bill Stamps issued in 1868. The portrait of the Queen in her widow's weeds, in fact, is doubtless reproduced directly from the original die engraved twenty-five years previously. The stamps were of course line engraved on steel, and printed in the usual sheet arrangement of 100, ten rows of ten. The plates of course emanated from Ottawa, but bear a new imprint, similar to the second one used in Montreal. The colored strip is now 38 mm. long and 2½ mm. high with square ends, and bears the legend: "British American Bank Note Co. Ottawa." within a pearled border. It appears only twice, in the center of the top and of the bottom margins, and can be seen in illustrations Nos. 106 and 108 on Plate IX. The colors are not exactly as described in our quotation, the 20 cent being a vermilion or bright red, similar to the colors of the 3 cent, and the 50 cent a deep blue, but not indigo. According to the advices of the American Journal of Philately (VI: 102) the stamps were issued on the 17th February—five days earlier than the above quotation states.

Both values were printed on a medium white wove paper and perforated 12. 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 of each 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![Pg 143]

Both these stamps are found imperforate and in this condition are to be classed in the same category as the imperforates of the "small cents issue," which we have already considered.[118] Illustrations of blocks of four of each will be found as numbers 106 and 108 on Plate IX. The 50 cent is in a peculiar black blue shade.

In the preceding chapter we quoted a circular from the Postmaster General which called attention to the changes made by The Post Office Act, 1889. A uniform registration fee of 5 cents was one of these, and to enable the 2 cent registration stamps to be used up permission was given to make up the difference by postage stamps when registering mail matter. Four years later it was decided to discontinue the use of the special stamp for the registration fee, and to permit its prepayment by ordinary postage stamps. As the combined letter and registration rate was eight cents, a stamp of this value for use on registered letters was deemed advisable. We read under "Canadian Notes" in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News for August 10, 1893:—

The following orders were posted up in all the 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 stamp reverted to the small size and general design of the "small cents issue", but with the important difference that the head was turned to the left instead of the right, as with all the others of that series. It was line engraved on steel, as usual, and the only entire sheet we have seen was of 200, in ten horizontal rows of twenty stamps, but without a sign of any marginal imprints. The perforation variety 11½ × 12 is reported as occurring in this value also, as well as the regular gauge 12. The color was at first a bluish gray, which soon darkened and ran through a series of shades as if in emulation of the old 6 pence stamp. Mr. Horsley states[119] that it appeared in slate-blue in October of 1893, and slate in 1895. Alfred Smith's Monthly Circular for December, 1895, records it in a "dark slate-black," and the Weekly Philatelic Era for November 30, 1895, says that "a peculiar feature in connec[Pg 144]tion with the new shade of the current eight cent Canada postage stamp is that upon being put in water and left there for a few minutes the paper becomes of a pinkish tint which after the stamp becomes dry still remains." This "new shade" was doubtless the dark slate color referred to, which must have been issued, therefore, in October or November of 1895. In December, 1897, the Monthly Journal notes it in a "deep purple", similar in shade to the 8 cent Jubilee stamp, and very likely printed from the same mixing of ink.

The stamp was printed upon a medium white wove paper, and is found in imperforate condition like the other values of the then current stamps, which we have already described.[120] The imperforates are in the early bluish gray color, so that it is fair to suppose they were from the first printings in 1893. A block of four is illustrated as number 110 on Plate X.

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.

There is nothing of special importance concerning postage stamps in the Postmaster General's Reports from 1893 to 1897, but we glean an item of interest from Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News of December 3, 1896:—

A new regulation has been put in force by the Canadian post-office department. Until a few days ago it was unlawful for any person to sell unused current Canadian stamps without a government license [as a stamp vendor]. Merchants and others who received a great many unused stamps as remittances, have heretofore been compelled to send them to the department at a discount of five per cent, or dispose of them by illegitimate means, running the risk of being prosecuted for selling without license. A great deal of complaint was made to the department concerning this matter, and last week Hon. Mr. Mulock announced that thenceforth, all unused Canadian stamps would be cashed at one per cent. discount in amounts of over $1.00. The stamps may be pasted on paper, as they will not be put in circulation again.

[117] Dominion Philatelist, V: 31.

[118] See page 130.

[119] London Philatelist, XVI: 88.

[120] See page 130.

[Pg 145]



The so-called "Diamond Jubilee" of the accession of Queen Victoria, who had then been on the throne of the United Kingdom for sixty years, occurred on the 20th June, 1897, and several of the British Colonies, as on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, considered it fitting to celebrate the event with a commemorative issue of postage stamps. Probably no proprieties would be violated were it observed, sub rosa, that the pecuniary gains connected with such issues were probably more of a factor in determining their birth than the superabundance of jubilation over the auspicious occurrence. Such a suspicion is quite readily aroused when considering all the facts in connection with the special set of stamps that Canada felt it necessary to put forth at this time.

But the story runs a little farther back and hinges on other changes. What proved a prophetic utterance appeared under "Canadian Notes" in the Weekly Philatelic Era of August 1, 1896, as follows:—

For the first time in 18 years a Liberal, or Reform government has full control of the Dominion.... Mr. William Mulock, J. C., of Toronto, is the new Postmaster General and I am informed that considerable pressure is being brought to bear upon him to have an entirely new set of stamps issued to replace those which have been in use in Canada for something over a quarter of a century.

Under the same "Notes" in the issue of the above paper for January 23, 1897, we find the result of the "pressure":—

The British American Bank Note Company, which for so many years have had the contract for printing Canada's paper currency and postage stamps, have been notified that their services will no longer be required. The shareholders in that company were not of the right political stripe for the new Government. The contract has now been given to the American Bank Note Company of New York. This company will have to establish a branch office at Ottawa and all the work will have to be done in Canada.

[Pg 146]

Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News gives further details in a clipping from the Montreal Herald, dated "Ottawa, Jan. 11," [1897]:[121]

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 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 next step appears in the Weekly Philatelic Era of January 30, 1897, where we read under "Canadian Notes":—

Many suggestions are being made and many plans laid for the fitting celebration of the sixtieth year of Her Majesty's reign. In Canada this celebration is being coupled with that of the four hundredth anniversary of Cabot's discovery of America. Tn this connection 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. If possible some reference to the combined celebrations will likely be made. The agitation for a new issue is quite pronounced and is by no means confined to philatelists. There appears to be general desire on the part of the people to have a change.

A step further is recorded in the Era for March 27th, as follows:—

The Toronto World in its edition of March 15th. contained the following as one of its leaders: "Here is good news for postage stamp collectors. The Postmaster-General proposes, as far as his department is concerned, to commemorate Her Majesty's diamond jubilee by the issue of a new 3-cent postage stamp appropriate to the occasion. It will have[Pg 147] a limited circulation only, probably for a period of months covering the jubilee celebrations during the coming summer. When the sale is stopped the present 3-cent stamp will be put in circulation again.... So far the design of the new stamp has not been made public although the Hon. Mr. Mulock, the Postmaster-General, has sent a sketch of it to the British-American [sic] Bank Note Company to be engraved. It it said to be oblong and nearly as large as the Columbian issue".

If only this original intention had been adhered to!

More precise information finally appeared in the Era for May 29th:—

During the last week the Canadian papers have been full of Canada's Jubilee issue, which has now been definitely decided upon.

The Toronto Evening Telegram of a few days ago has perhaps the most to say concerning the stamps, and it is to that paper that your correspondent is indebted for the following. The new Jubilee stamp will be issued in another month. The design represents Her Majesty at two important eras in her life, namely at her accession on the 20th of June, 1837, and within a few weeks of her Jubilee in 1897. The first vignette, showing her on her coronation day, is from a well known portrait of that period. It is a full faced portrait and her Majesty wears the crown. Looking at the stamp this vignette is at the left side. To the right is a picture of Her Majesty as she appears today; the face is profile looking toward the vignette of 1837. The latter picture represents Her Majesty wearing the Empress crown. Between and above the two vignettes is a beautifully executed copy of the Imperial crown of England and under it the letter "V" with the letters "R. I." in the fork of the "V". The three letters meaning Victoria Regina (Queen), Imperatrix (Empress). In the semi-circle or upper part of the vignette are the words "Canada Postage" and underneath these are respectively the dates 1837-1897 and between the vignettes are ornamentation of maple leaves, while in the lower corners of the stamps are also maple leaves, and between these and at the base of the stamp is its denomination in black letters on a white ground. There will be sixteen varieties of the new stamp and a post card.

* * * * *

The first set of stamps printed will be sent to H. R. H. the Prince of York [sic], who is an enthusiastic stamp collector. The second set will be presented to Her Excellency Lady Aberdeen (wife of the Canadian Governor General).

The same paper credits the suggestion of the general idea of the Jubilee design to Mr. Pareira, an official of the Interior Department.

A few days later the matter of the proposed issue came up in Parliament, and the Postmaster General was interpellated in the House of Commons. His[Pg 148] reply was published in the Canadian Hansard, the official record, of 20th May, 1897, as follows:—

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Mulock): 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:—

Schedule showing the Denominations and Total Number of Jubilee Stamps to be issued:

Number to be issued.Denomination.
150,000½ c.stamps
8,000,0001 c."
2,500,0002 c."
20,000,0003 c."
750,0005 c."
75,0006 c."
200,0008 c."
150,00010 c."
100,00015 c."
100,00020 c."
100,00050 c."
25,000$ 1 00"
25,000$ 2 00"
25,000$ 3 00"
25,000$ 4 00"
25,000$ 5 00"
7,000,0001 cards.

Total value of one stamp of each kind, $ 16.21½.

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 June the Post Office Department will proceed to supply Jubilee postage stamps to the principal post offices in Canada, and through them the 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 stamp 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.

[Pg 149]

Promptly, "as advertised", the stamps were placed on sale throughout the Dominion on the morning of Saturday, the 19th of June. The natural result followed: an expectant populace, for various reasons but with one main object, literally besieged the post offices for the coveted treasures. The advance publication of the quantities of the various denominations to be issued gave speculators the hint as to the most desirable values to "corner", and as a result the ½ cent and 6 cent stamps were a special mark in all quarters. This action seems to have been more or less anticipated, for these values were doled out in very small quantities, if at all, in spite of the large orders that were everywhere given for them. This was doubtless largely due to the following circular, sent out with the initial supply of the stamps to all postmasters:[122]

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

OTTAWA, June,1897.

Sir,—I am directed by the Postmaster-General to send you herewith a supply of the Jubilee stamps and 1 c. 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 post cards 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.

[Pg 150]The conditions that developed when the stamps were actually issued seem to have surprised the Department, and caused additional measures to be taken for an equable distribution. We quote Mr. F. W. Wurtele:[123]

The experience of the first day's sale convinced our government that halves and sixes would very soon be bought up by speculators unless some action was taken to further restrict their sale; they therefore came to the conclusion that those persons who were willing to contribute to the revenues of the Canadian Government to the extent of $16.22 for a complete set of jubilee stamps were entitled to protection, and decided that they at least should not pay more than face value for their ½ and 6. In consequence the following circular was issued by the post-office department, and no more of these values could be obtained from any licensed vendor.

OTTAWA, 26th June, 1897.

Sir,—With reference to the numerous demands upon this office for the ½ c. 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 lasts, but 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.

It was necessary to print 3,000 copies of the foregoing circular in order to reply to all the demands on the department at Ottawa for ½ c. and 6 c.

[Pg 151]

Not only were the sales of the ½ and 6 cent stamps thus restricted, but notices were posted in the offices that none of the ½c., 6c., 8c., $1.00, $2.00, $3.00, $4.00, or $5.00 stamps would be sold unless the whole set were taken. This proceeding naturally resulted in considerably more protest on the part of stamp collectors and the public (?). Rumor had it just after the issue was placed on sale that the 8 cent stamp had been withdrawn, which probably accounts for the "run" upon that value and its inclusion in the above restrictions. In fact a correspondent of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, writing from Winnipeg, Man., on 25th June, stated that "a sensation was caused amongst those interested by the government on Tuesday [22nd June] recalling, by wire, all the 8c. stamps of the new issue on hand at this office." This was later explained by a letter published in the Weekly Philatelic Era:[124]

OTTAWA, 29th July, 1897.

SIR,—In reply to your letter of the 26th inst., I am directed to say that the question of issuing partial sets of Jubilee stamps is now under the consideration of the Department. In respect to the recall of the 8 c. Jubilee stamps, I may say that it was but a partial one, and intended to render possible a re-distribution of that stamp on a basis more in accordance with the actual demand therefor.

* * * * *

I am, Sir,
Your obdt. servant,

Under date of 31st July it was announced from Ottawa that "the demand for complete sets has been very large, about nine thousand sets having already been issued".[125] The "partial sets" referred to in the above letter were the next step in the unbending process, the decision to put them on sale having been reached on 31st July, and their issue to the public beginning on 4th August. Concerning this concession Mr. Donald A. King says:[126]

So soon as the demand for these [complete] sets was, to some extent satisfied, the department yielding to another class of enquiries and requests for sets up to and including the 50 cents and $1.00 respectively, made a distribution of such sets, the numbers being appor[Pg 152]tioned upon a basis of the revenue of each money order office throughout the Dominion. Between 30,000 and 40,000 sets were thus distributed, and rapidly sold, as a very large number of requests for further supplies came in from the different offices. The following is the circular sent to postmasters regulating the sale of these partial sets:

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 $1.00 (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 monopolize them, and thus securing as general a 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 ½ c. 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.

For disingenuousness, for pathetic regard for the public and the postmaster, and yet withal a keen eye for the "interests" of the department, this circular is a model which should be preserved for posterity—and "businesslike" post office departments.

Mr. King continues:—

The demand for the small sets was so great that the supply was exhausted almost all at once, and in reply to repeated requests for more sets the department issued the following circular:—

[Pg 153]

(Office of the Superintendent of the Postage Stamp Branch).
Ottawa,... 1897.

SIR,—The partial sets of Jubilee stamps already issued to your office constituted its share of these sets, having regard to their limited number and the area of their distribution, which comprised all the money order offices in the Dominion.

Except a reserve for complete sets (from ½c. to $5.00 inclusive, cost $16.20½) there is not a Jubilee stamp left in the department—all having been issued to postmasters. The plates, I may add, were destroyed on the 10th September instant.

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,

E. P. STANTON, Superintendent.

Such is the history of the Diamond Jubilee set of Canadian stamps. We make no comment on it—it seems as if none were necessary and that the presentation is amply sufficient for each to judge for himself concerning it. We will only add Major Evans sapient remark[127]: "All the trouble was the natural result of pretending to treat a commemorative and limited issue as if it had been an ordinary and permanent one. Ordinary common sense should have suggested the issue of large supplies of the lowest value, and a certain number of all values to every office."

To revert to the stamps themselves. We have already given a description of the design in one of our previous quotations, but it needs to be amended in one or two particulars. The portrait of Queen Victoria labelled "1837" on the stamp will be recognized as identical with that on the old 12 pence and later 7½ pence values. In fact Mr. Wurtele tells us[128] that a prominent Montreal collector, whose advice was asked when the issue was under consideration, gave the government a magnificent unused copy of the 7½d. green, to be used in engraving the picture. It does not, as stated, show Her Majesty on her coronation day, but is from the painting representing her on the occasion of the prorogation of Parliament, on 17th July, 1837, as already described.[129] The portrait labelled "1897" is from a full length painting executed by command in 1886 by Prof. Von Angelo of Vienna. It represents Her Majesty as she appeared on the assumption of the title "Empress of India", and the curious may find the entire figure copied on the 3 pence post card of Great[Pg 154] Britain issued in 1889, and also on the 1 penny card of 1892. This State portrait of the Queen is now in Buckingham Palace. The crown at the top center of the stamp is not the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain but the so-called Tudor Crown. The Imperial Crown is well illustrated on the 3 pence and 5 cent "beaver" stamps, and a comparison with the Jubilee issue will plainly show the difference in the "style" of these two crowns.

Our illustration (No. 34 on Plate II) shows a sample of the whole set, the only variation, outside of the color, being the denomination in the label at the bottom. This is in each case expressed in words. The stamps are beautifully engraved on steel as usual, and are printed on stout wove paper and perforated 12. The values from ½ cent through 5 cents were printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. Above the 5 cent, that is from 6 cents through 5 dollars, they were printed in sheets of 50, ten horizontal rows of five stamps each. The marginal inscriptions are very meagre, consisting merely of "OTTAWA—No—1" (or some other plate number) in hair-line Roman capitals 2½ mm. high, at the top of the sheet only. The inscription is 40 mm. long, being centered over stamps 5 and 6 of the top row in the sheets of 100, and over stamp number 3 in the sheets of 50. This is the first time that plate numbers appear on the sheets of Canadian postage stamps, and it is well to record them. Taking them serially we find the plates of the various values were made as follows:—

Plate 13cents

The colors, which will be found in the Reference List, are quite constant, as would be expected. The principal variation is only one of tone in a few values.[Pg 155]

A newspaper despatch from Ottawa tells us that "A return brought down to-day shows that the cost of printing the jubilee stamp was 20 cents per thousand."[130]

Considerable criticism was naturally aroused by the inclusion of the values from one to five dollars, and outside of the palpable attempt to "make capital" from stamp collectors and others, it was claimed that the four and five dollar values were useless, as the "highest amount that can possibly be required on a parcel sent by mail from Canada is $3.59 (including registration). This owing to limitations of weight, etc., and the highest amount that can be required on a letter is $1.65".[131] An "official" replied[132] that "very frequently parcels leave the Toronto Post Office with $15 and $20 postage on them, and in some cases the postage has reached the amount of $63. There is another way in which the $4 and $5 stamps may be used, viz.:—in second class rate books. Canada does not issue Newspaper or Periodical stamps so these two high values can be used in this way."

Someone wrote the Postmaster General, quoting the above letter and asking further particulars. The reply stated[133] that "the regulations do not fix any limit to the weight of letters.... According to the regulations of this Department 'Second Class Matter' comprises newspapers and periodicals addressed to regular subscribers, (including sample copies) and that, postage being payable upon such matter at a bulk rate of 1c. per lb., the stamps required for prepayment are not affixed to the packages, but are placed in small books and cancelled. The books for this purpose are supplied by the Department to all Post Offices where they are required." This was analogous to the practice in the United States, only regular postage stamps were employed instead of special newspaper and periodical stamps. As a matter of fact the high value Jubilee stamps, which later became a drug on the market, were largely used for this purpose. Mr. King confirms the fact of large postage payments:[134] "I have seen packages originating at and passing through the post office here [Halifax] that had from $12.00 to $15.00 postage on them ... and the case can be recalled of a letter on which $40 was prepaid."

The question of the unlimited validity of the Jubilee stamps for postage was also brought up, doubtless because of the temporary nature of their issue,[Pg 156] and a special circular was issued touching this point, of which the following is a copy:[135]

OTTAWA, 24th June, 1897.

SIR—I am directed to send you for your information and guidance, the following statement, which has just been given to the press:

"Enquiry having been made at the Post Office Department as to whether the Canadian Jubilee Postage Stamps would continue good as postage for a limited period only, it has been officially stated that the Jubilee stamp will remain valid for postage purposes so long as they may continue in circulation. They will not, however, be redeemed by the Department, a distinction being drawn in this respect between them and the ordinary postage stamps."

I am Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

A curious case of splits is recorded from the Sussex, N. B., News:[136]

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 obtainable.

The 1 cent ordinary also did duty at some offices for like reasons, but the practice was not approved from headquarters, as postmasters were officially instructed in such cases to use whole 1 cent stamps and get a refund on the difference in value.

It may be recalled that one of our quotations stated that the first set of Jubilee stamps printed would be presented to the "Prince of York"—a slip for the "Duke of York," afterwards Prince of Wales, and now His Most[Pg 157] Gracious Majesty King George V. An account of this presentation set may not be without interest here:[137]

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 center 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 Ramey 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.

It will be noted that the Superintendent's last circular concerning the exhaustion of the Jubilee stamps stated that the plates had been destroyed. An eye witness sent Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News (X: 166) an account of the process which is interesting enough to reproduce.

On Friday afternoon, Sept. 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 outline of the ovals, etc., but the words showing the value 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[Pg 158] 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.

The Postmaster General's Report for the 30th June, 1897, reprints the extract from the Canadian Hansard of 20th May, which we have already given.[138] The stamp accounts show a few curious things. In the first place the announcement of the issue gave the quantity of 8 cent stamps as 200,000. The accounts for 1897 give the number received from the manufacturers as 240,000, and we find in the column headed "Returned by Postmasters as unfit for use," 40,000 copies, and in the column headed "Stamps destroyed as unfit for use", a like amount! When the Post Office Department estimates for the ensuing year were being discussed in Parliament in May, 1898, the following interpellation occurred and was replied to by the Postmaster General:[139]

Mr. Ingram. I notice that 40,000 eight cent stamps were returned by the postmasters as unfit for use, and that 40,000 were destroyed as unfit for use.

The Postmaster-General. The explanation of that is this: The total number issued was limited to the schedule mentioned in the answer that I gave to Parliament. By a mistake a larger quantity was delivered to the department, and before it was discovered the department had distributed a larger quantity than was mentioned in the schedule.[140] They discovered it when the mail had gone out, and at once recalled the over-issue. Of course they were at once destroyed, so as to keep the amount within the figure named by Parliament.

Mr. Ingram. Then it was not through stamps being unfit?

The Postmaster-General. I do not know how it is worded there; "Unfit for use" is not a proper description. There was not one stamp in excess of the limit stated in Parliament that got into the hands of the public. There was that little error I speak of, but it was detected at once and corrected, and of course the extra amount was at once destroyed—I suppose by the Auditor-General and by Mr. Stanton of the stamp department.

Well, perhaps the excess did not reach the public, but the stamp accounts exhibit a peculiar coincidence in connection therewith. The tables of receipt and issue of stamp supplies for 1897, as already stated, contain the memos of the return of 40,000 8 cent stamps, by postmasters, and their destruction. The[Pg 159] tables for 1898 contain two columns, one of stamps returned by postmasters, "unfit for use", and the other "fit for use". The former were supposed to be destroyed, the latter placed in stock again. Now note: the values from ½ cent to 50 cents inclusive, "fit for use", were returned in quantities varying from 200 to 250 copies, with two exceptions; the dollar values in quantities from 400 to 675. The two exceptions were the 6 cent at 1,148 copies, and the 8 cent at 42,300 copies!! This last figure looks so familiar that we cannot help wondering whether a second call had been sent out for the return of 40,000 more of the 8 cent, subsequent to the closing of the 1897 accounts, or if (which seems more probable) the first return had not been slipped into stock instead of being actually destroyed, and reappeared thus in the 1898 accounts! Quien sabe?

All the other values to and including the 2 dollars, were received in their proper amounts and were all issued to postmasters, the last record of the series from ½ cent to 1 dollar, inclusive, appearing in the 1900 Report. The figures for the dollar values prove rather interesting so we give them here:—

  1897. 1898. 1899. 1900. 1901. Total. 1905
On hand.
Ret'd and

Comment:—The three highest dollar values were apparently never delivered to their full requisition—25,000 each. All but the 1 dollar were issued in goodly numbers in 1901,—four years after their first appearance! The 1 and 2 dollar stamps were both issued to an amount of about 2,000 more than were received from the manufacturers, but this excess is easily explained by the reissue of stamps returned by postmasters and placed again in stock.[Pg 160] The entire issue drops out of sight with the 1901 Report, but the 1905 Report suddenly presents the figures given for the three high values still on hand, and records 30 of the 5 dollar stamps turned in for destruction. Once more, in the 1909 Report, we find 1,783 of the 3 dollar, 1,954 of the 4 dollar and 1,151 of the 5 dollar stamps returned for destruction, so that allowing for the total number destroyed and the amount on hand (which may be) we have for the actual issue of the three high values, instead of 25,000 each, but 9,515 of the 3 dollar, 9,937 of the 4 dollar and 12,660 of the 5 dollar stamps.

[121] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, IX: 25.

[122] Monthly Journal, VIII. 177.

[123] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, X: 54.

[124] Weekly Philatelic Era, XI: 416.

[125] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XI: 78.

[126] Monthly Journal, VIII: 178.

[127] Monthly Journal, VIII: 230.

[128] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, X: 63.

[129] See page 33.

[130] Post Office, IX: 37.

[131] Weekly Philatelic Era, XI: 383.

[132] ibid., XI: 406.

[133] ibid., XI: 426.

[134] Monthly Journal, VIII: 177.

[135] Weekly Philatelic Era XII: 210.

[136] ibid., XII: 96.

[137] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, X: 28

[138] See page 148.

[139] Monthly Journal, VIII: 230.

[140] The stamp accounts show that 223,600 8 cent stamps had been "issued to postmasters" previous to 30th June, 1897.

[Pg 161]



Rumors of a new issue, as we know, had been "in the air" ever since the change in the contractors for supplying stamps had been announced. Of course the Jubilee issue was a special affair, and for a time sidetracked other considerations. A new permanent series was not forgotten, however, and under "Ottawa Notes" in the Weekly Philatelic Era for October 9, 1897, we find the following advance information concerning it:—

A new general issue of Canadian postage stamps is imminent, being necessitated by the fact that the present Liberal government has entered into a new contract for engraving and printing Dominion treasury notes, postage and revenue stamps, and in short, all government matter. The previous contractors were the British American Bank Note Co. of Montreal.... When the bids for a renewal of the engraving contract were opened last winter, it was found that the American Bank Note Company of New York were the lowest bidders, and that they bound themselves in the event of the acceptance of their tender to build and equip a printing establishment in Ottawa, in compliance with the conditions of the bids. Their tender was accepted and they have carried out their undertaking by building a commodious and fully equipped establishment near that of their rivals on Wellington Street. Of the new presses the Jubilee issue of postage stamps were the first fruits. The impending general issue will be required as soon as the existing stock of the current issue is exhausted, and it is rumored that the supply of some values is running low.

This much is announced,—that the design for the new issue has been decided upon; that the center of the stamp will contain a portrait of the Queen taken at the time of the Jubilee, approved and signed by the Queen as the best existing likeness of her, and that our national emblem, the maple leaf, will appear in the corners—not the unnatural and misshapen leaf that appears on the Jubilee issue, but the real article, copied from actual leaves gathered on Parliament hill. This would indicate that there will be only one die for all the values, but I have as yet no information as to size, colours, or details.

[Pg 162]

A couple of weeks later a circular was sent to postmasters announcing the new stamps, etc., of which the following is a copy:[141]

Circular to Postmaster.


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.

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

These instructions were followed out, and the issue of the new series was thus stretched over a considerable length of time. The first to appear was the ½ cent, two weeks after the date of the above circular. The circumstances of its début are told under "Ottawa Notes" in the Weekly Philatelic Era:[142]

The half cent stamp of the new issue was placed on sale today [9th November, 1897], its appearance having been precipitated by events over which the postal authorities had no control.... The philatelists, anticipating an early exhaustion of the old half cent stamp, helped the thing along by quietly but assiduously buying in every copy in sight. As a consequence the stock ran down much faster than that of other values, and a few weeks ago orders were issued that no more were to be sold to the public, but that publishers entitled to the half cent rate should take their papers to the post-offices and there have the stamps affixed by the staff. Even that did not save the distance [sic]. I hear that in Montreal it was found necessary to use cent stamps to prepay the half cent rate.[143] Fortunately for the reputation of Canadian stamps, these stamps were not over-printed with new value, and we have been spared a surcharge. However, the postal authorities hurried[Pg 163] forward the printing and circulation of the new issue, in that value at least, and it is an accomplished fact.

The next value to appear was the 6 cent, which was announced in the Weekly Philatelic Era under date of 4th December, 1897 as having been put in circulation. Following closely upon this came the 1, 2, 5 and 8 cent stamps, and in January, 1898 the 3 and 10 cent.

The new stamps were very simple in design, the central oval containing a portrait of Queen Victoria copied from a photograph by W. & D. Downey of London, taken at the time of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. CANADA POSTAGE and the value in words only appear in Egyptian capitals on the oval frame to the portrait, and each spandrel is occupied by a maple leaf. Much criticism was engendered by the fact that the portrait was too large for its frame, making the design appear cramped and thus giving a disappointing effect to what otherwise might have proved a most neat and effective stamp. [Illustration No. 36 on Plate II].

The stamps were as usual line engraved on steel, and printed on the same stout white wove paper that was employed for the Jubilee issue, as well as on a thinner and more brittle quality. The 5 cent, for the first time in Canadian philatelic history, appeared on a colored paper, the stock having a decidedly bluish tint. The perforation was the regulation gauge 12. But one irregularity seems to be known, and that is the 5 cents imperforate, a block of four of which we are able to illustrate as No. 112 on Plate X.

The sheet arrangement was intended to be the usual block of 100 impressions, ten by ten, but the Ottawa correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era tells us that in the case of the ½ cent stamp the first plate was twice this size.

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.[144]

The imprint on the sheets was the same as that on the Jubilee sheets, OTTAWA—No—1, etc., but instead of numbering the plates all consecutively,[Pg 164] each denomination began its own series with "No 1." The imprint is placed in the top margin only, over the middle two stamps (5 and 6) of the top row. In the case of the 14 cent stamps each style of the first two plates was numbered "1". The plate of 200 impressions was arranged in ten horizontal rows of twenty stamps each, thus bringing the imprint over stamps 10 and 11 of the top row, and as it was between these that the large sheets were severed, the imprint was cut in two in the process. All the other values were made up in sheets of 100 only.

For the information of plate number collectors we give a list of such numbers as we have been able to ascertain.

½cent,No.1 (2 plates).
1"Nos.1, 2.
2"Nos.1, 2, 3.
3"Nos.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

The quantity of each value issued before they were replaced by the stamps with numerals is stated to have been as follows:[145]


A similar variation is found in the dimensions of these stamps to that occurring in the 7½ d. and 10d. stamps and the issue of 1868, and has caused quite a little comment from those unfamiliar with this phenomenon. As much as ½ mm. in the vertical measurements can be found between many stamps. The cause is of course the uneven shrinking of the dampened paper when drying after being printed upon. This was fully discussed in an earlier chapter.[146] As the paper in the present instance is very similar in quality to[Pg 165] that used for printing the United States stamps, in which the same peculiarity occurs, we will quote Mr. Melville's comment on the subject:[147]

As we have said, the paper is impressed when damp.... This wetting-down business has another effect which has always puzzled philatelists. The wet paper is taken into a hot room to dry, and in drying it contracts. The contraction is not uniform and the philatelist in trying to prove the existence of more than one original die will pin his faith to the idea that if the varieties noticeable were due to contraction of the paper the contraction would be proportionate on all sides of the stamp. This is not the case however.

Paper, when absorbing moisture, expands more in one direction than the other. The direction of greater expansion is what is technically known as the "cross direction", and is the direction across the flow of pulp in the paper making machine. During the flow of the pulp the bulk of the fibres lie parallel with the movement of the wire gauze, and it is a scientific fact that the diameter of a fibre is increased by absorption of water much more than is the length. The subsequent shrinking on drying also is uneven.

The Postmaster General's Report for 1897 says:—

The contract with the British American Bank Note Company expired on the 22nd April, 1897, and a contract was entered into with the American Bank Note Company for the manufacture and supply of postage stamps &c. An estimate of the probable ordinary requirements for the next fiscal year and the comparison based thereon between the old and the present rates show that, under the new contract, stamp supplies will cost the department, say, $10,000 per annum less than under the old contract, a reduction in outlay of about 20%.

It is also noted that during 1896-7 electric cancelling ("mail marking") machines were introduced, six of which were rented and installed in the Montreal Post Office and one at Ottawa.

The reduction in the domestic letter rate from 3 cents to 2 cents per ounce is forecasted, as well as a proposed reduction from 5 cents to 2 cents per ½ ounce on letters between Great Britain and many of her colonial possessions. This will be more thoroughly discussed later.

Concerning the postal changes we have been considering the report says:—

Owing to the change of contract for the manufacture and supply of postage stamps, a new series of stamps became necessary at the begin[Pg 166]ning of the present fiscal year. New stamps ranging in value from the ½ cent to the 10 cent 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 in 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 colour of the new 1 cent stamp is green, and that of the 5 cents a deep blue. This necessitated corresponding changes in the colours 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 special delivery system was also introduced, and will be treated of later.

[141] American Journal of Philately, 2nd Series, X: 502.

[142] Weekly Philatelic Era, XII: 86.

[143] See page 156.

[144] Weekly Philatelic Era, XII: 132.

[145] Metropolitan Philatelist, X: 117.

[146] See page 53 et seq.

[147] United States Postage Stamps, 1894-1910, page 16.

[Pg 167]



Hardly had the "maple leaf" issue gotten generally into use before complaints began to be heard about the difficulty of distinguishing the different values. The Weekly Philatelic Era for June 4, 1898, quotes a plaint of this character as follows:—

The Toronto World says: "We take the liberty of suggesting to the Postmaster-General that we have a large figure indicating the value in cents of the various issues of Canadian stamps. It is hard to make them out at present."

This is only one of the numerous complaints made daily against our new issue. Some changes ought to be made.

But the Metropolitan Philatelist in its issue for April 2, 1898, had already given information of an impending change which in the main proved correct. It says:—

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.

All of which transpired save the placing of the value on the "straight band". In the issue of the American Journal of Philately for June 1, 1898, a Canadian correspondent reported: "I saw yesterday the proof of the new Canadian stamps. The frame is slightly changed and the value in figures is at the bottom on each side of the stamp, in place of the maple leaves." No date is given, but it was doubtless early in May. Finally Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News reported the actual issue of the 1 cent and 3 cent stamps, stating that a Montreal correspondent had purchased them at the post office on June 21st, which was doubtless their approximate date of issue.

No further news of the numeral set is recorded until the issue of the[Pg 168] Weekly Philatelic Era for September 17th, wherein its Toronto correspondent says that "Last week the 2c. purple with numerals in lower corners made its debut, a few days later the ½c arrived similarly altered, followed closely by the 6c." This evidently puts the issue of these three values within the first ten days of September. The 8 cent was recorded in the same paper for October 15th, so that it must have been issued about the first of the month. The 10 cent did not make its appearance until November, being noticed under the "Toronto Letter" in the Weekly Philatelic Era for November 19th, so that again it was doubtless the early part of the month that saw its advent.

For six months nothing further was heard of new "numeral" stamps, when finally the 5 cent, which was the one value lacking to complete the set in its altered form, made its appearance on July 3, 1899, according to a correspondent of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News.[148]

The new type of stamp, as already stated, was merely an alteration of the preceding "maple leaf" design, due to two criticisms—that no numerals were shown, making it often difficult without a close look to tell the denomination, and bothersome to the large population of French origin who did not speak English; and that the portrait was too large for its oval frame, giving a somewhat cramped effect. In the new design, illustrated as number 40 on Plate II, the first objection was met by placing the proper numerals in small squares in the lower corners, which necessitated the removal of the maple leaves from the lower spandrels; and the second objection was met by enlarging the oval frame containing the portrait, thus giving a much better effect. To do this the oval was extended to the outside of the stamp, cutting the rectangular border lines instead of lying wholly within them, as in the design it superseded.

The stamps were of course line engraved on steel and printed in the usual sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. The imprint was the same as on the last issue, and the plates again began with No. 1 for each denomination. As far as we have been able to ascertain, the plate numbers are as follows:—

1""1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
2""1, 2, 3, 4.
3""1, 2, 3, 4.
5""1, 2, 3.

[Pg 169]

There were of course many more plates of the 1 cent stamp, at least, which remained in use for five years, and probably several more of the 2, 3, and 10 cent, but there seems to have been very little interest in Canada in keeping track of these.

But during the life of this series there were important changes taking place which were reflected in the stamp issues, and we must keep track of them.

In the first place, the Hon. William Mulock, the Canadian Postmaster-General, was a firm believer in and an active agitator for Imperial Penny Postage. At the Imperial Conference on Postal Rates in London, in July, 1898, the project was carried through, and a rate of one penny (2 cents) per half ounce established by certain colonies in connection with the Mother Country, to take effect on Christmas Day of 1898. Concerning this we shall have more to say in the next chapter; but meanwhile Canada's domestic rate stood at 3 cents per ounce or fraction, in spite of attempts to reduce it, particularly since the United States had lowered its internal rate in 1883. The anomaly would be presented under such conditions of a letter mailed from one town to another in Canada costing three cents, even if weighing a half ounce or less, while the same letter could cross to Great Britain and travel to Cape Colony, for instance, on payment of but two cents postage.

The agitation and the London conference evidently had their effect, for on the 13th June, 1898, a bill[149] in amendment of the Post Office Act was assented to in Parliament which substituted 2 cents for 3 cents as the domestic postage rate per ounce weight. It also provided that the new rate should not take effect until a date to be named by the Governor General. After the date for the inauguration of Imperial Penny Postage was fixed, the Governor General named New Year's day following as the date for the change in Canada's domestic rate. The following notice was published in the Canada Gazette:[150]

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 trans[Pg 170]mitted 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.

This of course had the immediate effect of vastly increasing the consumption of 2 cent stamps and also of rendering the 3 cent stamps practically useless. Another point would be that whereas the Postal Union requirements named red as the color for the stamp used for domestic postage, and the 3 cent had been in its proper hue, the stamp for the new internal rate was printed in purple and would therefore have to be changed. This change was not forced, however, the Post Office Department as usual preferring to use up the stock on hand of the current 2 cent stamp before issuing the new one. It took considerable time to do this, so that the 2 cent carmine did not make its appearance until the 20th August, according to a correspondent of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News.[151] It was of course the same stamp as before but printed in the color of the 3 cent value, and we have to record plate numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, though there were doubtless many more.

But the 3 cent stamp still remained on hand in large quantities, and in order to use them up more quickly and perhaps save confusion between them and the new 2 cent stamps, the Post Office Department decided upon surcharging the stock on hand down to 2 cents, thus making Canada's first offence in this line. The notice concerning this change and some others that were decided upon was as follows:—

Department Circular.
OTTAWA, 1st July, 1899.

Owing to the reduction in the Domestic letter rate of postage, the issue of the 3 c. letter-card, the 3c. stamped envelope and the 3 cent 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 postage 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,[Pg 171] 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 recognized as postage stamps of that denomination.

Postmasters are requested to exchange, as above mentioned, all unused 3c. letter-cards, 3c. stamped envelopes and 3c. stamps which may be offered them to be exchanged for other postage stamps of an equal value.

Postmasters, who as a result of such exchange, may find the 3c. stamps, etc., unsaleable, are at liberty, in the case of an Accounting Post Office, to send them direct to the Department for credit; and in the case of a Non-Accounting Post Office, to send them to the City Post Office from which it obtains its supplies, asking in lieu of those returned other stamps to an equal value.

It is especially requested that, in the case of stamps sent direct to the Department, under this authority, that is to say, by Accounting Post Offices,—Postmasters will be so good as to carry out the following instructions:—

(1) Each transmission should be registered, and accompanied with a brief memorandum, plainly stamped with the date stamp of the Post Office, and indicating the number and value of the 3c. stamps, etc., claimed to be enclosed. If other stamps are required to replace those returned, a separate requisition therefor (not enclosed in the package) should be sent direct to the Department in the usual way.

(2) Single stamps, and stamps that are not in complete sheets, should be pasted on alternate pages of separate sheets of paper, with not more than one hundred stamps on each page. Any stamps that have stuck together whilst in the possession of the Postmaster, must be taken apart (which can easily be done by immersing them for a few minutes in water) and then pasted on sheets of paper as above directed.

Postmasters of Non-Accounting Offices are particularly asked to bear in mind that any 3c. letter-cards, 3c. stamped envelopes or 3c. postage stamps which conformably to this instruction, they may receive from the public in exchange for other stamps and find unsaleable, must be returned, as above directed, to the City Post Offices from which they respectively obtain their supplies, and not to the Department.

As only the unused remnant of 3c. stamps now in the Department will be surcharged, Postmasters must not send in, with a view to their surcharge, any 3c. stamps in their possession nor accept 3c. stamps from the public for that purpose.

Postmasters must distinctly understand that the exchange of stamps herein permitted applies only to the 3c. letter-card, the 3c. stamped envelope and 3c postage stamp.

Deputy Postmaster General.

[Pg 172]

As a matter of fact the 2 cent purple seems to have lasted about a week longer than was anticipated in the above circular, so that the surcharged 3 cent stamps were not issued until the 28th July.[152] A correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era, in its issue for 22nd July, said: "I learn that the 3c numeral and some 3c with the four maple leaves will be surcharged," which proved correct; those first issued on the date mentioned above were of the numeral type, while on the 8th August[153] the "maple leaf" 3 cent made its appearance with the same surcharge.

Illustrations of the two stamps will be found as numbers 41 and 42 on Plate II. It is stated that the surcharge was made up in its peculiar form so as to prevent counterfeiting by the use of ordinary type. At any rate the graded height of the numeral and letters, giving the concave effect to the top of the surcharge, shows it to have been specially prepared. There is some variation in the thickness of the surcharge, due perhaps to inking and to wearing of the plates. The overprinting was done in full sheets of one hundred from a special plate, in black ink, and should normally be horizontally across the bottom of the stamps. Poor registering of the sheets in printing caused the position to vary even up to about the middle of the stamp in some cases, and of course there had to be some inverted surcharges in both varieties. The number of these has not been published. Illustrations of the inverts will be found as numbers 44 and 45 on Plate II.

The quantity of 3 cent stamps surcharged was reported by the Ottawa correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era[154] as "variously stated to be 9,000,000 to 11,000,000," while Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal is more definite[155] in saying that "there are some 9,000,000 of 3c. stamps in stock, of which about 6,000,000 are of the four leaves type, and the rest have the numerals in the lower corners." Just where these figures were obtained does not appear, but the Postmaster General's report for 30th June, 1900, makes the following statement:—"Included in the stamp output of the year was $123,600 worth of 3 cent stamps, which constituted the unissued remnant of 3 cent stamps in the possession of the department; on the occasion of the reduction of the domestic letter rate of postage they were surcharged and issued as 2 cent stamps." The figures quoted account for only 4,120,000 of the 3[Pg 173] cent stamps, and this quantity is confirmed in the Report for 1901, which says:—"In 1899-1900 3 cent stamps to the number of 4,120,000 were included in the output solely with a view to surcharging them down to 2 cents and transference to that column." The two varieties, however, are not separated in the accounts, but inasmuch as the catalogue prices are now, after ten years, at the same figure for each, it is reasonable to suppose that one is as common as the other and that therefore they must have been issued in approximately equal amounts.

Plate numbers for the surcharges seem to be again recorded in only a half hearted way. But one reference has been found to those of the numeral type, plates 5 and 6[156], and none for the "maple leaf" type.

The reduction in the domestic rate of postage was also the cause of another provisional, but of quite a different character. Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal for January 31, 1899, says:—

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 ⅔ of a 3c. stamp surcharged "2" so we fear that this horrible tale is founded on fact.

In the Journal for March 31, 1899, is further light:—

The surcharged fractions appear to have been used only at the office 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 Journal for April 29, 1899, we find:—

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 very few two cent stamps in stock, so that before I got my supply from Ottawa I ran completely out of[Pg 174] 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. Those stamps I put on letters for delivery within the county as much as possible. About 100 '2' and probably nearly as many '1' were marked with the figures 3 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."

Mr. Horsley reports having a copy on the original cover with the postmark of Port Hood dated 5 January, 1899, which is doubtless the "one day" that they were employed.

A Canada correspondent, writing in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News[157] concerning these "splits", says that "the Dominion Government has announced that they were not authorized and letters having them on for postage should have been charged double rate when delivered." They may be interesting as curiosities, but they are assuredly not worthy of any great attention from collectors. Illustrations of the "2" cent and a pair of the "1" cent will be found as Nos. 37 and 39 respectively on Plate II.

Nothing further in the line of novelties is to be reported until the 29th December, 1900, when a new 20 cent stamp suddenly made its appearance as a companion in design to the rest of the "numeral" series. The large 20 cent stamp of 1893 had finally been exhausted, and the new comer in its neat olive green was a welcome addition to the current set. It of course conformed to the others in engraving, sheet arrangement, etc., and had the plate number 1. An examination of the stamp accounts during its term of life make it appear probable that approximately 500,000 were issued.

Finally the long heralded 7 cent stamp, which was supposed to take the place of the 8 cent stamp after the reduction of domestic postage, made its appearance nearly four years late! It was announced in a despatch to the Toronto Mail and Empire as follows:—

Ottawa, Dec. 18th, [1902].—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 a 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 for the King's head issue.

[Pg 175]

The Postmaster General's Report for 1903, however, gives the issue of 7 cent stamps as occurring on the 23rd December, 1902. The stamp, as was the case with the 20 cent, conformed in all respects to the others of the numeral issue, but was printed in a hideous shade of olive yellow. There was but one plate number, No. 1. It seems probable that about one million copies constituted its total issue.

The above completes the issues of the numeral type stamps with the Queen's head. Glancing over the Reports of the Postmaster General, as usual, for the period during which they were in issue, we find the following items of interest.

In the Report for 30th June, 1899, the introduction of "Domestic Penny Postage" is thus recorded:—

On the 1st January, 1899, the letter rate within Canada was reduced from 3 to 2 cents per ounce. This change has been accompanied by such a marked and continuous increase in the number of domestic letters being transmitted through the mails, as to warrant the conclusion that the loss of revenue consequent on such reduction will soon be overcome.

As a result of the reduction in the Domestic Letter rate of postage, the issue of the 3c. letter card, 3c. stamped envelope and 3c. postage stamp has been discontinued, unused quantities of these, however, continuing available for postage purposes or exchangeable at any post office for their equivalent in postage stamps of other denominations.

On the 1st January, 1899, also, the provisions of the Act which reimposed postage payment on newspapers and periodicals went into effect. This was An Act further to amend the Post Office Act (assented to 13th June, 1898)[158] which we have already quoted as being the Act authorizing the reduction in the domestic postage rate to 2 cents per ounce. The third section of this Act repealed section 26 of the Post Office Act and substituted the following therefor:—

26. On and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine, newspapers and periodicals, printed and published in Canada, mailed by the publisher in the post office at the place where they are published and addressed to regular subscribers[Pg 176] or newsdealers in Canada, resident elsewhere than in the place of publication, shall be transmitted by mail to their respective addresses as follows:—

If they are required to be transmitted by mail a distance within twenty miles from the place of publication or within a circular area of a diameter not exceeding forty miles, and if their publication is of no greater frequency than once a week, they shall be so transmitted free of postage within one or other of such areas to be selected by the publisher in accordance with regulations in that behalf to be established by the Postmaster General; if they are required to be transmitted a greater distance, or if their publication is of greater frequency than once a week, then in either of such cases postage thereon shall be paid on and after the said first day of January, and until and inclusive of the thirtieth day of June next following, at the rate of one-quarter of one cent, and thereafter at the rate of one-half of one cent, for each pound weight or any fraction of a pound weight, which shall be prepaid by postage stamps or otherwise, as the Postmaster General from time to time directs; provided that—

(a) such newspaper or periodical is known and recognized as a newspaper or periodical in the generally received sense of the word, and consists wholly or in great part of political or other news or of articles relative thereto or to other current topics, and is published regularly at intervals of not more than one month;

(b) the full title, place and date of publication, and the distinguishing number of the issue are printed at the top of the first page, and every subsequent page, and also on any paper, print, lithograph or engraving purporting to be a supplement to it and sent with it;

(c) it is addressed to a bonâ fide subscriber, or to a known news-dealer in Canada; and—

(d) it is delivered into the post office under such regulations as the Postmaster General, from time to time, makes for that purpose.

2. For the purpose of determining the weights of such newspapers or periodicals, each newspaper or periodical transmitted separately through the mails shall be held to weight not less than one-half of one ounce.

3. [The Postmaster General to decide whether any publication comes under this section, and whether the requirements have been complied with in any case.]

4. [Books for the blind transmitted free of Canadian postage.]

One other item, not strictly philatelic perhaps, but interesting to record here, is the announcement of the issue of postal notes, the system having been inaugurated throughout Canada on the 4th August, 1898. It was intended[Pg 177] mainly to obviate the need of remitting small sums by mail in postage stamps, with the consequent difficulty to the recipient of disposing of any quantity. The notes were for certain fixed values, odd amounts between values being made up by affixing postage stamps.

Their denominations and dates of issue are recorded as follows:—

 4th Augustissued notes of 25, 50 and 70 cents.
23rd Augustissued notes of $1, $2.50 and $5.
21st Octoberissued notes of 40 cents, $1.50 and $2.
25th Novemberissued notes of 20, 30, 60 and 80 cents.
23rd January, 1899issued notes of 90 cents, $3. and $4.

In the Report for 1900 we find mention of the issue of stamp books.

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.

The stamp accounts give the date of issue of the stamp books as 11th June, 1900. That they have proved popular is evidenced by the increase in the number issued to postmasters from some 320,000 in 1901 to about 1,400,000 in 1910.

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.

Notice is also given of the discontinuance of two denominations of postage stamps, the old 15 cent of 1868 passing quietly away at the age of 31 years, 1 month and 1 day—or on the 2nd November, 1899, to be exact. The 6 cent stamp, for which there was but little call since the reduction of the letter postage to 2 cents, was discontinued on the 10th February, 1900.

From the Report of 1901 we learn that the last issue of the $1 Jubilee stamps took place on 27th June 1900, but nothing is said of dates for the[Pg 178] cents values, all of which appear for the last time in the "issued to postmasters" column in amounts of 700 or 800, and even 2000 in the case of the ½ cent.

The Report of 1902 notes the last issue of the 3 cent stamp in March, 1901, and of the 8 cent stamp, which had been of but little use since the reduction of postage, on the 16th December, 1901.

The Report of 1903 announces the issue of the new King Edward stamps, and of the prepayment of printed matter in cash, instead of by stamps, under the "permit" system. Both of these subjects will be considered in their proper chapters.

Though the Report for 1904 takes us into the period of the King Edward stamps, yet we find it noted therein that the last issue of 6 cent and 8 cent stamps (Queen's head) took place on the 4th September, 1902. Both these values had already been disposed of apparently, but it seems that 100,000 of the 6 cent and 125,000 of the 8 cent were "received from manufacturers" and "issued to postmasters", according to the stamp accounts of 1902-3, and rumor has it that some large concern ordered them for the mailing of catalogues. The date, 4th September, was probably that of delivery to the purchasers.

[148] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 265.

[149] 61 Vict. Chap. 20.

[150] Canada Gazette, XXXII: 1223.

[151] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 324.

[152] Monthly Journal, X: 35.

[153] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 308.

[154] Weekly Philatelic Era, XIII: 393.

[155] Monthly Journal, X: 35.

[156] Weekly Philatelic Era, XIII: 400, 403.

[157] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 187.

[158] 61 Vict. Chap. 20.

[Pg 179]



Ocean Penny Postage, which became the dream of Postal Reformers almost from the date of the adoption of the plan of Rowland Hill, is at length within measurable distance of becoming an accomplished fact. It is true that it is not yet to be the Universal Penny Postage, or even the Imperial Penny Postage so perseveringly advocated by Mr. Henniker-Heaton; but these will come in time, and an immense step in the desired direction has been taken by the adoption of the partial scheme, which is to come into force within a few months." So wrote Major Evans in July, 1898,[159] upon the conclusion of the Imperial Conference on Postal Rates which took place in London during that month.

Many of our readers may have seen the illustrated envelopes, in various designs, which were issued some fifty or sixty years ago in advocacy of an "Ocean Penny Postage." Great Britain, having committed herself to domestic penny postage in 1840, after the herculean labors of Sir Rowland Hill in that behalf, seems to have been looked to by succeeding postal reformers to furnish over-sea transportation along the same lines. Chief among these advocates was Elihu Burritt, the "learned blacksmith" of New Britain, Conn., who not only published documents on the subject but went to England and delivered addresses in support of the idea. Major Evans says:[160]—"What appears to have been the first pamphlet on 'Ocean Penny Postage', issued by Elihu Burritt, was probably published quite at the end of 1848, or early in 1849. It contains a poem dated Christmas, 1848, which may give us approximately the date of publication." This proves extremely interesting, inasmuch as Imperial Penny Postage was put into effect on Christmas, 1898, just a half century later to a day.

[Pg 180] But Burritt's proposal was not that which was accomplished so long afterward. In his own words:[161]

By the term "Ocean Penny Postage" we mean simply this:—That the single service of transporting a letter, weighing under half-an-ounce, from any port of the United Kingdom to any port beyond the sea, at which the British mail-packets may touch, shall be performed by the British Government for one penny; or one penny for its mere conveyance from Folkestone to Boulogne, Liverpool to Boston, &c., and vice versa. Thus the entire charge upon a letter transmitted from any town in the United Kingdom to any port beyond the sea, would be two pence;—one penny for the inland rate, and the other for the ocean rate.

Of course this does not reckon in what might be added for an inland rate at the "port beyond the sea", but the main point was the transportation on the ocean part of the journey at a uniform rate of one penny.

This was practically accomplished—and even bettered—by the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1875; for where Burritt wrote:[162]— "It would meet the terms of our proposition if every letter under half an ounce, from any town in Great Britain to any town in the Colonies, should pay three pence; one penny for the home inland rate, another penny for the ocean, and the third for the colonial inland rate, and vice versa" the Postal Union fixed a charge of but twopence halfpenny as the standard rate between all countries that subscribed to its provisions.

To quote further:[163]

The later discussion in England on the extension of Penny Postage across the seas has alternated between the proposals for Universal Penny Postage and Imperial Penny Postage. Mr. Henry Fawcett, who was Postmaster-General in 1880, was keenly interested in endeavouring to get the Colonies to accept a lower postal rate to and from the Mother Country, but the Colonies were afraid to lower their rates.... Mr. Henniker-Heaton brought up the subject in the House of Commons in 1885 by moving for the opening of negotiations with other Governments, with a view to establishing Universal Penny Postage.... In 1890 the Jubilee of the introduction of Uniform Penny Postage was celebrated in London and throughout the United Kingdom, and public interest in postal matters received a new stimulus.... The long sus[Pg 181]tained agitation for Imperial Penny Postage was at last brought to a definite issue at the Imperial Conference on Postal Rates in 1898. The London Standard of 13th July, 1898, stated:—

"We are authorized 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".

The Postmaster-General who had the distinction of issuing this important communication was the Duke of Norfolk, and the representative of Canada was the Hon. (now Sir) William Mulock, LL. D., Q. C., Postmaster-General of Canada, who gave the chief credit for the reform to the British Empire League.

Nevertheless, Mr. Mulock had been interested not only in the scheme of Imperial Penny Postage but also in endeavoring to obtain a reduction of the Canadian domestic postage to the penny (2 cents) basis. The inland letter rate, it may be remembered, was made 3 cents per half ounce throughout the new Dominion on the 1st April, 1868. Not until the 2nd May, 1889, did legislative enactment raise the limit of weight to one ounce. Meanwhile the United States, on the 1st October, 1883, had lowered its inland rate, which also applied to letters for Canada, to 2 cents per ounce. Agitation for the same reduction had naturally taken place in Canada, but instead of this it was proposed late in 1897[164] to reduce the Postal Union rate of 5 cents per half ounce to the domestic rate of 3 cents per ounce on letters to Great Britain and the Colonies. An Order in Council was actually passed announcing a rate of 3 cents per half ounce to any place in the British Empire, to take effect on 1st January, 1898, but the Imperial authorities objected to it as exceeding Canada's powers as a member of the Postal Union, and it was necessarily abandoned.

Finally legislative enactment was passed on the 13th June, 1898, making[Pg 182] the long desired reduction in the domestic rate to 2 cents, but not to come into operation until the date named by the Governor-General[165]. Within a month, as we have already detailed, the Imperial Conference in London decided on a penny (2 cent) rate for the British Empire and in November it was decided to put this in operation on Christmas day of 1898. Thus the anomaly was created of a 2 cent rate from Canada to England or Africa, but a 3 cent rate from one town to another in Canada. This was remedied a week later, as we have seen, by the proclamation putting the domestic 2 cent rate into force from 1st January, 1899.

As a leader in the final adoption of Imperial Penny Postage, Canada could look with pride upon its accomplishment and may be pardoned for its mild celebration of the event in the guise of a single commemorative stamp. It was unnecessary, of course, and no other Colony attempted it, but Mr. Mulock recognized the opportunity and rose to the occasion. The following clipping from the Ottawa Evening Journal[166] gives some interesting details:—

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 is 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 of 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 Great 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 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[Pg 183] 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.

A reproduction of this multum in parvo composition is shown as No. 38 on Plate II.

This remarkable stamp caused no end of criticism, at home and abroad, not only because of its novel and startling design, but also because of the bombastic legend which appeared upon it. The following clipping from the Chicago Tribune[167] explains the origin of the motto:—

The motto chosen by Mr. Mulock, "We hold a vaster empire than has been," is from the jubilee ode of Sir Lewis Morris, entitled a "Song of Empire", with the date, June 20, 1897, as a subtitle, indicating its tone and purpose. An excerpt from the last stanza, from which the motto was taken, is 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, that we,
Knit fast in bonds of temperate liberty,
Rejoice to-day, and make our solemn jubilee!"

In consequence of the peculiar legend, the stamp has been dubbed, not ineptly, the "has been" stamp.

We learn from a despatch to the Toronto Telegram that the printing of the stamp began on the 1st December:—

Ottawa, Dec. 2, 1898.—(Special)—The Governor-General and Hon. William Mulock, Postmaster-General, presided yesterday at the printing of the first copies of the new imperial penny postage stamp. The design is Mr. Mulock's own[168].

It was thus brought into the world under distinguished patronage—that of its official father and god-father, so to speak. Its baptism came on the 7th December, rather earlier than expected, but explained by the following newspaper clipping[169]:[Pg 184]

Ottawa, Ont., Dec. 5—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.

In the Weekly Philatelic Era, the Canadian correspondent discourses upon its advent as follows, under date of 7th December[170]:—

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 colours. 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 above quotation settles the fact that the first color in which the "seas" were printed was lavender. There has been some discussion on this point. Again, a correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era wrote under date of "Dec. 20th" that "A government official of Canada states that the 2c Imperial postage stamp is to be changed in color from a lavender to a blue. One of your contemporaries states that the color is to be green[171]." Under date of "Ottawa, Dec. 29," another correspondent of the same paper writes[172]:—"The first issue of these geographical stamps, on the 7th instant, had the sea coloured a light lavender. About the 20th, I cannot fix the exact[Pg 185] day, a second supply had the sea coloured a light blue, as nearly as I can judge Prussian blue. And now I am told the third lot are to have the seas much darker in colour, but that is only a rumour." A clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press, however, states that "the second shipment, which arrived on Dec. 13th, were of an entirely different print, although the fact passed unnoticed for some days. The sea on these stamps—and on all the thousands received since—is printed in pale green!" The first shipment is noted as "lavender or pale blue" as usual. Evidently the change in color took place within the first week or ten days after printing began. A dark shade of green is apparently as common as the pale green, and a cancelled copy dated January 13, 1899, is noted in Ewen's Weekly Stamp News. Doubtless it was issued much earlier. The lavender shade seems to have been reverted to in the later issues of the stamp, for it is noted in chronicles as having been received from Canada in February and March, 1899, and the stamp was considered obsolete in April. We venture to think, however, that it was not a reversion to lavender in the printing of the stamp, but rather the remainder of the first printings—for it is well known that when bundles of stamp sheets are placed in stock some of the first packages received may remain at the bottom of the pile for years, while the later ones, placed on top, are used to fill orders.

The stamps were printed in the usual sheet arrangement of 100, ten rows of ten. The black portion was from line engraved plates, but the red and lavender (or green) portions were doubtless printed on the sheets by lithography previous to the impression of the main design of the stamp in black. There are four marginal imprints reading AMERICAN BANK NOTE CO. OTTAWA in Roman capitals ½ mm. high, the inscription being about 29 mm. long, (see illustration number 113 on Plate X). They are placed above the third and eighth stamps of the top row and beneath the corresponding stamps of the bottom row. A plate number, in hair line figures about 4 mm. high, is placed over the division between the fifth and sixth stamps of the top row, and higher up than the imprints. Plates 1, 2, 3 and 5 are known, but we have been unable to find plate 4 recorded, though it would be presumed to exist. All four known plates come with the lavender sea, and probably all four were used with the light green and dark green seas, although we have only been able to find record of plate 1 with the former and plate 2 with the latter.[173]

[Pg 186] Mr. Ewen, in his exhaustive article on these stamps,[174] notes an apparent retouching of one of the plates. He says:—"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." Much space is also given to a description of minor varieties in the red portions of the stamp—omission of islands, extra islands, peninsulas instead of islands, etc., etc. The chief variety, however, occurs in the two dots representing two islands in mid-Pacific: in the normal stamps these two lie one above and one below the "equator", if properly placed; in the variety, which is the sixth stamp in the fifth row (No. 46 in the sheet) both islands lie horizontally just below the equator.

A further variety is the stamp in imperforate condition, of which we are able to illustrate a block of four from the Worthington collection as number 113 on Plate X. This occurs with the bluish, the pale green and the deep green oceans.

It would be interesting to know the number of stamps printed in each of the distinct shades, but we do not know even the total issue of the map stamps. The only reference is in the London Philatelist,[175] where it is remarked that "we understand [it] has been issued to the number of sixteen millions." They were not separated in the stamp accounts, but were reckoned in with the ordinary 2 cent stamps, and the above figure may very likely be the correct one as the number must have been large. We find from a newspaper clipping that the cost of manufacture of these stamps was 45 cents per thousand.[176]

In closing this account of the Christmas stamp it may be interesting to record the story of the first letter sent from Canada at the new rate and bearing the commemorative stamp in prepayment. It is taken from a Toronto newspaper.

Penny ocean postage came into force at midnight on Saturday. The first letter to be posted was one by Mr. J. Ross Robertson, written to Mr. Edward Letchworth, the Grand Secretary, at Freemason's Hall, Great Queen-street, London.... The letter was received at the General Post-Office, Adelaide-street, Toronto, at one second past 12 o'clock on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 25th, by Mr. John Carruthers, the Assistant Postmaster, who certified to the posting with his signa[Pg 187]ture on the envelope. At five seconds past 12 it was handed to Mr. H. S. Allen, chief of the night staff, who, at twelve seconds past the hour, dropped it into one of the electric stamping machines, and at fifteen seconds past midnight it came out in due and proper form, bearing the Toronto postmark of Dec. 25, and the new two-cent stamp in the right-hand corner, duly cancelled, so that it was all ready for the London mail bag, waiting for it and succeeding letters going by the next British mail.

On the envelope was the name of the sender in the upper left-hand corner and the following endorsation in the lower left-hand corner.

"This is to certify that this letter was mailed at the Toronto Post-Office at one-quarter of a minute past 12 o'clock on the morning of Dec. 25, 1898, and is the first letter to be posted and cancelled at the Toronto postoffice, bearing the new imperial penny postage stamp, addressed to Great Britain, (signed) John Carruthers, assistant postmaster."

And under this:

"Received at Freemason's Hall, London, Eng., at ... o'clock, ... day of January, 1899.

"Grand Secretary."

This is probably the first time in philatelic history that race-track timing has been employed on the passage of mail matter through the post!

[159] Monthly Journal, IX: 1.

[160] Stamp Lover, I: 263.

[161] A Penny All the Way, Melville, p. 23.

[162] ibid., page 22.

[163] ibid., page 36.

[164] Weekly Philatelic Era, XII: 129.

[165] See page 169.

[166] Monthly Journal, IX: 87.

[167] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 76.

[168] Ibid., XII: 206.

[169] Ibid., XII. 213.

[170] Weekly Philatelic Era, XIII: 105.

[171] ibid., XIII: 121.

[172] ibid., XIII: 129.

[173] Ewen's Weekly Stamp News, II: 122.

[174] Ewen's Weekly Stamp News, II: 122.

[175] London Philatelist, VIII: 79.

[176] Post Office, IX: 37.

[Pg 188]



The death of the beloved Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, portended momentous changes in the multitude of stamps bearing her effigy throughout the Empire. Canada of course was expected to make the proper substitution of the portrait of the new ruler, King Edward the Seventh, but as time went on seemed in no hurry to do so. In fact it was nearly two years and a half after the Queen's death before the King Edward stamps appeared, and in the meantime but little could be learned concerning Canada's intentions in the matter.

About the first of January, 1903, it was reported in the newspapers that Postmaster-General Mulock had announced "that designs had been submitted, and it has been decided to select one bearing an excellent likeness of His Majesty." In its issue for 18th April, 1903, the Metropolitan Philatelist again gave advance information concerning Canadian stamp matters in the following detailed account:—

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 corner 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.

[Pg 189]

The details given proved correct. The official announcement of the forthcoming issue was given in a circular to postmasters dated 10th June and signed by the Deputy Postmaster-General:[177]

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 colours 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 post-cards, 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 stamps were accordingly issued on "Dominion Day" (July 1st) of 1903. Their actual appearance brought forth the following interesting account of their preparation in the London Philatelist:[178]

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 had 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.

Design of the 1 cent "King's Head" issue of 1903-1908

These have happily been surmounted, and now that the issue is an accomplished fact it is with much gratification that we illustrate[Pg 190] 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 and 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 judgement, 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 colour 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[Pg 191] sovereignty, taken in conjunction with the Canadian maple leaves in the lower angles, complete 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 analyzing the stamp, (1) that the attractiveness of the design has in no way been allowed to militate against its utility, for its 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.

We think it will be obvious, on comparing the illustration of the original design above with the issued stamps, that the modifications introduced into the lower corners by the American Bank Note Co. did not improve the appearance of the design. [Illustration No. 43 on Plate II.]

As stated in the Post Office circular, the colors followed those of the Queen's head stamps, except that the 7 cent value was given a darker shade, more of an olive than before and an improvement on its predecessor. The stamps were of course line engraved and printed in the usual sheet arrangement of ten rows of ten. The imprint was the same as on the Queen's head plates, being placed only over stamps 5 and 6 of the top row. The plate numbers began as before at No. 1 for each stamp, and up to the present writing, (Dec. 1910) there have been recorded the following:—

1cent—1-10, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 24, 25, 34, 47, 48, 51, 52, 55, 58
2cent—1-30, 35-40, 47, 53-59, 62, 63, 67-74, 78
5cent—1, 2
10cent—1, 2

Over a year elapsed before any additions were made to the above set. Finally Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News[179] published in its chronicle the following note from a correspondent:—"On Tuesday, 27th September, [1904] the last sheets of the 20c numerals were issued to the distributing offices, and the first issue of the 20c King's Head was made on the same day." The stamp of course corresponds in all particulars with the others of the set and continues the fine olive green color of its predecessor. But one plate number, 1, has so far appeared. The amount delivered by the manufacturers since its appearance has averaged about 400,000 per year.

[Pg 192]The remaining value of the regular Canadian series, the 50 cent, because of its limited use and the stock of the 1893 issue still on hand, had escaped being included in either of the Queen's Head issues. But the old stock at last ran out in 1908 and on the 19th November, according to Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News,[180] this value appeared in the King's Head type, printed in a rich violet and making a very handsome addition to the series. It conforms in all respects to the other values, and bears the plate number 1. The supply of the stamp received up to 31st March, 1910, was 300,000 copies.

It may have been noticed, however, that no ½ cent stamp has appeared in the King's head design. Trouble over this value seems to have begun to brew with the Jubilee stamps. We have already detailed the story as far as that issue is concerned, and also the manner in which the ½ cent "maple leaf" was forced to appear before the authorities reckoned. Primarily intended for prepaying the rate on transient newspapers, this value was supposed to be employed only in that way, though its use had never been so restricted. Its yearly issue to postmasters had gradually increased from some 300,000 in 1869 to 900,000 in 1895. In 1898 the latter number had doubled, and by 1902 had only fallen to about 1,200,000. The trouble seemed to be partly due, at least, to the fact that stamp collectors were buying them up, and using them largely on their letter mail. This came to the attention of the Post Office Department, and resulted in the following Department Circular, published in the Montreal Star for the 6th December, 1902:[181]

The attention of postmasters is drawn to the fact that the postal necessity for the ½ cent stamp, as such, is now confined to one purpose—prepayment of newspapers and periodicals posted singly, and weighing not more than one ounce each (see Postal Guide, page xii, section 47). 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 ½ cent stamp throughout the Dominion must be appreciably diminished as a result of this restriction of its use. While, of course, any number of ½ cent 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.

[Pg 193]This circular seems to have had the desired effect, at least in good measure, for the stamp accounts in the Reports for succeeding years showed an average issue to postmasters of approximately 400,000 ½ cent stamps, being a reduction of two-thirds. Finally, on the 19th May, 1909, an amendment[182] to the Post Office Act was passed which repealed the provision granting the ½ cent rate to newspapers and periodicals weighing less than one ounce, when posted singly. This placed them in the one cent per ounce class and sounded the death knell of the ½ cent stamp. The stamp accounts in the 1910 Report show 1,700 ½ cent stamps on hand April 1, 1909, and 600,000 more received from the manufacturers. These were all issued to postmasters and a foot-note finishes the story: "Discontinued June 10, 1909."

Just why the ½ cent stamp never was issued in the King's head type cannot be stated. All the other values then in use in Canada had made their appearance in this design, the 20 cent and 50 cent even having delayed their advent until the stock of previous types had been exhausted; but the ½ cent Queen's Head with numerals was regularly received from the printers and distributed to postmasters down to the middle of 1909, six years after the King's Heads first made their appearance. With the end of its usefulness at that time, of course, disappeared all hope of ever seeing it in the King's Head set.

In the issue for October 10, 1908, Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News published 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 created some comment and was made the subject of enquiry of the Post Office Department at Ottawa. The officials repudiated the idea that any such irregularity could have happened, but finally took[Pg 194] steps to authenticate the report. In the issue of February 20, 1909, of the paper already quoted, is the full story of the "find", which has a peculiar interest, as will be seen later.

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, respectively, 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[183], 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 two hundred 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.... Before he showed the stamps to the Weekly, Mr. Lemieux had disposed of the left half of the sheet or about 115 whole stamps to a collector ... on an exchange basis.... Mr. Lemieux was informed that the stamps still in his possession had no little philatelic interest as curiosities and he sold the specimens to Mr. Severn.

Mr. Severn subsequently submitted the stamps to the officials at Ottawa, who pronounced them "printer's waste" and stated that "they seemingly had been trampled upon and subjected to the usage that would be given such cast off 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 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 appeals strongly to the specialist but which the ordinary collector regards as something apart from his collecting policy."[184]

[Pg 195]But now mark the result. The stamps very naturally did not go back to Ottawa, so Ottawa took pains to "get back" at the stamps! In the Weekly of May 22, 1909, a correspondent writes:—

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 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.

The quotation from the Guide appeared in the supplement for April, 1909, and concluded with the sentence:—"Applications for the same should be made to the Postmaster at Ottawa."

It might be inferred, perhaps, from the announcement in the Guide, that the activities of the mailing machine companies had induced the Canadian Post Office Department to cater to their convenience, as had been done in the United States, by issuing sheets of stamps, only purchaseable as such, in imperforate form. But no! The Department gave itself away! Note the following points:—Mr. Severn sent the original imperforates to Ottawa for examination. They had the plate numbers 13 and 14 on them. They were returned with the intimation that "it would be safer not to dispose of the sheet in view of the circumstances under which it reached the public. It was suggested that Mr. Severn might be 'recouped' the amount that he paid for the stamps if he relinquished them."[185] Naturally the stamps did not again see Ottawa. Six months later the Department placed on sale the 2 cent stamp in imperforate sheets of 100, BUT—it was announced that they could only be procured from the Postmaster at Ottawa; that only the 2 cent would be available; that the Department intended to make a separate printing of the stamps; and when collectors obtained them they were found to be from the identical plates 13 and 14 of the "irregular" imperforates that Mr. Severn held, although the regular issues of 2 cent stamps at that time were being printed from plates numbered at least up to 62. We said "identical plates,"[Pg 196] but in view of the early plate numbers and the delay in issuing the imperforates, the suspicion is strong that new plates may have been made and given the old numbers.

As no other values have since been issued imperforate, and as no other plate numbers have appeared in the 2 cent imperforate except the original 13 and 14, there is but one explanation for this "special printing" on these early plates, and that is an attempt to checkmate the holder of the originals and "to destroy what may be called an accidental monopoly of a stamp, the issue of which was not intended previously." As a clincher we make one more quotation:—"Now that Mr. Lemieux, the finder of the imperforates, has received the Quarterly Supplement alluded to, containing the order creating the imperforates neatly blue-pencilled, it is assumed that the issue of the stamps in this form has been made with the idea of rendering the sheet that escaped the department of no value. Thus philately plainly has its influence in this new emission ... and an interesting variety has been added to the philatelic supply by reason of the refusal to return the sheet that accidentally escaped some years ago."

The Postmaster General's Reports for the several years of the King's Head issue (1903 to date) have but little of special interest. The Report of 30th June, 1903, says:—"Towards the end of the fiscal year a new series of postage stamps, bearing the portrait of His Majesty King Edward VII, and comprising five denominations was supplied to Post Masters so as to be on sale throughout the Dominion on the 1st July, 1903."

The Report of 1905 states that a Postal Convention between Canada and Mexico came into operation on 1st July, 1905 by which first, second and third class matter can be sent from either country to the other at the domestic rates of the country of origin.

The fiscal year was once more changed from the 1st July to the 1st April of each year, so that the Reports of the Postmaster General have been made up to the 31st March since 1907. The Report of 1908 states that "for some time past the provisions of the Postal Convention between Canada and the United States relative to the postage on newspapers and periodicals passing between the two countries were felt to be unsatisfactory, and an amendment was made to the Convention (taking effect on 8th May, 1907) by which the rate was fixed at 1 cent for each 4 ounces, calculated on the weight of each[Pg 197] package of newspapers or periodicals, and prepaid by means of postage stamps affixed. The amendment was subsequently modified: and copies of legitimate daily newspapers posted from the office of publication addressed to regular subscribers and newsdealers, can now be sent from Canada to the United States and from the United States to Canada at the rate of 1 cent per pound. Newspapers and periodicals published less frequently than daily are still subject to the rate of 1 cent per 4 ounces."

The issue of the "6c. International Reply Coupon" is recorded as having taken place on the 5th October, 1907. A supply of 500,000 was received from Berne, and of these 62,625 were distributed. The Report for 1909 gives but 2,475 issued from headquarters, and the 1910 Report 14,050.

The 1908 Report also notes the extension of free delivery of letters by carrier to the following places: in Ontario:—Peterboro, Guelph, Berlin, Stratford, Windsor, St. Catherines; in Quebec:—Sherbrooke, St. Hyacinthe, Trois Rivières; in Prince Edward Island:—Charlottetown; in Manitoba:—Brandon; in Alberta:—Calgary, Edmonton.

The Report for 1909 states that "a greatly desired reduction was made in August 1908, in the rate of postage on letters posted for local delivery in cities and other places having free letter carrier delivery service. The former rate was two cents per ounce; the present rate is one cent per ounce."

Further changes in newspaper regulations are noted as follows:—

Some changes have been made in the regulations respecting newspapers and periodicals posted from the office of publication addressed to regular subscribers and newsdealers. (1) The former rate of ½ cent per pound applicable to newspapers and periodicals which required to be transmitted a distance in Canada exceeding three hundred miles, or which were addressed for delivery in a place having Free Letter Carrier Delivery service has been abolished; and now all newspapers and periodicals published not less frequently than once a month can be posted from the place of publication to any place in Canada at the bulk rate of a quarter of a cent per pound. (2) The extent of the circular area in Canada within which newspapers and periodicals published no more frequently than weekly and no less frequently than monthly can be sent free of postage to regular subscribers has been increased from an area having a radius of 20 miles to an area having a radius of 40 miles, the center of which may either be the place of publication or some place not more than 40 miles distant therefrom, according to the wish of the publisher.

The following places are given as having had the system of free delivery of letters by carrier extended to them: in Ontario:—Chatham, Fort[Pg 198] William, Port Arthur, Sarnia, St. Thomas; in New Brunswick:—Moncton; in Saskatchewan:—Regina; in British Columbia:—New Westminster.

The Report for 1910 contains nothing special. New Parcels Post regulations are noted with the United Kingdom, British West Indies, British Guiana and Mexico, by which the rate is made 12 cents per pound or fraction, with a limit of 11 pounds.

In closing the chapter on the King Edward stamps, doubtless ere long to be superseded by "King George" stamps, it may be well to record the following statistics in order to note the progress made in the Post Office Department for the period we have been considering.

31st. Mar. '03.31st. Mar. '10.
Number of Post Offices,10,15012,887
Number of letters and post cards annually,262,437,000501,189,000
Number of registered letters annually,5,470,00010,465,000
Number of pieces of 3rd class matter annually,46,794,00087,237,000
Number of packets and parcels annually,3,790,7407,112,660
Mileage travelled on mail routes annually,35,752,08746,773,727
Net revenue,$4,366,127.75$7,958,547.72

A very important fact is also to be found on examining the financial reports of the Department—that from a deficit (as usual for many years) of $416,183.99 in 1901, and a wee surplus of $5,109.14 in 1902, there has grown to be a surplus of $743,210.25 in 1910. Evidently Canada's Post Office Department is at least run efficiently and economically!

[177] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XVII: 254.

[178] London Philatelist, XII: 162.

[179] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XVIII: 338.

[180] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XXII: 414.

[181] ibid., XVI: 471.

[182] 8-9 Edward VII, Chap. 30.

[183] This was later corrected to June, 1906.

[184] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XXIII: 66.

[185] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XXIII: 190.

[Pg 199]



It may be remembered, perhaps, that in our introductory chapter we noted the fact that the first permanent settlement in Canada was made by Champlain at Quebec in 1608. As the year 1908 approached, the idea of celebrating in proper manner the three hundredth anniversary of this event was strongly agitated, particularly by the French population of the Province of Quebec. Plans were formed and materialized in the shape of fetes, historical pageants, etc., which took place at Quebec in July, 1908, and to be present at which the Prince and Princess of Wales made a special trip across the Atlantic in one of Britain's most powerful warships.

In view of former precedents it was to be expected that the Canadian Post Office Department would also celebrate in a fitting way, and although a new Postmaster General had taken the place of Sir William Mulock, he nevertheless arose to the occasion as the following newspaper despatch shows:—

Quebec, March 31.—Hon. Rudolphe Lemieux, Postmaster Gen. of Canada, announces that a series of postage stamps commemorative of the Champlain tercentenary will be issued at Ottawa on the third of July, which marks the exact anniversary of the foundation of Quebec by Champlain.

No sooner was this fact made known than the Postmaster General was showered with suggestions of all kinds as to the designs of stamps appropriate to the occasion. But after the first announcement the Post Office Department was very reticent in regard to the matter, and letters of enquiry concerning the proposed issue were answered as evasively as possible.

At last the veil was lifted and the following despatch to the Toronto Globe[186] gave definite information concerning the proposed issue:—

Ottawa, July 3, (Special).—Postmaster-General Lemieux has given instructions to issue a series of postage stamps commemorating the tercentenary.[Pg 200]

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 Saincte Hélaine, accompanied by four Frenchmen and one Indian. A salute was given in my honor 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 "départ."

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 Québecq." 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 centenaire de Québec."

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.

Excellent reproductions of this attractive series will be found as Nos. 46-53 on Plate III.

The stamps were placed on sale at Ottawa on the 16th July. They are of the same shape as the Jubilee issue, though the dimensions are 1 mm. higher[Pg 201] and nearly 3 mm. longer. The designs are as already described, except that the legend "Partement pour l'ouest" does not have Champlain's name in it, and the dates 1608 and 1908 are placed in the upper corners. The colors do not wholly correspond with the regular set; the 1, 2 and 5 cent naturally conform, but the ½ cent is in a black-brown and the 7 cent in the fine olive green of the regular 20 cent. The 10 cent is also changed to a handsome violet, while the 15 cent is in orange and the 20 cent in a dark brown.

The stamps are beautifully engraved, as usual, and printed in sheets of 100, ten rows of ten. Above the 5th and 6th stamps of the top row is the regular marginal imprint: "OTTAWA—No.—" and the figure representing the plate number. A peculiar variety has been recorded, however, in the sheets of the 2 cent value, some of those with plate numbers 3 and 4 having the imprint inverted in the bottom margin of the sheet.[187] As it occurs both ways, the only explanation seems to be that the plates may have printed two panes, which were afterwards separated into post office sheets of 100 stamps each, and that by error, perhaps, the imprint was inverted on one of these panes.

The plate numbers of the several values are as follows:—

Plate No. 1.½c., 7c., 10c., 15c., 20c.
Plate Nos. 1, 2.5c.
Plate Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4.1c., 2c.

The stamps are on stout white wove paper and perforated 12.

It may not be out of place to further describe some of the designs of these stamps because of their historical interest. Of course the portraits of the British Royal Family are familiar, that of the Princess of Wales being the one used on the handsome 4 cent stamp of Newfoundland, and that of the Prince of Wales being from a photograph taken by W. and D. Downey of London, just before the Prince's journey to India in 1906. The portrait of Cartier will also be recognized as the one that appeared on the early 10d. stamp of the Province of Canada.

Concerning the picture on the 20 cent stamp, "Arrivée de Cartier, Québec 1535," we find some interesting details given by M. Th. Lemaire:[188]

In 1533 Jacques Cartier obtained from Philippe de Chabot, Admiral of France, authority to arm ships "to voyage, discover and conquer in[Pg 202] New France, as well as to find, by the North-west, the passage to Cathay." On his first voyage he touched Newfoundland, but the advanced season obliged him to return to France. King Francis I thereupon ordered him, as a "royal pilot", to arm three vessels for a second voyage. On the 19th of May, 1535, the flotilla set out from St. Malo. It was composed of two ships, the Grande-Hermine of 120 tons and the Petit-Hermine of 80 tons, and a galley, the Hémerillon, of 40 tons. These are the ones shown on the stamp. The ships were built with the high bows and sterns of those days, and were armed with "falconets" (small cannon) along the sides and "culverins" (long cannon) in a battery on the bridge. The galley was long and narrow, low in the water, and was propelled both by sails and oars; it was armed with two small cannon forward and a dozen large arquebuses. The complement of the three ships comprised in all—officers, gentlemen, volunteers, chaplains, sailors, workmen, servants—a hundred and ten men.

On the 14th September, Cartier arrived at an Indian village, Stadaconé, called also by the natives Canada (or the town), the residence of the chief Donnacona. This village was built on the bay which the river St. Charles forms where it flows into the St. Lawrence, against the steep flank of a mountain, on the spot where now is built the south-eastern section of Quebec. The 20-cent stamp represents this arrival of Cartier at Stadaconé, the future Quebec.

Samuel de Champlain, whose effigy figures on the 1 cent stamp beside that of Cartier, was sent by Henri IV in 1603 to found a settlement in Canada. On his first voyage he sailed up the St. Lawrence river and established friendly relations with the native chiefs. On the second expedition, in 1608, he disembarked on the 3d July at the foot of the promontory of Stadaconé, accompanied by only thirty men.

His first care was to find a favorable place to built a "habitation" with a view to wintering there. "I could find nothing more convenient or better situated, said he, than the point of Québecq, so called by the savages, which was filled with walnut trees." It was on the same spot where, seventy-three years before, Cartier had constructed a fort of tree trunks.

Thanks to the activity displayed by all, the "habitation" was quickly finished. It was composed of three main houses of two stories, each measuring fifteen by eighteen feet. The magazine was thirty-six by eighteen feet, with a six foot cellar. Champlain lodged in the same building with part of the workmen, but on the first story. The other buildings served for the workmen and for storing the arms and munitions. In an ell back of Champlain's quarters, several artisans slept beside their forge. All around the buildings a gallery six feet wide served as a promenade. A ditch fifteen feet wide and six feet deep served to protect the colonists from the aggressions of the savages. Champlain had several breastworks thrown up outside the ditch where he placed his cannon. There remained, between the habitation and the river, only a strip of land about twenty-five feet wide, and behind,[Pg 203] on the side of the cape, a plot of cultivated ground about 100 to 120 paces by 60 paces. There Champlain had wheat and rye planted and also set out vines.

As with the Jubilee stamps, some special sets were made up for presentation purposes. The following press clipping gives the details:[189]

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 Rodolphe 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. Rodolphe Lemieux.

Unlike the Jubilee issue, no advance information concerning quantities printed was given out. Many attempts were made to get this interesting detail, but without result. Even an interpellation of the Postmaster-General in the House of Commons was unproductive, as witness the following excerpt:[190]

Mr. McKechnie sends us information regarding the issue, indicating that there is to be no such vexatious limits set upon the number to be printed as was the case with the Jubilee ½c. Postmaster-General Lemieux is reported, in the Canadian Hansard, to have said in answer to a query as to the number printed of each denomination: "Since the arrangements as to the respective quantities comprising the series are thus far of a necessarily tentative character, being largely dependent upon the demand therefor that may arise, no final estimate has been made of the number to be issued in each denomination."

All of which was simply a parliamentary way of saying "mind your own business", as the full quota of stamps was doubtless printed and delivered at that time. At any rate, a Memorandum for the Postmaster, issued from headquarters under date of 12th September, 1908, states that "With the exception of the 10c, 15c and 20c stamps, all of the Tercentenary postage stamps are now exhausted." However, the question of the quantity issued was again brought up in the House of Commons, after some time, and the following two questions propounded by a member:[191][Pg 204]

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. Rodolphe Lemieux, Postmaster-General, responded: The following was the issue to Postmasters of the Tercentenary postage stamps:

½ cent2,000,000$10,000
1 cent22,530,000225,300
2 cent35,100,000702,000
5 cent1,200,00060,000
7 cent700,00049,000
10 cent500,00050,000
15 cent300,00045,000
20 cent304,20060,840

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 Report of 1909, in referring to this issue, had the following remarks:—

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.

The Report of 1910 notes that the last issue of the Tercentenary stamps was on Oct. 14, 1908,—apparently the 15 cent denomination. The whole issue was thus exhausted in three months' time.

[186] Ewen's Weekly Stamp News, No. 462.

[187] Ewen's Weekly Stamp News, Nos. 478, 480.

[188] Journal des Philatélistes, 5th Series, page 298.

[189] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XXII: 265.

[190] Canadian Hansard, 31st March, 1909, page 3754.

[191] Ibid., XXII: 256.

[Pg 205]



The first mention that we find concerning the registration system in Canada is in the Postmaster General's report for the year ending 31st March, 1856, in the following words:—"The number of letters passing through the Post under the Registration System commenced in May 1855, is very great, and is rapidly increasing." The number of letters is given in even figures as 350,000 during the first year. The Report states further:—"In October 1856, an agreement with the Post Office Department of the United States took effect for a system of Registration to be applied to letters passing between the two countries. Under this arrangement a person posting a letter on either side can, by the pre-payment of a fee of 3d. in addition to the ordinary postage, secure a continuous record of its transmission from the place of posting to the place of destination, where a receipt will be taken and preserved of the due delivery of the letter so registered." Further details are found in the postal section of the Canadian Directory for 1857-8, 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 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 Postal Department is not liable for the loss of any registered letters.]

[Pg 206]

The next year's Report gives the number of registered letters posted annually as computed at 500,000. The Report of 30th September, 1858 also says: "About 500,000 letters were registered last year", and goes on to state:—"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." From this it is evident that the postage stamps were not then used for indicating the payment of the registration fee. Just when they were permitted to be so employed does not appear, but it was doubtless within a comparatively short time thereafter, as we have seen a cover with stamp so used which was dated in 1862; in fact it seems probable that arrangements for using stamps to indicate the payment for registration may have accompanied the introduction of the decimal stamps in 1859.

Further remarks upon the registration system are found in the Report for 1860, 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 acknowledgement of the receipt of the specific letter, has always been considered to be a cardinal 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 to supplied.

From the above it is evident that the domestic rate of registration was 2 cents in 1860, the equivalent of the 1 penny rate already noted as being in force in 1857, and doubtless the original rate when the system was inaugurated in 1855—certainly a remarkably cheap fee for the service. Of course the rate for letters to the United States, which had been fixed at 3 pence in 1856, was held at the equivalent of 5 cents upon the change to decimal currency in 1859.

Nothing further of special interest is found until the Report of 1864, in which the following dissertation occurs:—

When a letter is registered, that is to say marked and recorded in the Post Office so as to individualize it from the bulk of ordinary letter correspondence, its presence in the Post Office can be identified[Pg 207] 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 misdirection 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 employés, a registered letter is incomparably more secure than an unregistered one, for an unregistered money-letter leaves no trace behind it whilst passing in the great stream of ordinary correspondence, though its presence as a 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 in 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.

In the Report for 1865 it is stated that "there has been a reduction in the charge on Registered letters" between Canada and the United Kingdom, but we are left in the dark as to the amount of the reduction or the new rate, as far as the Report goes, but in a Post Office Directory for 1866 (dated October 1, 1865) we find the following table which gives us the information desired:—


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

On Letters to any other place in Canada, or British North America2cents
On Letters for the United States5"
On Letters for the United Kingdom12½"
On Letters for British Colonies or Possessions, sent via England25"
On Letters for France and other Foreign Countries, via England, an amount equal to the postage rate.

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

The Post Office Act 1867 made the domestic registration of letters containing valuables compulsory, the Postmaster General being empowered to prescribe and enforce regulations "in respect to the registration by the officers of the Post Office of letters unquestionably containing money or other valuable enclosure when posted without registration by the senders of the same,[Pg 208] and to imposing a rate of two cents registration charge upon such letters."[192]

The Report for 1868, which was the first of the Dominion of Canada, gave the statistics of registered letters as 640,000 for Ontario and Quebec (the former Province of Canada), 24,700 for New Brunswick, and 40,000 for Nova Scotia, a total registered correspondence of 704,700. The next year's Report especially notes the increase in the use of the registration system, the total having advanced to 850,000 pieces, while the Report for 1870 records an even million.

Finally in the Report for 1872, we find the first hint of special stamps for registration purposes, as follows:—

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.

We have here the reason for the extremely cheap domestic registry fee of 2 cents—a reason which might, possibly with profit, even, enter more deeply into the calculations and published rates of even larger countries than Canada.

The above recommendation did not bear immediate fruit, but after a delay of three years the suggested special stamps made their appearance on November 15, 1875. The Report of that year says of them:—

Registration stamps have been issued, to be used by the public in prepaying the registration charges on letters passing within the Dominion, or to the United Kingdom or United States, each destination being distinguished by a different colour 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 prepayment of the registration charges on letters within the Dominion.[Pg 209]

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.

The special registration stamps are too well known to need any particular description, especially as they are excellently illustrated as Numbers 54, 55 and 56 on Plate III. Like the ordinary postage stamps, they are engraved on steel and were originally printed in sheets of 50, ten horizontal rows of five stamps each, which made a sheet of nearly the same size, only turned through an angle of 90°, as the ordinary sheet of 100 postage stamps. 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.[193] 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 normal colors for the stamps were:—

The stamps were printed upon the same ordinary white wove paper as was used for the contemporary postage stamps. The variation from thin to thick quality is found in the case of the 2 cent and 5 cent stamps, but very little variation in the 8 cent stamp. This is explained by the fact that there were probably but two printings of the latter stamp, 100,000 having been delivered by the manufacturers according to the Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1875, and 25,000 more according to the next year's report.[Pg 210]

The stamps were normally perforated 12, but the 2 cents in orange and the 5 cents in dark green are both known in imperforate condition, the latter having been chronicled in the Halifax Philatelist for November, 1888. A vertical pair of the 5 cent is shown as illustration No. 115 on Plate X.

In the Report for 1877 we find the following:—"The Registration charge on registered letters between the United Kingdom and Canada has been reduced from 8 cents to 5 cents by the Post Offices of the United Kingdom." This naturally dealt a heavy blow at the use of the 8 cent stamp. The Stamp Journal for February, 1878, said:—"Mr. E. Burpee states that the 8 cent 'Registered' stamps have been called in, and that hereafter the fee to Great Britain and foreign countries will be the same as to the United States—5 cents." The next issue, however, corrected this:—"After January, 1878, the cost of registering letters to Great Britain has been fixed at 5 c, the same as to the United States.... To foreign countries the rate is as before, 8 cents, and therefore there is no suppression of the 8 cent registered stamps."

Nevertheless, the rate to foreign countries must have been reduced not long after, as the statistics for stamps issued to postmasters between the 1st July, 1878 and the 1st July, 1879 give but 25 of the 8 cent registered stamp, which must therefore have been sent out early in the fiscal year. The total issues to postmasters, according to the Reports, were as under:—


The number returned as "unfit for use" and presumably destroyed during the several years was 8,872. This gives a total issue of 89,700 for the 8 cent stamp, according to the Reports; but the Canadian correspondent of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News stated:[194]—"In 1878 a little over 75,000 of these [original 125,000] were destroyed by order of the Postmaster-General." This probably means that the stamps were called in after their usefulness ceased, and allowing for the amount destroyed during the period of issue gives us perhaps 40,000 as the number actually issued to the public from post offices.

[Pg 211] The 2 cent and 5 cent stamps remained in use, but when the general revision of rates took place in 1889 the domestic rate was raised to 5 cents, and the 2 cent stamp lost its usefulness, the 5 cent alone remaining. We have already reproduced the circular announcing these changes,[195] and will only repeat here the paragraph relating to the registration fee:—

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.

This notice was dated 8th May, 1889, and the Report of 30th June following remarks further:—

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 British American Bank Note Co. from Montreal to Ottawa, which we have already noted as resulting in some marked changes in the shades of the regular postage stamps,[196] was not without its effect upon the registration stamps. Apparently the same ink used for printing the ordinary 3 cent stamp was used for the 2 cent registration, for we find both stamps chronicled in the Halifax Philatelist for October, 1888, as having appeared in a "bright carmine." The usual catalog designation for this 2 cent registration stamp is "scarlet vermilion", but we think that "brick red" best describes the ordinary shade in which these Ottawa printings are found, though the Halifax Philatelist recorded a "dull rose" tint in March, 1889.

The 5 cent stamp was also noted in blue green in the November, 1889, issue of the Philatelic Record, a few months after the regular 2 cent postage stamp appeared in the same shade, again apparently showing the use of the same ink in printing both stamps.

During its regular currency the 2 cent stamp had risen from an issue to postmasters of 937,000 in 1876 to 2,800,000 in 1889, but the change in rates caused a drop to 600,000 in 1890, 14,850 in 1891, and 100 in 1892, while a straggling lot of 400 appeared in 1896.[Pg 212]

The 5 cent stamp was distributed to the amount of about 232,000 in 1876, but ran up gradually from 135,000 in the next year to half a million in 1889. The increase in rates jumped it to nearly three times this amount in 1890, and by 1893, when the regular 8 cent stamp was issued for combined postage and registration, the annual output of the 5 cent registration stamp was 2,260,000.

It may be remembered that after the removal of the engraving company from Montreal to Ottawa certain of the low value postage stamps appeared printed from plates of two hundred impressions instead of the ordinary one hundred. In like manner we find that new plates of double size were made for the 5 cent registration stamp also, these being in one hundred impressions, ten rows of ten, but without the "Ottawa" imprint which appeared on the enlarged plates of the regular postage stamps, according to the Dominion Philatelist, which noted the new sheet arrangement in October, 1892.

On the 1st August, 1893, the regular 8 cent stamp was issued to prepay the combined postage and registration fee, and the notice we have already quoted in that connection stated[197] that when the supply of the 5 cent registration stamp on hand was exhausted no more would be issued. The Report for 1894 states that 307,900 were issued to postmasters for the year ending 30th June, and as over two and a half millions had been issued in the previous twelve-month, the probability is that the supply was exhausted about the time of the appearance of the 8 cent postage stamp, and therefore the stock in the hands of postmasters must have been pretty well used up by 1894.

There is one point left in connection with the registration stamps that deserves mention, as it has so frequently been a bone of contention. The 2 cent stamp was formerly listed in brown, and quantities of printer's ink and valuable space have been wasted in discussing its merits. Mr. Donald A. King seems to have been the discoverer of the variety, according to the Halifax Philatelist,[198] where it was exploited in an article which is worth quoting here for its historical value.


The Canada 2c. brown registration is at this time mentioned frequently in the Figaro and several other philatelic publications. As there seems to be considerable doubt as to the origin, and as I was in the main instrumental in introducing them to the philatelic public, I[Pg 213] have decided to give the information I possess on this subject to them.

About the beginning of January, 1887, I was shown a registered letter received from Miscou Light House Post Office in New Brunswick. It had a BROWN 2c. registration stamp on it—a clear unmistakable dark brown. I immediately wrote the postmaster there for information relative to them. He answered and said that he had 23 on hand. That he had originally received 50 from the P. O. Dept. at Ottawa, and that they were BROWN when he received them. This he stated positively. I then sent to him for them, but before my letter reached him he had used two of them so that I received only 21.

Those stamps I showed to several philatelists, and could not get two to agree as to their origin. Some said the change in color was due to the gum, others to chemical changes, others again said it was due to the atmosphere from the salt water. Very few would allow a misprint. In the meantime Mr. F. C. Kaye also came across another registered letter with brown registration stamp. This time it was from the P. O. of New Ross in Lunenberg Co., N. S. From this office about 50 were obtained. The postmaster at this office was also positive as to having received them from the Dept. at Ottawa in brown. The same objections were raised to those as to the others, as to whether they were a genuine misprint or not. In this case the atmosphere of salt water was not the cause as New Ross is in the interior. If the gum was the cause of their changing color, it is peculiar that we do not get more of them. Changes by chemical means were also tried. The only thing which would turn the red of the genuine color to brown, was sulphuric acid mixed with water, and this did not give a good clear color, having a somewhat greyish shade in it. Those experiments have, in my opinion, confirmed their genuineness. And now as if to make assurances in regard to their genuineness more sure, we find a third post office with them. This was Beauly, in Antigonish Co., N. S. There were, however, only 6 received from there, the postmaster had the same story as the others, he had received them from the Dept. at Ottawa in a brown color.

The Department at Ottawa was written to in regard to them, but as was to be expected, knew nothing of them whatsoever. No doubt if they had been seen they would not have been allowed to be issued to the public.

Again we find some details given in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News[199] under "Canadian Notes" which evidently refer to another lot:—

In this color the stamps were first issued in 1885, and were distributed to a number of small towns in Ontario. Some months later the attention of the Postmaster at Toronto was called to this stamp, and as he had received no official notification of an emission in this[Pg 214] color, he caused inquiry to be made as to the authenticity of these stamps. A number of offices that had them on hand were communicated with, and all the answers were positive in the statement that the color of the stamps when received had been a decided brown, and had not undergone the slightest change by the action of either time or chemicals. A number of these letters are in the hands of a collector here, and are proof positive that this stamp was issued in a brown color.

In spite of this brave showing, however, it is practically certain that the stamps are not a misprint but color changelings caused by oxidation, or rather "sulphuretting" to be more exact, an effect peculiarly liable to take place with stamps printed in red or orange. The same thing is found to occur in other Canadian stamps, the 3 pence and 5 cent of the Beaver type, the first issues of Newfoundland and the 3 cent, 1851, of the United States, as well as some of the red and orange colored revenue stamps of the Civil War period. In fact the change is carried almost to a black, at times, but can be restored to the original color by the application of hydrogen peroxide.

[192] 31o Vict. Cap. X. Sec. 10, par. 11. See page 96.

[193] See page 125.

[194] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, II: 45:2.

[195] See page 136.

[196] See page 128.

[197] See page 143.

[198] Halifax Philatelist, II: 8.

[199] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, VI: 96.

[Pg 215]



Canada managed for years, like many other countries, to collect the postage due on insufficiently prepaid mail matter by merely marking the amount on the cover. The use of stamps as checks on those responsible for making the collections seems not to have been appreciated, or more probably was not deemed necessary. At last the advantages of such a system seem to have become manifest, and in the Postmaster General's Report for the 30th June, 1906, we find the following:—

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 short paid 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.

The denominations of these stamps are 1, 2 and 5 cents.

The first issue of the stamps to postmasters was on the 1st June, 1906, but the system did not come into operation until a month later. The following is the official notice with the technical portions omitted:—


OTTAWA, 1st June, 1906.

Circular to Postmasters of Accounting Offices.

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 extra postage charged on such article.[Pg 216]

(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 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.

The new stamps were of the same size as the regular postage stamps, but with the longer dimension horizontal. A large numeral in a central tablet flanked by an acanthus scroll at each side, CANADA above, CENTS below, and POSTAGE DUE in block letters along the bottom, all on an engine-turned groundwork, make a very neat and effective design for the purpose intended. [Illustrations Nos. 58, 59 and 60 on Plate III.] The engraving is of course in the usual steel plate process, and the sheets are of 100 stamps in ten rows of ten. The marginal imprint is at the center of the top of the sheet and is the same as for the later postage issues, "OTTAWA—No—1" or "2". So far there have appeared the following plate numbers:—

1 centNo. 1
2 centNo. 1 and 2
5 centNo. 1

The numbers printed, according to the Reports, have been as follows:—

1 cent500,000700,000300,000600,000
2 cent1,100,000500,000900,000900,0001,300,000
5 cent200,000200,000200,000200,000400,000

All three values were printed in the same shade of dark violet, but in 1909 the 5 cent was reported in a red violet.

[Pg 217]



The Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1898, contained the following announcements:—

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 this 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 following circular gives the details of the new system:—


Ottawa, 7th June, 1898.

Circular to Postmasters.

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 de[Pg 218]livery 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-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 10 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 recognized 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 every case. Such care will serve not only to prevent mistakes, but also to facilitate delivery.[Pg 219]

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.

* * * * *

Deputy Postmaster General.

For a description of the stamp itself we cannot do better than quote the Montreal Witness:—

The Special Delivery stamp differs materially in design and size from the ordinary series, the dimensions of the engraved work being 1¼ inches long by ⅞ of an inch wide [31 × 23 mm.]. The advantage of such a contrast is obvious. The letter to which a Special Delivery stamp is affixed can thus be at once picked out by those handling the mails including it, and its delivery greatly hastened. The design of the Special Delivery stamp is without any vignette, and consists substantially of a panel across the top containing the words "CANADA POST OFFICE", with a lathe-work border round the other three sides of the stamp. The center of the stamp is occupied by an oval containing lathe-work, with the word "TEN" in the center, and the phrase "SPECIAL DELIVERY WITHIN CITY LIMITS" in a white letter, on a solid panel encircling the word "TEN". On each side of the stamp, connecting the oval with the border, is a circle with the numeral "10"; the space between the oval and the border is occupied by ornamental work. At the bottom of the stamp, in the lathe-work border, appears a white panel with the words "TEN CENTS".

The stamp is illustrated as Number 57 on Plate III. It is line engraved and printed in sheets of 50, ten rows of five. The usual imprint, OTTAWA—No.—1, is found in the margin at the top of the sheet, over the third stamp. But one plate number has yet appeared. The color was at first a deep green which in 1908 took on a bluish cast. The paper used is the thick white wove ordinarily employed for the regular postage series, and the stamp has also appeared on the toned paper on which the 1 cent postage is known. The annual requisitions from the manufacturers have increased from 25,000 in 1898 to 112,500 in 1910.

To return to the Postmaster General's Reports. That of the 30th June, 1899, states:—"The 10 cent Special-Delivery stamp, 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[Pg 220] to show that the service is being availed of to a considerable extent throughout the country." The date of the first issue of the special delivery stamp to postmasters is given as the 28th June, 1898.

No further mention is made of the service until the Report dated 31st March, 1908, which says that the special delivery service had been extended to thirteen places where free carrier service had been installed,[200] and further 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 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."

The Report for 1909 states that the service has been extended to the eight places where free letter delivery by carrier had been installed during the year.[201]

[200] See page 197.

[201] Ibid.

[Pg 221]



Strictly speaking, the so-called "officially sealed stamps" are not stamps, as that term is technically employed in philately. To the uninitiated any design impressed upon a label, whether gummed and perforated or not, may be termed a stamp; but the ordinarily accepted use of the term has been restricted, at least in philatelic lore, to the label that represents a value, collected or chargeable, in the service in which it is employed. There may therefore be postal, telegraph or fiscal stamps, and because of the identity in use—to show that no fee is required,—we can stretch our definition to include franking labels, such as are often used officially. But the "officially sealed" label performs no such function, and is, as its name implies, simply a seal which fulfils that purpose alone and therefore does not properly belong in the company of postage stamps. Our only reason for touching upon these labels here is that they have been included in some of the catalogs for years and many collectors possess them; consequently it seems desirable to give their history along with that of their more worthy prototypes.

The label figured as Number 117 on Plate X, seems to have been first reported in Le Timbre-Poste for October, 1879, and its date of issue is usually given as that year. But little seems to have been known about it for some time, which perhaps was partly due to its scarcity and partly because it did not attract the notice that a regular postage stamp issue would have.

The London Society's book quoted a somewhat ambiguous explanation of the use to which the label was put, which had appeared in the Halifax Philatelist;[202] but it remained for Major Evans to clear up the matter in the columns of the Philatelic Record.[203] We cannot do better than quote this in full:—

With reference to what is said about the Canadian officially-sealed label in the London Society's new book, I am glad to be able to throw some light upon the question as to the manner of its employment.[Pg 222]

When I was in Canada last July [1889] 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 the head-quarters at 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.

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 for reclosing them.

The labels are of relatively large size, being 25½ by 38 mm. The design is mostly engine-turned work, with the words OFFICIALLY SEALED on a label across the center; above this appears, in a curve, POST OFFICE CANADA, and beneath likewise DEAD LETTER OFFICE. The label is a fine piece of line engraving, but we have been unable to ascertain the size of[Pg 223] the sheets in which it was printed. Doubtless the usual four marginal imprints were employed, being the "Montreal" type in pearled border.

It seems to be the general idea that the first printing of the labels, which were in a dark red-brown, was the only one, but no information is at hand concerning the quantity delivered. At any rate in the Canadian Notes in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News for November 30, 1892 we read that:—"From a reliable source it is learned that the old die of the Canada official seal stamp has been spoiled or rather destroyed for further use by the Bank Note Company, who have possession of it." We suggest that the words "spoiled" and "destroyed" have been transposed in the original, the meaning evidently being that the die had been defaced as of no further use.

The labels were normally perforated the usual 12, but the same journal for April 13, 1892 reports that a whole sheet had been seen in an imperforate condition.

Though various rumors that the use of these labels was to be discontinued are to be found in the late "90's" and early "00's", and though the defacing of the die would perhaps indicate such intention, yet a new issue in changed design made its appearance about 1905, which was of course engraved by the American Bank Note Co., who then held the contract for furnishing stamps. This handsome label, figured as Number 116 on Plate X, was adapted from the magnificent "Law Stamps" of the "series of 1897", which stand as some of the finest fiscal stamps ever issued. The central vignette, with its portrait of Queen Victoria at the time of the Diamond Jubilee, the word CANADA arched above, and the engine-turned border, are reproduced in their entirety from the fiscal stamp; DEAD LETTER OFFICE and more engine-turned work replace the LAW STAMP inscription of the prototype beneath the vignette, and OFFICIALLY SEALED is filled in in block letters of varying heights at the top.

The labels are of course line engraved and perforated 12, but the sheet arrangement or details of quantity printed cannot be given. They were issued at first on a pale blue paper, but subsequently, about 1907, appeared on plain white paper.

[202] North American Colonies of Great Britain, page 19; Halifax Philatelist, I: 15.

[203] Philatelic Record, XI: 210.

[Pg 224]



In its issue for June, 1904, the London Philatelist[204] illustrated a cover, submitted by Mr. E. B. Greenshields of Montreal, which had the appearance of a provisional 3d. envelope. Concerning it Mr. Greenshields said:—"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 round 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.'" The design was printed on the right upper corner of the envelope, "Three Pence" being in script type of a style then in vogue, and the border being a common type of loops. No stamp appeared on the cover nor the word PAID.

On enquiry of the Post Office Department at Ottawa the following reply was sent:—

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....

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 23d 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.

[Pg 225]

Inasmuch as the impression is type-set and printed, it was doubtless a scheme of the Postmaster to prepare the envelopes and save stamping them with the office seals afterwards, as would be necessary if no adhesive stamp were attached. The cover in question was evidently used for his own convenience, but its use as a stamped envelope would depend upon whether it was sold to the public for their convenience as a prepaid cover. Under such conditions it would assume a character akin to the Postmaster's Provisionals of the United States, but no such evidence has been forthcoming, nor are other copies known. It is an interesting cover, particularly because of the lack of the word PAID, which should have been stamped upon it as well as the indication of the amount, according to the rules in force before adhesive stamps were used to indicate prepayment in themselves; but it had no government sanction, and has not yet been shown to have even the rank of a "semi-official issue."

Although following closely upon the heels of the United States in issuing postage stamps, less than four years having intervened, Canada was not so eager to introduce the stamped envelope, for she waited over six years before following the example of her big neighbor. The first reference to the innovation is found in the Postmaster General's Report for 30th September, 1859 (although the Report is actually dated 20th February, 1860), and reads as follows:—

For the promotion of public convenience by facilitating the prepayment of letters, Stamped Envelopes bearing Medallion Stamps of the postage value of 5c. and of 10c. respectively have been procured and issued for sale to the public, at an advance of ½ a cent on the value of each stamp, to cover the cost of the envelope, and of engraving the stamp, &c.

The precise date of issue does not seem to be on record, but the year 1860 is always given. From the stamp accounts, quoted below, we find the quantity issued for sale is qualified by the remark "during 8 months to Sept. 30", which would indicate that the envelopes were issued about the 1st February, 1860; and we have therefore assigned this date to them until a more authoritative one is produced.

The next reference to the envelopes, including the accounts, appears in the Report for the year ending 30th September, 1860, as follows:[Pg 226]

Received from Mfrs.200,000100,00021,500.00
Issued for sale during 8 months to Sept. 30,136,17745,65112,283.09

The number of Stamped Envelopes, actually used by the public, has been but small, as a considerable proportion of those issued remain in the hands of Postmasters.

The cost of manufacture of the stamped envelopes was included, as we have already seen,[205] in the payments made to the American Bank Note Co. for stamps, etc., in 1860, so that they were obtained from that firm. They were not manufactured by them, however, but by George F. Nesbitt & Co. of New York, who at that time held the contract for supplying the United States Government with stamped envelopes. The similarity of the stamped impression, both in size and general arrangement, to the United States envelope dies of 1860 will be noted, and the paper used for the envelopes will be found to be similar, even to the watermark, while the two "knives" used for cutting the envelope blanks will be found to agree with numbers 2 and 11 of the Tiffany, Bogert and Rechert catalog. It was evidently a case of the Bank Note Co. subletting the contract to Nesbitt, who was regularly in the business.

Nothing further appears in the Reports in regard to the stamped envelopes, except the tables of statistics, until the Report of 30th June, 1864, which says:—"In order to promote the use of the Stamped Envelopes a reduction in the price to the public was made from 1st October, 1864, from $5.50 per 100 for the five cent and $10.50 per 100 for the ten cent envelopes, to $5.30 and $10.30 per 100 respectively." But even this bait did not attract, for the next year's Report remarks:—"The recent reduction in the price of stamped envelopes has not led to any material increase in the demand." For two years longer the accounts are given, but with the first Report of the Dominion of Canada, for the year ending 30th June, 1868, they disappear, the envelopes evidently having been given up as a bad investment at the close of the accounts of the Province of Canada, when it was merged into the Dominion.

We have already quoted the figures for the first supplies received and the quantities first issued to postmasters. It may be well to give the entire record for its historical value:[Pg 227]

5 cent.10 cent.
Balance on hand, 30th Sept. 1860,63,82354,349
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,1,5291,905
Issued for sale during year,20,700806
Balance on hand, 30th Sept. 1861,44,65255,448
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,251314
Issued for sale during year,9,595844
Balance on hand, 30th Sept. 1862,35,30854,918
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,4
Issued for sale during year,15,200900
Balance on hand, 30th Sept. 1863,20,10854,022
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,5,0002,997
Issued during 9 months,14,800850
Balance on hand, 30th June, 1864,10,30856,169
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,6,4445,632
Received from manufacturers,25,000
Issued for sale during year,23,5835,698
Balance on hand 30th June, 1865,18,16956,103
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,382225
Issued to 30th June, 1866,16,225625
Balance 30th June, 1866,2,32655,703
Returned by Post Masters, unsold,193
Deduct envelopes short received,10
Issued to 30th. June, 1867,2,270172
Balance 30th. June, 1867,4655,724

[Pg 228]

These figures are the last that appear concerning the first issue of envelopes, the next Report, as already stated, having no mention of them at all. It was very probably because there were not enough to supply the added Provinces of the Dominion, in the case of the 5 cent envelopes, and principally because they did not seem to be popular enough to warrant continuing their use that the envelopes did not remain in issue under the Dominion Government.

An inspection of the above table shows that the 5 cent envelopes were apparently issued at an average rate of perhaps 15,000 a year, while 800 only of the 10 cent were ordinarily put forth. This might indicate a fair consumption of the lower value by the public, particularly as the total receipt from the manufacturers was 225,000 and but 46 remainders are given at the close of the account. But it must be remembered that the table gives the quantities "issued to postmasters" and not the sales to the public by the postmasters. We know the public did not take particularly to the use of the envelopes, so that there were doubtless large quantities of them in postmaster's hands when their sale was discontinued. These would naturally be returned to the Department and destroyed, which would of course materially reduce the quantity issued as taken from the tables. Unfortunately these latter figures have not been obtainable; but it is certain from the rarity of used copies that nothing like 224,954 of the 5 cent and 44,276 of the 10 cent envelopes could have been sold to the public. We are able to illustrate an entire used copy of each value as Numbers 130 and 131 on Plate XIV.

Embossed envelope stamp design.

As already stated, the envelope stamps were very similar in size and style to the United States envelope dies of 1860. The inscription CANADA POSTAGE is in the frame above the head and the value below, reversing the United States arrangement, and there are no stars separating the legends. The embossed head of Queen Victoria was evidently copied from the profile used on the 1 cent stamp of 1859. The 5 cent stamp is printed in vermilion and the 10 cent in dark brown. There was but one size of envelope, 5½ × 3¼ inches (140 × 83 mm.), and but one quality of paper for the first order—a white laid paper with a slightly yellowish tone, watermarked with the letters Ca over POD (Canada Post Office Department) which appears about twice in each envelope. The paper was cut so that the laid lines run diagonally, and the knife used was that numbered 2 in the Tiffany, Bogert and Re[Pg 229]chert catalog of United States envelopes, with rounded flap and yellowish gum, extending nearly the length of the flap.

In the table given it will be noticed that 25,000 more 5 cent envelopes were received from the manufacturers in 1865. These latter were on a white paper of similar quality with a slightly bluish tone, and a slightly different knife had been used in cutting the blanks, which corresponds to that numbered 11 in the catalog quoted. The difference consists mainly in a more pointed flap than the first knife.

The London Philatelist for December, 1896, contained the following startling announcement under the head of CANADA:[206]

Mr. L. Gibb, of Montreal, kindly submitted to his fellow members of the London Philatelic Society, at a recent meeting, a curious variety among the stamps of the Colony he resides in. The specimen in question was the 10 c. envelope of 1860 impressed in vermilion, instead of its normal colour—brown, and being presumably printed in error in the color of the 5c. The stamp was unfortunately cut round, but was on the diagonally laid paper usual to the Issue, duly postmarked, and, in the opinion of the members present, had every appearance of authenticity, although surprise was expressed that so marked a variety should never have been noted before.

Nothing further has apparently been learned about it since, but in the face of the above statements and opinions it seems necessary to record it.

Both values were reprinted[207] by the Nesbitt Company in 1868 on pieces of white wove paper and also vertically laid buff paper, the 5 cent copying the color of the original, but the 10 cent being in a dark red brown instead of black brown. They were also printed in the same colors on entire envelopes of white and buff laid paper with the POD over US watermark of the regular United States stationery. These were a size smaller than the regular Canadian envelopes, being 137×77 mm. A further variety is noted in the Catalogue for Advanced Collectors,[208] as follows:—"There is also a second type of the 5c to be found on the same papers as above reprints which was probably struck off in the same year. The stamp is a trifle larger and the head smaller than on the accepted die; this is probably a die prepared by Nesbitt but refused by the Canadian Government."

[Pg 230] The Dominion Government, which discarded the Provincial stamped envelopes from the beginning, did not essay anything in that line for nearly ten years. Finally the following notice was sent out:—


Ottawa, 6th October, 1877.


1. Letter envelopes bearing an impressed postage stamp of one cent, and three cents respectively, are ready for issue to Postmasters and through their agency to Stamp Vendors for sale to the public.

2. These envelopes when issued to Postmasters will be charged to them, and will have to be accounted for by them at the following rates:

One cent envelopes,$1.30
Three cent envelopes, No. 1 size,3.30
Three cent envelopes, No. 2 size,3.35

3. The three-cent envelopes are of two sizes, No. 2 being larger than No. 1 and Postmasters, when asking at any time for a supply, will be careful to state how many of each size they want.

4. Postmasters and Stamp Vendors will be required to sell these envelopes at the above rates per hundred to the public, and when a request is made for a single envelope, or for any number less than a hundred, the charge for the same must be made by the Postmaster or Stamp Vendor, as near the exact proportionate value, as compared with the above rates per hundred, as the fraction will permit without loss to the Postmaster or Stamp Vendor, thus ten of the three-cent envelopes, No. 1 size, should be sold for thirty-three cents, five for seventeen cents, and two for seven cents.

5. When used these envelopes will represent the pre-payment of postage to the amount of the stamp impressed thereon, and when used for letters weighing more than ½ an oz., or on which the pre-payment is required of more than is represented by the impressed stamp, the difference may be affixed by ordinary postage stamps.

6. The impressed stamp must be carefully cancelled by Postmasters when the envelopes are posted.

7. An impressed stamp cut from an envelope cannot be used for pre-payment of postage in any shape, and when detached from the envelope on which it was impressed, it loses all value as a postage stamp.

8. In the accounts rendered by Postmasters, the amounts of stamped envelopes received from the Department and sold to the public or to Vendors, are to be added to the postage stamp items.

* * * * *

Postmaster General.
[Pg 231]

Memo.—Stamped Envelopes are to be sold to the public at the following prices by Postmasters and Stamp Vendors:—

Per Hundred.Per Ten.For Single Envelopes.
1 Cent Envelopes$1.3013 cents2 cents, or 3 cents for 2
3 Cent Envelopes No. 1 size$3.3033 cents4 cents, or 7 cents for 2
3 Cent Envelopes No. 2 size$3.3534 cents4 cents, or 7 cents for 2

Curiously enough no mention is made in the Postmaster General's Report of either the issue of the stamped envelopes or their reception by the public, such as was the case with their predecessors in 1860. We find from the stamp accounts, however, that the first supplies received from the manufactures were 554,250 of the 1 cent; 1,257,000 of the 3 cent size 1; and 564,250 of the 3 cent size 2. Further supplies of the 1 cent were not needed until two years later, of the 3 cent size 1 until three years later, and of the 3 cent size 2 until four years later, so it is evident that no great popular demand sprang up for them.

The 1 cent envelope, which was intended for the local or "drop letter" rate, was issued in numbers averaging about 150,000 a year up to 1889, when the Post Office Act of that year, which increased the limit of weight of the single rate letter from ½ to 1 ounce and fixed the drop letter rate at 2 cents per ounce for cities having a free delivery service,[209] caused a falling off in the issue to 62,000 in the 1890 Report, and this gradually diminished to about 25,000 per annum in the Report for 1897, when the stamp under discussion was superseded by a new design.

The 3 cent envelopes, being the regular letter rate, had a larger use; nevertheless the issue of the No. 1 size fell gradually from some 250,000 in 1879 to about 50,000 in 1897. The No. 2 size proved more popular, though the demand was somewhat erratic. The issue went from 78,000 in 1879 to 116,000 in 1884; then averaged about 85,000 for three years; next averaged about 120,000 for four years; and finally returned to the 85,000 mark for the next six years, when a new issue took its place.

Design of embossed envelope stamp.

The design of these envelope stamps is in all respects similar to the early type, but they are about half again as large. The embossed head of[Pg 232] the Queen is copied from the profile on the "large" cent stamps of 1868 and is tilted forward rather awkwardly in the frame. The 3 cent is printed in bright red varying to rose, but the 1 cent instead of following the yellow color of the adhesive is printed in blue, which varies from quite pale to very dark. The envelopes were manufactured by the British American Bank Note Co. from white laid unwatermarked paper, and have a pointed flap with gum extending nearly the whole length. The smaller sized envelope was also issued with the flap rounded into a tongue, but the larger sized envelope is not known in this form. These "tongued flap" envelopes were apparently an early variety, as the Philatelic Monthly records the 3 cent in its issue for April, 1878. The 1 cent, however, does not seem to have been noted until the June, 1884 issue of Le Timbre-Poste.

The earlier printings of the envelopes were upon a laid paper that had the "cross vergures", or single laid lines that regularly cross the general run, at a spacing of 18 mm. from each other. About 1888 another paper came into use which had these "cross vergures" spaced 24 mm. apart, and in some cases 27 mm. The two papers can be told at a glance as they varied in tone, the latter variety having a slight cream tint and the former being a pure white. These two varieties are of course more noticeable in the entire envelope than in cut squares, and have been listed as "rosy white" and "bluish white" papers, but we feel unable to distinguish them thus as the terms seem wholly inapplicable.

The 1 cent envelope was chronicled in ultramarine in April, 1897, of course on the small sized envelope and the cream toned laid paper.[210]

In May, 1896, the Philatelic Record stated[211] that "Our publishers have the envelope of the 3 cents red value with stamp roughly lithographed instead of being embossed. Mr. J. B. Lewis, of Ottawa, says only 110 were printed." This was a somewhat startling statement, and Major Evans thus comments on it:[212]

There have been reports of late, in various quarters, of a certain number of the 3c. envelopes, of the current type, having had the stamp impressed upon them by lithography instead of in the usual manner.[Pg 233]

The story goes that the embossing die was lost, or mislaid, that a small supply of envelopes was wanted immediately by a business firm, and that a few hundreds were lithographed to fill this demand. The whole story sounds somewhat doubtful, to any one who knows how stamped envelopes are produced, but until quite recently we had not seen a specimen of the supposed lithographed envelopes, and therefore would not express any opinion upon them. A copy has lately been sent to our publishers, and we find it to be practically identical, as far as almost entire absence of embossing is concerned, with some specimens which we obtained in Canada a few years ago; the embossing, in the copy shown us, is not absolutely invisible, there being slight traces of it about the head, and especially the chignon; and if any envelopes have been lithographed, which we greatly doubt, this is not one of them.

The lithographing of a comparatively few envelopes by a country like Canada appears somewhat incredulous on the face of it, and even more so does the "loss" or "misplacing" of the embossing die; the true explanation of the occurrence is doubtless found in the use of a much worn die, or more likely a defective "counter-die" or "bed-plate" which backs the paper.

In the issue for January 1895, the American Journal of Philately had this statement:—"Mr. G. A. Lowe informs us that the 3c envelope exists on wove paper and was issued in 1891, probably in error." Referring to this, the Monthly Journal for May 1895, states:—

Mr. King tells us that he found some packets of this variety in the Post-office at Halifax, and that he thinks that they may be a new edition, on a better paper than the last. He is not certain yet about this, as the great majority of the stock consisted of the laid paper envelopes, and therefore the use of the wove may have been unintentional or temporary.

Again in the August 1895 issue, the last quoted paper says:—

In further reference to the 3c envelopes on wove paper, Mr. King sends us replies which he received from the P. O. Department to his enquiries on the subject. The replies are vague, if not evasive, but show plainly that no intentional change was made in the paper used; they seemed to indicate, however, that the contractors are not restricted to a particular nature of paper, so long as the envelopes supplied are of sufficiently good quality.

[Pg 234]

The references to Mr. King in 1895 seem to show that he discovered the envelopes at about that time, so if the first statement about their appearing in 1891 is correct there must have been two lots issued at two different periods. That they were errors seems to admit of no doubt, as the usual paper for these envelopes was of the laid variety. They were only found in the large size envelope, known officially as No. 2.

In the issue for September 1899, the American Journal of Philately noted two unusual varieties:—

Mr. Charles A. Benedict of Brantford has sent us samples of two envelopes with stamp of the 1877 type, which have not as yet been chronicled and which should probably be classed as printed-to-order envelopes. They are said to be used by a certain firm in Brantford for circulars and letters, and are printed on large manila amber envelopes.

The size of the envelopes is given as 265×113 mm., and both the 1 cent and 3 cent stamps were impressed upon them. No further information seems to have been obtained concerning these curiosities, which must have been issued previous to the termination of the contract with the British American Bank Note Co. in 1897.

Although the rate on "drop letters" at free delivery offices was fixed at 2 cents per ounce by the Post Office Act of 1889, in place of the previous 1 cent per half ounce, it did not occur that a 2 cent envelope might be desirable until about five years later. In the Postmaster General's Report of 30th June, 1894, we read:—"It is proposed to issue for use for drop letters, that is for letters passing within the limits of a free delivery in cities, a 2 cent envelope which will no doubt be found a convenience to the public."

In the next year's Report we find:—"The 2 cent envelopes, used mainly for drop letters, that is, for letters passing within the limits of a free delivery in cities, and referred to in the report for last year, have been issued during the year. Judging from the demand made for these envelopes already, they are likely to prove a convenience to the public."

2 cent envelope stamp design.

The new denomination was issued on the 14th June, 1895,[213] on the larger sized envelope, the paper being the cream toned laid. It is a rather[Pg 235] bizarre production, being circular in form with a medallion of the Queen's head in the center, and a beaver perched outside the design at the top, while the sides are broken by maple leaves. The inscriptions are in colored letters, and the numeral of value appears for the only time on a Canadian envelope stamp. In spite of the "demand" for these envelopes, a total supply of 94,970 received from the manufacturers was found sufficient to last until the new type was issued from the Government Printing Bureau in 1899, after the contract with the British American Bank Note Co. had expired.

The Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1898, says:—

New stamped envelopes also came into use, and the price thereof above the face value as compared with the old envelopes of the same size, was reduced by 10 cents per 100, a reduction of 33⅓ %. A further concession given the public was that a blank form of request (to return letter if not delivered within the specified time) is printed without extra charge on the envelope, so that at the option of the purchaser stamped envelopes with or without this form of request may be obtained. Whilst the three denominations of stamped envelopes (1 cent, 2 cents and 3 cents) are retained, it was deemed advisable to have only one size instead of two as was the case with the old envelopes,—the small size of the latter (known as No. 1) being discontinued because of the tendency on the part of the mercantile community to use envelopes of the larger size (known officially as No. 2) or what in the commercial world is classed as No. 7. The latter is now the uniform size of the new stamped envelopes.

The stamped envelopes referred to at the beginning of the above quotation were the 3 cent envelopes, the first value to appear in a new design, and the price, as stated, was reduced from the former rate of $3.30 per hundred to $3.20 per hundred. But this apparently applied only to the new style, for the old style envelopes returned to the department as "unfit for use" in 1898, 1899 and 1900 were credited at the old rates, while the new style envelopes in the same condition were credited at the new rates in these same years. The Report for 1899 states that the old style envelopes in their two sizes were discontinued on 31st March, 1898.

3 centa envelope stamp design

The new stamp, while perhaps not as bizarre as the 2 cent of 1895, was yet a conspicuously ugly production by reason of the profile portrait of Queen Victoria that was employed. The die was engraved by Messrs. De La Rue[Pg 236] & Co., of London, and outside of the embossed head is a very neat design of engine turned work, with POSTAGE in small white letters above the inner oval and THREE CENTS beneath. The word CANADA was added, apparently as an afterthought, in colored letters outside the design at the top of the stamp, where it breaks the colored line surrounding the oval! The impression is in a bright red on a white wove paper of a slightly cream tone, and the flap is rounded, with gum extending its full length. The return request referred to in the Report is printed in black in the upper left hand corner and reads:—

If not called for in ten days return to....

It seems that the American Bank Note Co., upon taking the contract for supplying the Canadian stamps in 1897, asked to be excused from printing the stamped envelopes as well, because such a small number were used. This work was therefore given to the Government Printing Bureau at Ottawa,[214] which accounts for the dies having been furnished by Messrs. De La Rue & Co. The stamp accounts give the number of 3 cent envelopes furnished in the new type as 110,000 in 1898 and 70,000 in 1899, a total of 180,000; but the reduction of the domestic letter rate from 3 cents to 2 cents on the 1st January, 1899, made the 3 cent envelope useless, and large quantities were surcharged with the new rate, so that it is impossible to tell what proportion of the amount given is now represented by each variety. If catalog pricing is any criterion, the unsurcharged issue of the envelope should be perhaps 80,000.

The Report for 1899 states:—

As a result of the reduction in the Domestic Letter rate of postage, the issue of the 3c. letter card, 3c. stamped envelope and 3c. postage stamp has been discontinued, unused quantities of these, however, continuing available for postage purposes, or exchangeable at any post office for their equivalent in postage stamps of other denominations.

The Report does not give the date of issue of the 3 cent stamped envelope, but it was chronicled in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News for May 5, 1898, and[Pg 237] therefore was probably issued sometime in April. The date of discontinuance is given, however, as December, 1898, so that it had a life, unsurcharged, of only about nine months.

One cent envelope stamp design, 1898.

But meanwhile the 1 cent envelope was being prepared, and evidently because of the dissatisfaction expressed over the embossed head of the Queen on the 3 cent value, the new envelope appeared with the familiar youthful profile similar to that used on the British envelope dies for so many years. This improved the appearance of the stamp, which otherwise corresponded in design with the 3 cent and was likewise engraved by Messrs. De La Rue & Co. It was printed in a dark green on paper like that of the 3 cent value, and in the same size and cut of envelope. The new type was issued on July 22, 1898, according to the 1899 Report, and was sold at $1.20 per hundred. The distribution of the old style 1 cent envelopes was discontinued in the same month, according to the stamp accounts.

Following the 1 cent envelope came the 2 cent, being identical in every respect save the expressed value and color, and emanating from the same source as its two predecessors. The Report of 1899 gives the date of issue of this envelope as the 2nd January, 1899, and, as the corresponding value in the adhesive set was a deep violet, we should expect the envelope stamp to follow suit. This it did, but was almost immediately followed by an issue in bright red, because of the reduction of the domestic letter rate from 3 cents to 2 cents. It will be remembered that when Imperial Penny Postage was inaugurated on December 25, 1898, it was almost immediately announced that the internal postage in Canada would be reduced to the 2 cent rate on and from the 1st January, 1899. As the Postal Union requirements called for carmine as the color of the stamp for the domestic letter rate, the change from violet was necessary in the Canadian 2 cent stamp, but owing to the large stock of the violet stamps on hand and the surcharging of the 3 cent stamps down to 2 cent value, the change in color from violet to carmine did not take place in the adhesives for some eight months. Not so with the envelopes; the new 2 cent ones were about to be issued and had been printed to the amount of 10,000 in dark violet. But with the change in rates and therefore in color requirements, orders were given to print further supplies of the 2 cent envelope in red, and the latter color therefore appeared about a week after the violet stamp.[Pg 238]

We have gone thus into detail in the matter in order to make it evident why the violet stamp was so short lived, and why the change was made. This seems necessary because such a furor was created at the time, when it became known that the issue of violet envelopes was small, and speculation ran high; the Government was accused of speculating in them and of putting them in the hands of favored ones, and finally, as in the case of the alleged speculation in the Jubilee stamps, the matter came up in Parliament. The following is an extract from the official report of the debates in the House of Commons at Ottawa:[215]


Mr. Hughes asked: 1. When will the present 2 cent purple stamped envelope cease to be issued, and the red issued in its place? 2. How many 2 cent purple envelopes were issued, and how many distributed? At what offices were they distributed, how many at each office? Are there any more to be distributed, and if so, where will they be distributed? 3. Is it the intention of the Government to issue an entire new set of stamped envelopes to replace those at present in use? If so, when? * * *

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Mulock): The issue of 2 cent purple-stamp envelopes ceased when the supply thereof in the department became exhausted, the last issue having been made on the 7th January, 1899. The subsequent issue of 2-cent stamped envelopes was in red, in accordance with the recommendation of the Postal Convention. *

* * The schedule hereto annexed shows the names of the post offices supplied with such purple-stamp envelopes and the respective quantities so supplied them.

List of Post Offices to which 2c. purple envelopes were issued, and the quantity in each case.

Post Office.Quantity.
Belleville, Ont.500
St. Catherine's, Ont.500
Toronto, Ont.2000
Corinth, Ont.100
Haliburton, Ont.100
Mount Albert, Ont.100
Tamworth, Ont.500
Hagersville, Ont.100
Hamilton, Ont.500
Loring, Ont.100
Newton, Ont.100
Ottawa, Ont.700
St. Casimir, Que.100
Sherbrooke, Que.500
Montreal, Que.1000
Rigaud, Que.100
Maitland, N. S.100
Truro, N. S.100
Yarmouth, N. S.100
Andover, N. B.200
Centreville, N. B.100
Shoal Lake, Man.100
Winnipeg, Man.2000
New Westminster, B. C.100
Greenwood, B. C.200

[Pg 239] Further questioning by the same gentleman, in an effort to show that "inside" information had been given concerning the remainder of the 2 cent green envelopes at Toronto and the limited issue of the so-called "purple" ones, in order that favored parties might "corner" them, resulted in nothing definite except that in replying to the question "Was the issue of the 2c. purple stamped envelopes done by mistake?" the Postmaster-General said: "There was no mistake whatever made in the issue of said envelopes, but, on the contrary, the issue took place in the ordinary course of business, and was made on requisitions in the usual way, coming from postmasters." Considering the date of their issue, the cause of the change in color and the above reply of the Postmaster-General, in connection with an examination of the table of distribution of the 2c. violet envelopes, we must say that it seems clear that the whole business, as far as the Department was concerned, was legitimate and straightforward, and the aspersions cast upon the issue of this envelope were only animated by a spirit of jealousy or revenge on the part of those who unfortunately did not happen to get any, whether "tipped off" by friends in or out of the post-office, or not.

The 2 cent envelope in red may have been issued on the 8th January, 1899, or within a day or two of that date, and corresponds of course with the one in violet and the 1 cent envelope in all respects. It was sold at $2.20 per hundred.

We have already spoken of the 3 cent envelope, issued in April, 1898, as having been surcharged. This was due, of course, to the same reduction in the domestic rate of postage that operated to change the 2 cent envelope from violet to red, and which also rendered the 3 cent envelope practically useless. In order to utilize the stock of the latter envelopes, therefore, the Department decided on surcharging them down to a 2 cent value. This was done sometime during the week of 6-11 February, 1899, and we can do no better than quote the letter of a Canadian correspondent in the Weekly Philatelic Era[216] for details concerning it.

Ottawa, 17th Feb'y, 1899.

Our weekly sensation was duly on tap last week, in the shape of surcharges, Canada's first offence, but an aggravated case. The Post Office Department announced that any holders of 3c. envelopes or letter cards might send them in to the postage stamp branch, and have them surcharged, and re-issued as 2c. emissions, the difference in value being[Pg 240] made good by an additional supply of surcharged stationery or in some other equivalent stamps.

It was not anticipated that a very large supply of 3c. stationery was on hand, and consequently the arrangements for surcharging are of the most primitive description. Stamps of soft rubber bearing the figures 2c. are provided, and the surcharge is put on by hand, the stamps being inked on black pads. The consequence is that the work is ill done, and we have as many varieties of surcharge as there are impressions, with quantities[217] of ink varying from a black blue to a light grey. I have seen one envelope with the surcharge on sidewise reading from bottom to top.

Independently of the variations in printing, there are two types of surcharge. In the first, which I shall christen the "capital surcharge", the figure 2 is 10½ mm. high by 8 wide, the heavy parts of the figure being 2 mm. thick, the thin parts ¾ mm. The C is a capital letter 4½ × 3½ mm. There was only one stamp of this type, and when it had been in use for two or three days the difference in type was noticed and the stamp was destroyed. Any stationery surcharged with it will be exceedingly rare.

2 cents "lower case surcharge"

The other type, which I suggest should be called the "lower case surcharge", has a similar figure 2 but the C is a heavy face lower case letter 4 × 3½ mm. It is possible that there may be varieties of this type, as there are several stamps in use, but the printing is so badly done, and the stamps so subject to distortion by pressure, that one cannot depend on either inspection or measurement, a change in pressure in printing altering the appearance of the surcharge very materially.

In the same issue of the Era appeared further notes from another correspondent. In regard to the then current 3 cent envelopes (the so-called "Bureau print") he says:—"The P. O. Department has surcharged the stock on hand, a few thousand. * * * Some of the old British American Bank Note 3c envelopes were also surcharged, but it is understood that there were very few of them on hand,—less than a thousand."

The opportunity given the public, however, to have 3 cent envelopes in their possession surcharged, as well as the stock held by postmasters, which was returned to a considerable extent (15,848 of the 3c. 1898 returned 1899-1901; 6,788 of the 3c. No. 1, 1877, returned 1899-1900; and 3,081 of the 3c. No. 2, 1877, returned 1899) and doubtless reissued in surcharged condition, has made these provisional envelopes fairly common. No details of the numbers so treated are available, but if the catalogue value is any criterion the 3 cent of 1898 surcharged is half again as common as the unsurcharged[Pg 241] variety, or, as before remarked, the numbers issued may be divided up roughly as perhaps 100,000 of the former to 80,000 of the latter. Of the old envelopes of 1877, both sizes of which are found surcharged, it is impossible to hazard any guesses, save that a considerable number—several thousands of each size at least—must have been operated upon to render them as reasonable in catalogue price as we find them.

The surcharge in its first type, as described in the quotation given, with the capital C, has only been found on the 3 cent envelope of 1898, which was the one in the reserve stock of the Department when the reduction in postage took effect; but the second type, with the "lower case" C is found not only on this envelope but also on both sizes of the old "Burland & Co." envelopes of the 1877 issue.

It will be remembered that it took considerably more than two years after the death of Queen Victoria before the change to King's head adhesives was made in Canada. It took even longer for the change in the envelope dies, as the first one to appear, the 2 cent, was not issued until the beginning of 1905. It was thus described in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News:[218]

Mr. Wm. P. Anderson writes that the 2c Canada envelope, Queen's Head, is now obsolete, and that a new issue bearing the King's Head was first sent out Jan. 12. It is very similar to the existing type—same colour, shape and size and same description of paper and size of envelope. The bust of the King, a profile to the left, is larger, filling more of the central oval than did that of the young Queen. It is a very beautifully cut piece of embossing, the work of Wyon, the celebrated London die sinker. The engine turned border is not, Mr. Anderson thinks, so neat as that on the old stamp, from which it differs in detail. The word Canada has been removed from outside the frame to the upper label, which now reads Canada Postage. This and the value, two cents, on a label below the bust, are in white letters on a ground of solid colour. The lettering is very thin, which is the only blemish in a very neat and effective design.

2 cents "King's Head" envelope stamp design, 1905.

The size of the envelope was not exactly the same as the previous issue, for it measures 152 x 90 mm., about 4 mm. longer than before and 3 mm. wider, the rough measurements being 6 x 3⅝ inches. The paper is a very white wove variety, and the color of the impression is in carmine.

The 1 cent envelope did not appear until about two months later, the[Pg 242] exact date not being available, but being very close to the 1st March, 1905. It is in all respects the same as the 2 cent envelope except that it is printed in a deep green.

The use of stamped envelopes in Canada, though never so popular as in the United States, yet seems to be largely on the increase in the last twelve years, the 1 cent having risen in number from 85,500 in 1899 to 1,360,100 in 1910, and the 2 cent from 262,000 to 2,928,400 during the same period.

[204] London Philatelist, XIII: 153.

[205] See page 90.

[206] London Philatelist, V: 345.

[207] American Journal of Philately, 2nd Series, III: 165.

[208] Ibid.

[209] See page 136.

[210] Monthly Journal, VII: 175.

[211] Philatelic Record, XVIII: 135.

[212] Monthly Journal, VI: 188.

[213] American Journal of Philately, 2nd Series, VIII: 365.

[214] Weekly Philatelic Era, XI: 308.

[215] Weekly Philatelic Era, XIII: 285.

[216] Weekly Philatelic Era, XIII: 204.

[217] Query: "qualities"?

[218] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIX: 22.

[Pg 243]



In the Postmaster General's Report for the 30th June, 1875, we find the following:—"Post bands bearing an impressed stamp of one cent each have been issued for sale to the public, at the rate of four for five cents, to be used in putting up newspapers and such other transmissions requiring to be prepaid one cent, for which they may be found convenient."

1 cent newspaper wrapper stamp design, 1875.

The issue took place in May, 1875, and consisted of a wrapper of light buff wove paper measuring 9½ inches in height by 5 inches in width (235 × 127 mm.), with the stamp impressed at the right side, about 2½ inches from the top. The sheet is cut square and gummed along the top on the back side. The stamp is typographed, and consists of an upright oval containing the head of Queen Victoria copied from that on the adhesive stamps, CANADA POSTAGE above, ONE CENT below, and the figure 1 in a circle at each side. In this first type of the wrapper stamp these circles containing the numerals are surrounded by foliations of acanthus pattern, and each has a little quatrefoil ornament in the label beneath it. There is also a thin, colored, wavy line which follows the border of the inner oval, giving a scalloped effect, and serves as the distinguishing feature of the first type. The impression is in dark blue. The stamp accounts give the receipts from the manufacturers as 554,000 during 1875, and 918,000 during 1876. No further supplies were received until 1879 so these figures doubtless represent the total supply printed on the buff paper, as the small supply received in 1879 is probably otherwise accounted for.[219]

In its issue for June 1, 1878, the Philatelic Monthly states that "We have received specimens of the newspaper wrappers with the stamp on the left and half way from the top." M. Moens lists it in his catalogue, where he gives the dimensions as 290 × 165 mm., or about 11½ × 6½ inches. This is somewhat larger than the previous size and we have been unable to confirm[Pg 244] it by a specimen, but the accuracy of M. Moens' observations is seldom to be questioned. The London Society's work states that this wrapper is unknown to the members of the Society, but a cancelled copy, used by a business firm, is recorded in the Monthly Journal in 1892.[220] Evidently this variety was an error in the cutting of the sheet.

In the Philatelic Record for December, 1881,[221] a change is noted in the wrapper itself, the paper being described as white instead of buff; but in Moens' catalogue it is listed as "very pale buff" and in fact is what we might call "cream toned", being more correctly described later in the Philatelic Record as "almost white".[222] The wrapper was also cut to a new size, 11 × 5 inches or 280 × 127 mm. It is very probable that this wrapper comes from the lot of 197,000 received according to the stamp accounts for 1880—the first since 1876, barring the small lot in 1879.[223]

1 cent newpaper wrapper stamp design, 1882.

Again, in its issue for June 1, 1882, the Philatelic Monthly illustrates a new variety in the stamp for the wrapper, stating that the color is light blue. The distinguishing features of the new die are the removal of the wavy line from the inner border of the oval, the removal of the foliations from around the circles enclosing the numerals, and the replacing of the little quatrefoil ornament beneath these circles by an inverted triangular ornament. This wrapper was presumably of the usual light buff tint as no mention is made of its color; but in the issue of the same paper for October 1, 1882, it is recorded that "We have received specimens of the newspaper wrapper, stamp of latest type, on yellow-buff paper." The same wrapper is chronicled in the Philatelic Record which was issued the latter part of September as upon "straw-colored wove paper," so it had doubtless appeared as early as August, 1882. The size was the same as the last wrapper, 11 × 5 inches.

From 1882 on the wrappers have been issued in numbers approaching half a million per year, and as no note is made in the stamp accounts even of changes in design, it is of course impossible to estimate the quantities printed or issued of any one variety.

In an article in the Dominion Philatelist upon the postal stationery of Canada,[224] the "yellow paper" wrapper is given as the first issued, in 1882,[Pg 245] and the date 1883 is given the ordinary "pale buff" paper. The chronicles we have quoted, however, show that both were doubtless issued in 1882 and that the straw colored paper was not the first. The wrapper also appears on a cream paper, and the year of issue in the article quoted is given as 1885, but we have been unable to find any contemporary chronicle to confirm this.

1 cent newspaper wrapper stamp design, 1887.

Once again, in 1887, we find a change in the impressed stamp. This time the first design is reverted to, but with slight modifications which readily distinguished the new type; these are the absence of the wavy line running around the border of the inner oval, and the coarser shading on the face and neck—dotted in the first type and composed of lines in this third type. The new variety seems to have been chronicled first in the Philatelic Monthly for June 1, 1887, but nothing is said about the color of the wrapper. The article in the Dominion Philatelist, however, gives it as thin white paper with a variety in "very thin tough white paper, fine quality." The same article under date of 1888 gives this wrapper in cream toned paper of both thick and thin quality, and in manila paper. The size of all these wrappers was the usual one of 11 × 5 inches.

1 cent newspaper wrapper stamp design, 1892.

Five years of the third type seemed to be sufficient, for in 1892 a fourth variety made its appearance. This, curiously enough, reverts to the second type in similarity, for the foliations around the numerals again disappear and the only distinguishing feature is the ornaments beneath the numerals—now little quatrefoils instead of the triangular ornaments found on the second type. This fourth type seems to have been first noted in the Canadian Philatelist for March, 1892, and is more fully described in the Monthly Journal for 30th April, 1892, as being upon "thin, surfaced, straw coloured paper." This wrapper was cut to a slightly smaller size, 10¾ × 5 inches. The article in the Dominion Philatelist lists it upon "cream colored paper" alone, but both varieties exist, though it would seem that the straw colored one was perhaps the first issued.

There is one variety analogous to the "stamp at left" wrapper of the first type, and which is also doubtless due to faulty cutting of the sheets; this has the stamp at the usual distance from the top of the wrapper, but nearly in the middle as far as the spacing from the sides goes. The impression is in dark blue on the straw colored paper.[Pg 246]

In its issue for 31 March, 1894, the Monthly Journal chronicles a change in the color of the wrapper stamp (fourth type) from blue to "grey-black", the wrapper itself remaining a "straw" color as before. We find the impression to be a plain black, though if lightly inked it might show as gray black. Besides the pale straw colored wrapper there exists a cream toned one and also one of stouter paper in a very light brown tone. All these are cut to the last size noted, viz., 10¾ × 5 inches.

All the preceding wrappers were the product of the British American Bank Note Co., but when their contract for supplying stamps ceased in 1897 a new issue was naturally looked for. This did not materialize until June or July, 1898, when a new wrapper of the usual size and of light manila paper made its appearance with an impression of the 1 cent adhesive stamp (maple leaves in the four corners) in dark green. Unlike the stamped envelopes, it was manufactured by the American Bank Note Co., but the die for stamping it, instead of being a reproduction of the adhesive, was newly engraved for typographic work and is therefore much coarser in appearance than the adhesive stamps.

No change was made in the wrapper die to include the numeral of value until the new issue with head of King Edward took place. As before, the design of the adhesive was copied but the die was engraved for surface printing and is coarser in its lines. The new wrapper probably appeared early in October, 1903, as we find it recorded in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News for the 24th October of that year. The size was as before and the paper a light manila.

As a result of the changes in newspaper rates, due to the amending of the Postal Convention with the United States in 1907,[225] we find a set of special wrappers issued in that year, concerning which the Postmaster General's Report for 1908 says:—

To facilitate the mailing of second class matter sent by publishers to their subscribers in the United States, special newspaper wrappers of the 1 cent, 2 cents and 3 cents denominations were introduced. As a result of the reduction in rate of this class of matter, made in February, so far as daily editions of newspapers were concerned, the demand for 2c. and 3c. wrappers ceased, and their issue was, accordingly, discontinued.

1 cent surcharge on newspaper wrappers, 1907.

[Pg 247]The first issue of these wrappers is given as the 11th July, 1907, and a reference to the Report of 1908, already quoted,[226] shows the reason for their appearance. The rate on periodicals had been raised to 1 cent per 4 ounces when sent to the United States, which in turn had made provision for a like rate on periodicals addressed to Canada, at the latter's behest. This move on Canada's part was aimed principally to prevent the flooding of Canadian mails with cheap American monthlies. But such a protest went up against this heavy increase, that the rates were lowered, in February 1908, to 1 cent per pound on newspapers only, which of course rendered any wrappers save the 1 cent of but little use. With becoming thrift, however, the unissued remainder of the two discarded values was surcharged "1c." in large block type in black and used up in that way.

The quantities of these special wrappers delivered to the Department are given in the stamp accounts as:—

1 cent1,501,000353,000884,000
2 cent367,000......
3 cent54,000......

Of the 2 cent wrapper the accounts give 300,300 as issued in 1908 and of the 3 cent wrapper 15,600. But during 1908 and 1909 213,546 of the former and 13,790 of the latter were returned "fit for use" by postmasters, and 4,574 2 cent and 790 3 cent "unfit for use" were destroyed. It would appear from this that the actual issue to the public of these two wrappers was 82,180 of the 2 cent and but 1,020 of the 3 cent! The 1909 tables, however, record the issue to postmasters of the total quantity of these wrappers then on hand, and the 1910 tables explain this by the statement:—"Withdrawn from issue and surcharged one cent, June 18, 1908." The quantities of the surcharged wrappers are therefore 280,246 of the 1 c. on 2 cents, and 52,190 of the 1c. on 3 cents. As these wrappers were not on sale to the general public but only to publishers, who were obliged to purchase in quantity, their use was considerably restricted; and as the wrappers often enclosed papers in quantity, addressed to any one post office, they were removed in the United States post offices before distributing the papers, and very many probably lost sight of there as waste paper.[Pg 248]

While the usual newspaper wrappers are designated officially as "Post Bands," these we have been describing are called "Special Wrappers." They were of stout manila paper, cut to 15 × 6½ inches (378 × 165 mm.) in size for the 1 cent and 2 cent, and 13 × 8 inches (308 × 223 mm.) for the 3 cent, and ungummed. The stamp occupied the usual position, but at its left was the following two line legend in block letters, printed in the same color as the stamp, and occupying a length of 92 mm:—


The 1 cent value was printed in dark green, the 2 cent in carmine, and the 3 cent in a slate violet. The surcharges were first noted in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News of 12th September, 1908, though they were probably issued soon after the date quoted above. The overprint in each case is in shiny black ink, the figure being 13 mm. high and the "c" 6 mm. high, with a period after it.

One curious circumstance has been noted in connection with the use of these wrappers—large numbers have been used without the Post Office authorities taking the trouble to cancel them, while in other cases they have been cancelled in the usual manner.

[219] See page 270.

[220] Monthly Journal, III: 3.

[221] Philatelic Record, III: 205; corrected, III: 227.

[222] ibid., IV: 142.

[223] See page 270.

[224] Dominion Philatelist, V: 130.

[225] See page 196.

[226] See page 196.

[Pg 249]



We have already remarked that Canada lagged behind the United States in adopting adhesive stamps and also stamped envelopes, but when we come to post cards we find the United States to be the laggard by nearly two years. In the Postmaster General's Report for 30th June, 1870, we find the following:—

The introduction of what are known as "post cards" in the United Kingdom, and the convenience which is stated to have attended their use, have induced the Department to make arrangements for the manufacture of similar post cards for the use of the public in Canada. These post cards will be sold at one cent each, and may be posted for any address within the Dominion—and will be conveyed to destination, and be delivered in like manner with letters—the one cent covering the cost both of the card and of postage.

They may be used for any communication, which can advantageously be written and sent by such a medium; and, it would seem unquestionable, must, in Canada as in England, prove to be extremely convenient for many objects and purposes.

The next year's Report states:—"Post Cards have been issued to the public from June, 1871, and it is believed have been found to be of material convenience. The number issued up to the 31st December was 1,470,600."

Post card, 1871.

These cards were cut to a size approximately 4⅝ × 3 inches (116 × 75 mm.). The design consists of an engine turned border set about 3/16 of an inch in from the edge, with the stamp in the upper right corner of the enclosed space. This stamp shows a medallion bearing the head of Queen Victoria that appears on the "large" cents issue of 1868, surrounded by a frame that makes a roughly rectangular outline. The arrangement and style of the inscriptions on the card are shown by the illustration. At the bottom, just above the frame, is the imprint in letters of "diamond"[Pg 250] size, "British American Bank Note Co. Montreal & Ottawa." The card is not of particularly heavy stock, has a somewhat rough surface, and is of a light buff tint that varies some in tone. The printing was done in sheets of several impressions and the engravings were separated by thin colored lines running the whole length between them. The color of the impression is a deep blue, though specimens in a lighter tone are not uncommon.

In the Postmaster General's Report for 1872 we learn that on the 1st November of that year, amongst other changes in connection with rates to Newfoundland, the exchange of post cards at the ordinary domestic rate was provided for. In the Report for 1873 we read:—"By arrangement with the United States Post Office, the post cards of Canada and of the United States have, from the 1st July 1873, passed freely to destination between the two countries on prepayment of 2 cents each, by affixing a 1 cent postage stamp to the card in addition to the one cent stamp printed thereon." The postal arrangement concluded between Canada and the United States in 1874,[227] however, by which mail matter was to be exchanged between the two countries at the domestic rates of each, obviated the necessity of the extra cent on the post cards from the 1st January, 1875.

It may be remembered that the marginal imprints on the sheets of adhesive stamps began to be changed in 1875 and that the word "Ottawa" was dropped. The same change took place in the post card some time during 1876, it being first noted in Le Timbre-Poste for January, 1877. The new card had the imprint at the bottom reading "British American Bank Note Co. Montreal" in letters slightly larger than on the first type. The frame of the card also seems to have been re-engraved as slight differences can be detected, and the outside or "over all" measurements are found to be about 1½ mm. greater each way. Otherwise the appearance of the card is the same, but it is cut a little larger, measuring 4¾ × 3 inches (120 × 75 mm.), and the stock is a little heavier than the first card and of a slightly paler buff. The engravings on the plate were this time separated by short lines of color at the center of the sides of the cards. The color of the impression was the same as before and at times the front of the card was tinted bluish because of imperfectly wiped plates during printing.

Two cents post card, 1877.

Although Canada failed to obtain entrance into the Universal Postal Union on its establishment in 1875, as already detailed,[228] yet she was granted[Pg 251] the new rates in her correspondence with the Mother Country. This included a 2 cent rate for post cards, and on the 1st January, 1877, a 2 cent post card made its appearance which was intended particularly for British correspondence as is shown by the sub-heading "TO UNITED KINGDOM." It was quite similar in design to the 1 cent card, with the same medallion portrait of Queen Victoria on the stamp. The frame of the card is of engine-turned work but of different pattern from the 1 cent card, and has corner pieces. The arrangement of the inscriptions is shown by the illustration. The card is cut to the same size as the 1 cent (4¾ × 3 inches) and is of medium thickness and of a very light yellowish buff. The impression is in a deep yellow green.

Of these 2 cent cards the stamp accounts give 200,000 as having been delivered in 1877 and 5000 more in 1879. But the issues to postmasters are given as 98,300 in 1877, 6090 in 1878, and 13,680 in 1879, a total of 118,070; and as there is a record of the return of but 35, it seems fair to assume that the remaining 87,000 were destroyed.

Two cents "Postal Union" post card design, 1878.

Canada was finally admitted to the Postal Union on the 1st July, 1878, and consequently the 2 cent rate on post cards became applicable to all the other Postal Union countries. We therefore find the "United Kingdom" card altered to conform to the new conditions, the words "Union Postale Universelle" now appearing at the top as shown in the illustration. The stamp has also been re-engraved, the frame being changed and the words CANADA and POSTCARD added in small capitals above and below the medallion. The card is of the same size as before, on good stock of a very pale yellowish tone and with a smooth surface, and the impression is in a strong yellow green.

This card appeared early in 1879 and continued in use until 1896. Its issue to postmasters increased from 27,300 in 1879, to 67,400 in 1892, though it dropped to 47,000 in 1895.[Pg 252]

Post card design, 1882.

All the previous cards had been line engraved on steel plates and of artistic appearance and fine workmanship. Beginning with 1882, however, a cheaper form of production began to be employed, the impression being typographed probably from electrotypes. The frame of the card is now omitted, the design consisting simply of a curved banderole bearing the words CANADA POST CARD with the instructions beneath, and at the right the oval stamp which, from now on, corresponds to the contemporary stamp of the newspaper wrapper.

The Philatelic Monthly for 1st May, 1882, chronicled a new one cent card as having just appeared, but did not describe it. It doubtless appeared early in April and was of the design detailed in the last paragraph, the stamp being that of the second type of the newspaper wrapper, which lacked the foliations around the numerals and had the inverted triangular ornaments beneath the circles containing the figures "1". The impression was in blue or in ultramarine on a very light buff card of stout quality and cut to 5⅛ × 3 inches (129 × 76 mm.)

About the end of the same year a reply card made its appearance concerning which the following notice was issued:—


Ottawa, 13th December, 1882.

Departmental Order
No. 27

* * * * *

Reply Post Cards.

2. For the convenience of correspondence by Post Card within the Dominion, a double Post Card has been prepared and is now ready for issue, which will afford to the original sender of this form of Card the means of sending with his communication, a blank prepaid Post Card to be used in reply. Each half of the double card will bear a one-cent postage stamp impressed thereon in prepayment.

The ordinary Post Card regulations will apply to these reply cards, both when originally posted, and with respect to the reply half when re-posted.

The reply or double Post Cards, will be issued at two cents each, and are to be sold to the public at that rate by Postmasters and stamp vendors.

Canada reply Post Cards, to be used in correspondence with the United Kingdom, will also be supplied at an early date, and when Post Cards of this description originating in the United Kingdom and bear[Pg 253]ing the impressed postage stamp thereof on both halves, have been received here by mail, the reply half may be re-posted in Canada, for return to an address in the United Kingdom, as a prepaid Post Card, and may be forwarded to destination without requiring the addition of any Canada postage stamp or other postage prepayment in Canada.

Postmaster General.

Judging by the date of the circular the reply card was probably issued the middle of December, 1882, although it was not reported in the stamp journals until the next February. The stock used was the same as that for the single cards and cut so as to be the same size as the latter when folded. The design was the same as the single cards but printed in a gray black on the first and third faces of the folded card. The reply half is only distinguished by the word "(REPLY.)" placed between the banderole and the line of instructions.

Considerable interest was aroused among philatelists in 1891-2 by a controversy that sprung up over a reported "error" in this reply card, which occurred with the stamp at the left side and the inscriptions to the right. Curiously enough, this card had been chronicled as a new issue in the Philatelic Monthly for March, 1885, where we read:—"We are indebted to Mr. De Wolf for the first specimen of a new double 1 cent card we have seen. It is slightly smaller than those first issued and the stamp is placed on the left side instead of the right." The fact of its existence had apparently lain dormant, except among post card specialists, until the Canadian correspondent of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News rose to remark[229] that they could be produced by manipulating an uncut sheet of the regular cards. This called forth a rejoinder from Mr. A. Lohmeyer[230] who wrote:—

In the first place, the Error Cards, for such they are, do not exist among the 1 cent cards, but only among the 1-1 cent of 1882, or reply-paid cards. Of this issue a comparatively small quantity were printed with the stamp in the upper left corner, and the error was not discovered until after a number of post-offices had been supplied with them, whereupon they were recalled, withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. This accounts for the great scarcity of these error cards, which have, in reality, been in circulation, for I have several used specimens (halves) in my collection.

I will now proceed to prove the absurdity of the manipulation described in the article referred to by facts and figures: The space be[Pg 254]tween the stamp and the points of the ribbon bearing the inscription "Canada Post Card" on the correct issue, where the cards would have to be cut to manufacture Canadensis' error (?) cards, is 4 millimeters. If this space is equally divided in cutting the sheet, it would leave a margin to the left of the stamp and to the right of the ribbon, after being cut, of 2 millimeters, while the space between the right side of the stamp and the ribbon would be 10 millimeters.

Now take an error card, and you will find the latter space to measure only 3 millimeters, and the outer margin to the left of the stamp and the right of the ribbon to be respectively 5 millimeters.

"Figures do not lie".

A. Lohmeyer.
Baltimore, Oct. 31, 1891.

This would seem conclusive proof, and also serve as a means of detecting any false error cards which might possibly be made from an uncut sheet as printed—but which have never been found. Yet six months later we find the Monthly Journal making inquiries along practically the same lines. This brought out the following reply in The Postal Card:—

By referring to our paper No. 55, issued on the 14th of May, 1890, you will find there a copy of a letter received by us, from the Secretary of the Post Office Department at Ottawa regarding this very card as follows:

"I am directed to acknowledge your letter stating that you have in your possession a Canadian reply post card, upon which the stamp appears in the upper left-hand corner, and inquiring whether this stamp was officially issued by the department, or whether the position of the stamps was due to a mistake in cutting the sheets.

"In reply, I am to say that the position of the stamp on the card to which you refer (a certain number of specimens of which were inadvertently issued by this Department) was due to a mistake in printing."

We have never seen one of these cards which could have been produced by wrong cutting.

If any Error cards have been made by such a manipulation, either by accident or design, we do not know it. However, the difference between a wrongly cut card and a genuine error is so apparent that it can be detected even without the use of a millimetre scale.

The distance of the stamp from the end of the scroll on the error card is 4 mm., while if produced by wrong cutting of a sheet of the correct issue (stamp at right), the distance will be 14 mm.

To prove this we take two of the latter cards (in the absence of an uncut sheet which we have never seen), place them end against end, measure the distance from the left end of the scroll on one card to the[Pg 255] outer circle enclosing the figure "1" on the other card, and the result will be as stated above.

This fact and the letter from the Canadian P. O. Department, quoted above, removes all doubts as to the true character of this rarity, known as the "Canada Error Card".

We have several used specimens in our collection.

The Monthly Journal[231] later received a copy of the error card which was postmarked in September, 1884, and which is the earliest date that has been recorded for it.

Direct evidence is given in a letter from H. F. Ketcheson to Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News; he writes as follows:[232]

Regarding the Canadian reply card (error with stamp on upper left hand corner) issued in 1884 (not 1885) would say that I purchased a quantity of them from various post-offices. I was at that time an employe of the Canada Post-Office Department and saw a number of these passing through the mails and writing to the offices at which they were posted found that they had received a supply from Ottawa, and one office informed me at the same time that they had re-received instructions to forward all they had on hand to Ottawa as they had been issued in error.

The cards were identical in every respect with the regular ones, except for the peculiarity, and therefore call for no further description than has already been given them.

Post card design, 1887.

In the Philatelic Monthly for March, 1887, is noted a change in the stamp on the single post card, which otherwise remained as before. The new stamp has the foliations around the numerals and is identical with Type 3 of the wrapper stamps, already described, and which it preceded, in fact, by two or three months. As was to be expected, the reply card followed with the same change in the stamps, but no particular notice seems to have been taken of it in the contemporary magazines. The article in the Dominion Philatelist records it as having appeared in 1887 in "black" and in 1888 in "dark green", but the only chronicles that seem to have noted it were the Philatelic World for January, 1888, which says merely that[Pg 256] "the stamp on the reply paid card has been slightly altered," and the American Journal of Philately for February, 1888, which says a new reply card in "gray on buff" has just been issued. The information is added that the inscription "Postage" had been changed to "Postcard", but inasmuch as this was a hoax which apparently started with Le Timbre-Poste in the fall of 1887[233] and went the rounds of the philatelic press, the value of the rest of the information is considerably lessened in consequence and we shall therefore take the dates as given in the Dominion Philatelist, which seem in the main to be correct. The wrapper stamp of 1875, with wavy line inside the oval, illustrated by Le Timbre-Poste as appearing on the cards in May, 1888, was never employed. It was probably confounded with the third type.

Post card design, 1891.

The next change in the cards was likewise due to a new variety in the stamp, which once more lost its foliations and had only a quatrefoil ornament beneath the numerals, as described for Type 4 of the wrappers, which it again preceded by a couple of months. The new card was apparently first noted in the Canadian Philatelist[234] as having been issued at London, Ont., on the 7th December, 1891. This of course may not have been its earliest date of issue but is doubtless not far from it. The normal color of the impression is a dull ultramarine, but the Dominion Philatelist chronicled it in January, 1892, in a "very light skim milk shade of blue", which may be listed as a very pale ultramarine.

The reply card in the new type is again an uncertainty. Le Timbre-Poste for June, 1892, chronicled it in blue, which it never appeared in. The Philatelic Monthly for July, 1892, noted that the reply card had appeared in the latest type, but gave no color; probably the item was borrowed from the French Journal without credit. Meanwhile the Dominion Philatelist for June, 1892, merely mentions that "the reply cards of Canada are now appearing on a glazed thin card; design same as before," which would indicate no change from the current type 3. In December, 1892, however, the Philatelic Journal of America reported that it had received from Toronto "one of the new Canadian reply cards. The message card bears a stamp the same type as that of the current 1 cent postal card, but on the reply card the[Pg 257] stamp is of the old type. Perhaps this is an error as the former double card had the same die on both." It may have been an error but it troubled no one but the philatelist. The Monthly Journal for 31st January, 1893, also notes the receipt of a similar copy from Mr. D. A. King. The account says:—"The specimen was found in a packet of reply-paid cards, the remainder of which had the stamp of the now obsolete type upon both halves." It would seem that the end of 1892 was therefore about the time of the "semi-appearance" of the stamp of type 4 upon the reply cards; nor does it appear that the double card with stamp of type 4 on both halves was issued before the "half-breed" card, as the latter continued to be used for nearly two years, the card with type 4 alone not being definitely chronicled until the issue of 30th November, 1894, of the Monthly Journal.

The next change recorded was the issue of a large sized card for business purposes, which took place, according to the American Journal of Philately,[235] on the 17th February, 1893, in company with the two high value postage stamps and the letter card. The new card was of the usual light buff stock and measured 6 × 3⅛ inches (152 × 92 mm.). The design was the same as for the ordinary card, the stamp being of the wrapper type 4 but at a slightly greater distance from the end of the banderole—4 mm. in the small card and 12 mm. in the large card. The impression was in black. This new card was designated as No. 1, and the ordinary small card became known as No. 2. The small sized card, 5 × 3 inches, soon followed the large one in the color of its impression, appearing in a very dark slate that was almost a black and being first chronicled in the Monthly Journal for 31st July, 1893.

In the Postmaster General's Report for 1893 we find the following:—"The introduction of the large size post card has not met with the success which was anticipated, and it has been found expedient in Canada, as in the United States, where the experiment has also been tried, to return to the former practice, and for the future to have only one size which will be somewhat smaller than the large card and a little larger than that first issued." As the stamp accounts kept the number of large sized cards separate from the small sized, we are able to give the amount received from the manufacturer, which was 5,396,000. The number issued is given as 4,983,900, but nothing is said about the disposition of the remaining 412,100.

The new medium sized card, which took the place of both the large and the small sized cards, was apparently issued about February, 1894, as it was[Pg 258] chronicled in the Monthly Journal for 31st March, 1894. The new card measured 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.) and the stock was of a lighter tone than before—almost a cream. The impression was in black and the distance between the banderole and the stamp was changed to 8 mm.

Whether issued especially for advertising purposes or not, this new card appeared on a heavier stock of rough surface and straw color early in 1896, being chronicled in Meheel's Weekly Stamp News for 30th April, 1896, as on a "thin card board."

In its issue for 30th May, 1896, the Monthly Journal chronicles the receipt of the reply card in black on a very smooth buff card. This indicates that the better grade of stock first used for the medium sized single card was being employed for the reply card, and that the latter was being printed in the dead black ink used for the medium card instead of the dark slate color previously employed.

It may be of interest to note here that on the 1st January, 1895, regulations went into force in Canada providing for the admission to the mails of advertising cards with a 1 cent stamp attached. This was very likely due to the failure of the Department's large sized card which was intended to fill such a want. As a sort of "rider" upon the circular dealing with the special delivery service and stamps, issued by the Department on 7th June, 1898, there is a paragraph headed:—


Postmasters are informed that, as regards Private Post Cards posted in Canada addressed to places in Canada, the words "Private Post Card" may either be placed thereon or omitted according to the option of the sender. Private Post Cards addressed to other countries must, however, in every case bear on the address side the words "Private Post Card."

It is understood, however, that only in the domestic mails were private cards allowed to pass at the usual post card rate. If addressed to a foreign country a private card, if in writing, would be taxed at letter rates. In the Weekly Philatelic Era for 19th November, 1898, however, it is announced that the Postmaster General had issued an order admitting private mailing cards into the foreign mails provided the size conformed to that of the official post cards.

Postal Union post card design, 1896.

The next official card that we have to consider is a new Postal Union card which made its appearance suddenly in the latter part of 1896. This is one of the most striking cards that Canada has produced, being beautifully[Pg 259] engraved on steel and printed in a brilliant orange red. There is no frame, such as bordered the previous 2 cent card, and the stamp in the upper right corner much resembles in size and design the large 2 cent adhesive of the 1868 issue, except that the head of the Queen is turned to the left. The inscriptions follow out, in a way, the general style of British Colonial Postal Union cards, a small reproduction of the British arms with supporters occupying the center at the top. The arrangement will be seen from the illustration.

The card is approximately 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 80 mm.) in size and printed on a very light buff stock. A variety in shade occurs, of some degree of rarity, printed in carmine. The card was first chronicled in the American Journal of Philately for 1st November, 1896, and was the last "new issue" put forth by the British American Bank Note Co. before its long contract was closed. The card was noted in the Postmaster General's Report for 1897 as follows:—"During the year a Universal Postal Union Card, conforming more closely to the regulations of the Union was introduced, thus superseding the old card." The new dimensions of the card, the removal of the frame, and the completing of the inscriptions in both English and French were among these requirements.

The American Bank Note Co., as we all know, began its work for the Canadian Government by the production of the Jubilee Issue. As will be seen by reference to the prospectus of this series already given,[236] there was included a special post card of 1 cent to the number of 7 millions. These were delivered and all issued with the exception of 3000 on hand as shown by the stamp accounts in 1903. They do not appear in the 1904 accounts, so it is not known what became of them.

Post card design with Jubilee stamps, 1897.

The cards were issued with the Jubilee stamps on the 19th June, 1897.[237] They were the size of the ordinary 1 cent cards and on the same quality of stock. The stamp is a reproduction of the 1 cent adhesive of the Jubilee issue, but engraved for[Pg 260] typographic printing. "Canada Post Card" is enclosed in a fancy frame at the left and the usual instructions are found beneath it.

A curious variety of this card was noted in the Metropolitan Philatelist for August, 1897, as follows:—"We have seen the new jubilee card bearing the stamp only. This is an error caused by the design being in two pieces and in this case the inscription has dropped out."

The regular post cards produced by the new contractors did not make their appearance until several months after the first adhesives of the new type were out. The two cent card was the first issued, having been reported by the Canadian correspondent of the Weekly Philatelic Era under date of 4th December, 1897, as just out. It was a copy of the 2 cent card of 1896 in every respect except the stamp, which was naturally of the new maple leaf type, and the color was a deeper shade of orange red.

The 1 cent card does not appear to have been chronicled until the number for 1st February, 1898, of the American Journal of Philately, so that it doubtless appeared early in January or possibly the latter part of December, 1897, following closely the 2 cent card. It was also of the usual size and same stock as before and, like the Jubilee card, had a copy of the 1 cent adhesive printed in the corner. This was of the maple leaf type, engraved for typographic printing and therefore of rather coarser appearance than its prototype. The inscriptions were simply CANADA POST CARD in plain Gothic letters, with the usual line of instructions beneath, all printed in black; while the stamp was printed in dark green.

Early in December, 1897, the following news item appeared in the Canadian daily press:—

Postmaster-General Mulock has formulated a scheme with respect to postal cards which he has been thinking over for some time and which he has now got so far into shape as to be ready for publication. It is to remove the restriction which has hitherto existed with respect to using the address side of the card for any purpose other than the address. It is intended to allow pictures, ads., etc., on the face of the card so long as there is room for the address. This will enable a business man to advertise his business and will no doubt be appreciated by both the advertiser and the public. It is intended the cards shall be printed in sheets instead of singly for the benefit of printers and lithographers.

[Pg 261]

The following was the official announcement:—


Regulations under which designs, illustrations, portraits, sketches, or other forms of advertisement may be engraved, lithographed, printed, etc., on the "address" side of the one-cent Post-Card.

1. A clear space of, at least, a quarter of an inch shall be left along each of the four sides of the postage stamp.

2. There shall be reserved for the address a clear space at the lower right hand corner on the "address" side of the card immediately below the words "The space below is reserved for address only," such space so reserved for the address being, at least, 3¼ inches long by 1½ inches wide.

N. B. It is in the interest of both the Department and those availing themselves of the privilege hereby, granted that the spaces in question should be unconditionally reserved for the purposes intended. If any printing, engraving, or other matter appears on the spaces thus reserved, the Post-Cards cannot be permitted to pass through the mails.

Post-Cards may be ordered in sheets of sixteen or less, as desired, or singly; orders therefor, specifying quantity of cards required and number to the sheet, to be given in writing to the nearest Postmaster.

Post-Office Department, Canada.
Ottawa, 9th December, 1897.

These "advertisement" cards were issued by the Post Office Department singly, or printed in sheets of eight or sixteen. The single cards came in packages of 100 like the ordinary cards; the eight card sheets were made up in packages of 125 sheets, or 1000 cards all told; and the sixteen card sheets also in packages of 125 sheets, or 2000 cards all told. The reason for this is seen in the requirement that orders for these cards should be for not less than 1000. It is seen from the stamp accounts that the eight card sheets have proven the most popular, about six times as many sheets of this size as of the larger size having been issued in 1910, while the number of cards represented was five times the number of single cards issued.

The stock is the same as used for the ordinary cards and the size of the single card is the same, while the arrangement on the sheets and the regulations require that they be cut up into cards of the proper size. The stamp is impressed in the right hand upper corner and is the same as for the ordinary card but printed in carmine. The only other thing on the card as issued is the directions, printed in small black Gothic capitals:—THE SPACE BELOW IS RESERVED FOR ADDRESS ONLY. This is placed about[Pg 262] midway between the top and bottom of the card and about as far to the right as it will go.

The last of the Queen's head cards were chronicled in the Monthly Journal for 30th July, 1898. These were the reply card and the Postal Union card in a change of color. The reply card was of the usual size, 5 × 3 inches, and had printed inscriptions in black like the single card, save that the word REPLY is placed between the two lines on the card for answer. The stamp is from the same die as the single card but printed in black instead of green. The stock is the usual pale buff.

The same paper for 31st March, 1899, notes an error of impression in this card, the reply portion being printed on the back of the message card, so that the second card has no impression at all upon it.

The Postal Union card was identical with the one it superseded, except that it was printed in deep blue, and the card is of a cream tint rather than a buff. The cause of the sudden change in color is not known.

The King's head cards soon followed the adhesives. Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News reported the 1 cent in its issue for 5th September, 1903. It needs no further description than to say it is a counterpart of the preceding Queen's Head card, the stamp as before being a copy of the adhesive engraved for typographic work. The impression is in green for the stamp and black for the inscriptions.

The advertising card or "Business Post-Card" was the next to appear, having been issued early in December, 1903. Again it is in every way similar to its predecessor save that the impression of the stamp is lighter—rather a pink than a carmine.

Finally, in its issue for 20th February, 1904, Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News reports the issue of the reply card in its usual form and the Postal Union card, identical with the former save for the stamp, which is of course line engraved on this card. The issue of cards in 1910 comprised over 26 millions of the 1 cent, 430,000 of the reply cards and 70,000 of the Postal Union cards.

[227] See page 120.

[228] See page 108.

[229] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, I: 43: 1.

[230] ibid., I: 44: 2.

[231] Monthly Journal, IV: 171.

[232] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, VI: 216.

[233] Le Timbre-Poste, XXV: 94.

[234] Canadian Philatelist, I: 49.

[235] American Journal of Philately, 2nd Series, VI: 102.

[236] See page 148.

[237] Ibid.

[Pg 263]



Letter card design, 1893.

The Postmaster General's Report for 1892 contained the following announcement:—"Letter cards, similar to those in use in Great Britain, Austria, and other European countries, are being prepared, and will be issued to the public in a short time." Only one value was issued, the 3 cents, and it appeared in company with the 20 and 50 cent adhesives and large sized post card on the 17th February, 1893. Artistically it is a pretty poor production, the stamp being apparently a rough wood-cut imitation of the stock type used by Messrs. De La Rue & Co. at that time for British Colonial stamps. The profile of the Queen is on a solid ground within an octagonal frame, and the labels at top and bottom contain the words POSTAGE and THREE CENTS respectively. At the left of the stamp, in two lines, is CANADA—LETTER CARD, the first being in Gothic, the second in Roman capitals. The entire impression is in carmine. The size of the card, opened out, is 5½ × 7 inches (138 × 175 mm.), the longer dimension being reduced one half by folding of course. The perforation gauges 12 and is in Form A of Senf's catalogue (both lines crossing at the corner intersections). The margin outside the perforations measures ⅜ inch (10 mm.) and is gummed only around the third face of the folded card. The stock is of fair quality and of a light greenish-blue tint.

The Postmaster General's Report for 1894 says that "so far the demand[Pg 264] for these letter cards has not equalled the expectations of the Department." On looking at the stamp accounts we find that from their date of issue to the 30th June, 1893, 265,350 of the letter cards were distributed; but during the whole of the next fiscal year but 104,650 were issued and for the third year the amount had dropped to 77,750. The Postmaster General's plaint was therefore justified.

It is perhaps best to record here a curious semi-official issue of what might be termed a "letter sheet" for the use of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was first noted in the Monthly Journal for 31st January, 1894, as "a sheet stamped with the current 1 cent wrapper die, upon which is printed the monthly statement of receipts and expenditure for transmission to shareholders." Perhaps for the reason that the wrapper stamp was impressed upon it, this variety has been listed under the newspaper wrappers, but such it is not. The circular was printed upon a stout gray-blue paper, and had the wrapper stamp of type 4 impressed upon the back in black. Above the stamp appears the inscription "Printed Matter Only," while in the lower left corner of the address side of the folded sheet are two lines reading:—

Canadian Pacific Ry.
Monthly Statement of Earnings and Expenses.

Three guide lines are printed for the address, as upon the old post cards. The sheet must have been issued in 1893 subsequent to the appearance of the large post card with the stamp of type 4 in black. It is stated to have been issued as an experiment and was in use but a short time. A second variety is known, however, on white laid paper, which was probably issued subsequently to the blue variety, but at what date is not known. Both sheets are rare so the experiment evidently was not carried on for long.

Returning to the regular letter cards we find again in the Postmaster General's Report for 1895 that "arrangements have been made for the issue of letter cards of the denominations of 1, 2 and 3c. for the use of banks in transmitting certain notices to their customers, as well as for ordinary letters within those postal limits to which their denominations respectively apply." The next year's Report explains their use a little more fully:—

During the year the 1 and 2 cent letter cards were introduced—the former to serve the purpose of the "drop letter" (i. e., a letter posted at, and delivered from, the same office) in places where there is no free delivery by letter carrier; the latter to meet a similar object in[Pg 265] cities where there is such a delivery. Already this extension of postal facilities appears to be appreciated—more especially by banks, which largely use these cards in transmitting notices to their customers.

The 2 cent letter card is chronicled in the Monthly Journal for 31st October, 1895, and the 1 cent in the same paper for the 30th November, 1895. Both were doubtless issued the early part of October. They conformed in all respects to the 3 cent letter card issued two years and a half previously, except for the stamp. If the 3 cent was wretched, the two new ones were hideous. They were not only more poorly engraved, which was needless, but the label at the bottom was enlarged by extending it at either side. The 1 cent was printed in black and the 2 cent in green—inscription and stamp in the same color in each case.

In 1903 the Weekly Philatelic Era published the following:[238]

A correspondent in Vermont sends Mr. Lohmeyer a 1c. letter card of the first issue, which he discovered in a Canadian post office recently, it being the only copy there and damaged at that, the perforated margin on the right hand side being torn off. In the lower left corner the bottom perforation runs to the left side perforation only, instead of crossing it, as on all Canadian letter cards previously seen.

This is the style of perforation designated as C in Senf's catalogue—in which the horizontal line does not project beyond the vertical lines at either side. We have seen a perfect copy of the above described 1 cent letter card, which seems to be unlisted; but the 3 cent card with this perforation, listed and priced in Senf, we have not ourselves seen. It is possible that if two of these cards exist with perforation C, the third one—the 2 cent—will some day come to light.

The change in the stamp contractors in 1897 and the use of a new design naturally brought changes in the letter cards as well as the other postal requisites. The new 2 cent letter card was chronicled in the Monthly Journal for 31st January, 1898, so it is safe to assume that it appeared in December, 1897. The 1 cent and 3 cents are chronicled in the same paper for 28th February, 1898, and must therefore have been issued as early as January, 1898. The new letter cards were in all respects the counterparts of the previous ones save the stamp, which was now the same as that used for the new post cards and wrappers, viz., a copy of the "maple leaf" Queen's head type engraved for[Pg 266] typographic work. These three letter cards are known only with the perforation A.

The reduction in domestic postage to the 2 cent rate on the 1st January, 1899, rendered the 3 cent letter cards useless as well as the envelopes of like denomination. We have already recounted the story of the surcharged envelopes and the two types of the handstamp which were used in doing the work.[239] Suffice it to say, therefore, that we have but to add the letter cards to the same story to make it complete. Both the 3 cent letter cards of 1893 and 1898 were turned in for surcharging purposes, and the former not only received both types of the rubber hand-stamped surcharge in the usual blue-black or gray-black color, but is found also with the second and common type in a violet color.[240] The surcharging was begun and the letter cards so treated were issued as early as February, 1899. The perforation, so far as known, is always A.

In its issue for 27th January, 1900, the Weekly Philatelic Era notes the receipt of the 1 cent and 2 cent letter cards of the maple leaf type in new colors, conforming with the requirements of the Postal Union, the one cent in green instead of black and the 2 cent in carmine instead of green. In all other respects these letter cards conformed to their predecessors. They were doubtless issued early in January, 1900.

The letter cards had been used in considerable quantities each year, particularly after 1895, when the 1 cent and 2 cent values were added to the previous 3 cent; but in 1902 they were withdrawn without any particular reason having been given that we have been able to discover. The stamp accounts for the Report of 1902 give the numbers issued in that fiscal year as 195,100 for the 1 cent and 352,000 for the 2 cent. The only item of information we have to quote concerning their demise is confined to the dates: the last issue of the 1 cent letter card is recorded as the 4th April, 1902, and of the 2 cent letter card as the 28th June, 1902.

[238] Weekly Philatelic Era, XVII: 149.

[239] See page 240.

[240] Monthly Journal, IX: 175.

[Pg 267]



Outside of the Dead Letter Office seals the Canadian Government has issued no official adhesive stamps. An attempt, however, to foist a series of official stationery upon an unsuspecting philatelic public was made by one Henry Hechler, a stamp collector and dealer, who thought he saw his opportunity in the Indian troubles which broke out in the Canadian Northwest in 1884-5. Mr. Hechler belonged to the Militia and accompanied the troops that were sent to quell the disturbance. He took it upon himself to have a quantity of envelopes, post cards and wrappers surcharged OFFICIAL or SERVICE and evidently expected they would be accepted without question.

The first news of these surcharges seems to have come, very strangely, from Germany. The Philatelic Record for December, 1884,[241] says:—

Der Philatelist chronicles, on the faith of a correspondent, Herr Von Jerzabek, of Temesvar, a set of the adhesives with Queen's head ..., two envelopes, and the 1 cent post card, all surcharged in black, with the word OFFICIAL. 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.

The Secretary of the Philatelic Society, London, whose official journal the Philatelic Record then was, wrote direct to the Canadian Government to inquire into the authenticity of these so-called official issues, and received the following reply:[242]


OTTAWA, 18th May, 1885.

Sir:—I am directed by the Postmaster-General to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 29th ult., inquiring whether postage[Pg 268] 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.

This would ordinarily seem to have been enough of a disclaimer, but like Banquo's ghost the official stationery would not down, though the stamps seem to have been lost sight of. Not only were the envelopes of 1 cent and 3 cents of the 1877 issue, but the newspaper wrappers of 1875 and 1882, and the post card of 1882, surcharged across the stamp with the word "OFFICIAL" or "Service" in black, blue or red ink, but sometimes the arms of Great Britain were added at the left of the stamp, and also, in the lower left corner, the words


The lack of uniformity, or rather attempt at variety, was enough in itself to condemn the articles. Yet in the American Philatelist for June, 1888, we find an attempted defence of them. We quote:[243]

Henry Hechler writes us as follows: "When the Indian outbreak in the Northwest occurred in 1885, and some of the militia of the various provinces were hurriedly ordered out for active service, stringent measures for notifying the men calling for prompt attention had to be adopted. To distinguish them from ordinary mail matter by showing their official character they were stamped across the "adhesive" with the word Service and at the lower left corner O. [H.] M. S. only. Some were thus printed in black, others in blue, and yet others in red. They served for that purpose only, until an Act of Parliament was passed to carry all military mail matter on active service free."

Mr. Hechler was captain of one of the companies of the Halifax Battalion, and, therefore, in a position to obtain definite information.

In other words Mr. Hechler knew all about these "official" stamps and the Postmaster-General and his secretary, as we have seen, knew absolutely nothing about them! This seems to tell its own story. In fact another letter from the Post Office Department, dated 13th April, 1888, and published in this same volume of the American Philatelist,[244] reiterates the denials of the previous letter which we have already quoted. The Philatelic Record re[Pg 269]ceived later,[245] from the Postmaster of Halifax, the information that Mr. Hechler had had this stationery surcharged and that it was neither issued nor recognized by the Government of Canada. The Record says:—"It was a smart notion of Mr. Hechler to turn his military duties into the direction of his business as a stamp dealer." Mr. Hechler "came back" at this in the columns of the Philatelic Journal of America[246] with the statement that "the Post Office Inspector here referred the question to headquarters, and, in reply, was instructed to allow such matter to pass through the mails without question or delay." The communication was enclosed in one of the envelopes in question, but the Editor's remarks on this are conclusive:—

The surcharging has not impaired the postal value of the envelope and they are permitted to pass through the Canadian mails, but as to their value from a philatelic standpoint it is quite another thing.

The printing in this case is of no more importance than any notice or inscription that might be placed on an envelope bearing a regular government stamp that in itself is sufficient to pay the postage.

In fact the above writer admits that the surcharge had no other value than to enable the recipient to distinguish the letter from his other mail. They are of no philatelic value whatever.

It was a private speculation, pure and simple, in spite of any claims of "recognition", and of the fact that copies passed the post. The only other quotation to make in the case is from Shakespeare—Exeunt.

We now come to an actual official issue in the shape of a newspaper wrapper. It seems to have been first noted in Le Timbre-Poste for February, 1883, but is stated to have been issued in 1879. The stamp is of the 1875 issue (type 1) and at its left is printed in blue the following:—

Official Issue newspaper wrapper design, 1879(?).

[Link to text version of figure.]

[Pg 270]

Above the English inscription is its counterpart in French. The wrapper itself is of a cream tone and measures 280 × 132 mm.

The history of this wrapper does not seem to be known, save that it is accredited to be what it purports to be. It is quite rare, and as far as we have been able to find out is not known used. No mention is made of it in the Department reports, but it happens that the stamp accounts for 1879, the year of its supposed issue, give only 8,000 wrappers as received from the manufacturers. None had been received the two years previously, as there were plenty on hand, and 192,000 were received the next year. It would thus appear, on the face of it, that this small lot of 8,000 was quite probably the order of the Inland Revenue wrappers. If so, it was probably the only lot ever received and though they may have been used, the chances seem somewhat against any such number having actually been issued.

One other official issue comes in the form of a Customs' post card notice. It was first chronicled in the American Philatelist for 10th May, 1888, as having been issued in connection with the parcel post system just then inaugurated with the United States. Postmasters received instructions to forward these cards free through the mails, although there was no stamp or notice on the address side. It is of manila card, 130 × 88 mm., blank on one side and having printed on the other:—

Customs post card notice, 1888.

[Link to text version of figure.]

In its September, 1888, number the Halifax Philatelist notes that the blank address side has been supplied with three dotted lines for the address, and[Pg 271] inscriptions reading, in the upper left corner, "Advice Note", and in the upper right corner, "Free, by order of the Post Master General."

One further official variety is somewhat unusual. The American Philatelist for September, 1889,[247] says:—

"We are indebted to Donald A. King ... for information concerning what is certainly a novelty in the postal line, namely, an unpaid letter stamped envelope. When a letter is returned from the dead-letter office the sender is required to pay the regular postage and these envelopes have been prepared of various values. The only one we have seen is the 3 cent value. It is about 175 × 120 mm., and is made of manila paper. In the place for the stamp is a figure 3 about 23 mm. high. In the left hand upper corner RETURNED DEAD LETTER; in the lower corner—


On the reverse, The enclosed Dead Letter is returned by order of the Postmaster-General for the reasons thereon assigned. The following values are said to exist:

3cents, black onmanila.
6cents, black on?
9cents, black on?
12cents, black on?
18cents, black on?

We have no further information concerning them.

[241] Philatelic Record, VI: 210.

[242] Ibid., VII: 84.

[243] American Philatelist, II: 207.

[244] Ibid., II: 173.

[245] Philatelic Record, XI: 44.

[246] Philatelic Journal of America, V: 202.

[247] American Philatelist, III: 350.

[Text alternative to illustration on page 269.]

Inland Revenue, Canada.


Official Circular.


This band is to be used On Her Majesty's Service only and must have no writing
thereon but the name and address.

[Text alternative to illustration on page 270.]

Customs Postal Package Office.


There has arrived at this office by mail from the United States, addressed to you as over, the following dutiable package, which will be delivered or forwarded to you on the receipt of the duty payable and the return of this card.

    $ cts.

E. 14.


[Pg 272]



As a matter of record and without any attempt at lists of varieties, which would prove futile, we deem it interesting and important to give such information as is at hand concerning the precancellation of stamps for use on large quantities of identical mail matter, and of the more recent substitute for the precancelled stamp which is known as the "permit". Both ideas were of course borrowed from the United States, which was the originator of this form of labor saving expedient.

The London Philatelist for April, 1892, quoted a letter from Mr. L. Gibb of Montreal which enclosed "a specimen used on the letter, but with the obliteration on the stamp only, and also portions of sheets gummed and unsevered, but neatly postmarked with horizontal wavy lines." Mr. Gibb wrote:[248]

Sometime back I received the enclosed stamp paying the postage on an open envelope containing a circular from Toronto; it has not been moved from its original place, and one could see it had not been obliterated on the envelope. After some little trouble I found the P. O. would, upon receiving whole sheets of stamps, cancel them, and then hand them back to any known firm to be placed on letters in quantity, these letters are then taken to a private part of the office in bulk, and are allowed to pass through the post without further marking.

The system in the United States made use of a cancellation giving the town and state name, printed on the sheets by a press; but the Canadian precancellation was of simpler form, being of two fairly heavy horizontal lines with a wavy line between. No name occurs in the cancellation and it was applied with a roller, thus making a universal style which is more convenient in application than the type set form, varying for every post office.

Further information in regard to this cancellation is found in Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News[249] where we read:—"The Canadian one-cent stamp can[Pg 273]celled on circulars is obliterated by a revolving self-inking canceler and is issued for use on the 5th class matter, i. e. parcels, etc., to post offices with an annual revenue of $3000 and over."

In 1904 precancelled stamps began to appear with the town name and that of the province, separated by two horizontal bars. In answer to an inquiry concerning them the Department replied as follows:[250]

The main conditions governing the case are the quantities required for a given mailing and the limitation of the use of precancelled stamps to the particular kind or class of mail matter for which they have been issued. The minimum quantity in each such case is 25,000 pieces.... As requisitions for precancelled stamps necessarily take longer to fill than the ordinary, postmasters are expected to send requisitions for them to the Department a few days in advance of actual needs.

It is evident that the latter form of printed precancellation was the only one intended to be employed by the Department, and that the earlier form of impression from the roller canceller was unauthorized, for the following circular was issued to make matters plain for postmasters:[251]


OTTAWA, 16th September, 1904.


The use of pre-cancelled stamps (or stamps cancelled before actually used for payment of postage) is permitted in some of the larger cities under very stringent regulations and only when required for any one mailing in quantities of not less than 25,000 stamps, but postage stamps cancelled with the small roller canceller have been observed on letters and other matter passing in the mails, and Postmasters are accordingly instructed that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are they permitted to precancel postage stamps. The roller canceller is reserved for the cancellation of postage stamps on Second, Third and Fourth Class Matter and must be used only on stamps after being ACTUALLY AFFIXED to such matter.


It is proper to explain that the authorized pre-cancelled stamps are struck with a special die bearing the name of the mailing office and are[Pg 274] sold only to the largest mailing concerns under conditions which it is considered preclude any danger of such stamps being used a second time for postage. Such conditions would not attend the use of stamps pre-cancelled with the ordinary roller stamp, and in consequence the use of the roller stamps for such a purpose is strictly forbidden, under the penalty above mentioned.

Requisitions for pre-cancelled stamps must be made direct to the Department (Stamp Branch). No request for pre-cancelled stamps can be considered where the number of pieces to be prepaid thereby is less than 25,000.

Deputy Postmaster General.

Not long afterward the bars were lowered somewhat on the size of the mailing required for the use of precancelled stamps, as the following circular shows:[252]


OTTAWA, 29th October, 1904.


(Amending Departmental Circulars of 11th March and 16th September.)

It is desired that the use of precancelled stamps should be attended with every possible degree of precaution and security and for that purpose only requisitions for precancelled stamps to cover mailings of 25,000 pieces at a time have been allowed. It is considered, however, in the light of experience, that this limit is somewhat high, and in future, therefore, postmasters will be allowed to make requisition for precancelled stamps for mailings of 10,000 pieces at a time.

Deputy Postmaster General.

The style of cancellation which is employed by the Department at Ottawa, where all the pre-cancelling is evidently done, is a three line one—the town name above and the province name below, separated by two parallel lines. It is applied in black ink. Evidently considerable mail is sent out under this method for the precancelled stamps are fairly common. One other variety comes from Montreal with "FOR-THIRD-CLASS-MATTER-ONLY", (a line for a word) beneath MONTREAL and separated from it by two thin parallel lines.

The issuing of "Permits" was an outgrowth of the precancelled stamp system, it being in effect a stamped cover fulfilling the same purpose as a[Pg 275] cover with a precancelled adhesive affixed to it. The idea was again borrowed from the United States. The circular issued to postmasters will fully explain the methods adopted under this new plan:[253]


OTTAWA, 2nd February, 1903.


The Postmaster General in order to facilitate the posting of printed matter mailed in considerable quantities addressed for delivery at post-offices within the Dominion of Canada, has decided that prepayment of postage on same may be effected in cash (instead of postage stamps) in conformity with the following


1. Each lot of mail matter which is posted under this arrangement must be accompanied by a Permit, which has been obtained from the Postmaster of the office at which it is posted. The application must be made in writing on one of the forms provided for the purpose, in which shall be stated approximately the number of pieces it is intended to mail, and the postage on each piece at the rate of one cent per two ounces or fraction thereof.

2. The articles posted must be of an uniform weight, and must be put up in such a way as to admit of their being readily counted. The weight and number must be verified beyond doubt. Circulars to be put up in packages of 50, 75 or 100, with addressed sides faced all one way. Catalogues must be tied up in neat bundles.

3. Each article must have printed upon its wrapper or cover an impression of an official stamp, a fac-simile of which is here given, which shall be furnished by the Postmaster of the office of posting, mentioning the name of the office at which posted, and stating that the postage was prepaid in cash.

Official stamp for cash pre-payment, 1903.

[Link to text version of figure.]

4. The lowest amount which may be received in payment for matter mailed under these regulations is $25.00.

5. Under these regulations payment may be made only by marked[Pg 276] cheque drawn in favour of the Postmaster of the office of posting for deposit to the credit of the Receiver General. The cheque must accompany the mail matter at the time it is posted. The cheque is to be drawn as follows:

"Pay to the Postmaster of ... for deposit to credit of Receiver General."

Deputy Postmaster General.

Electrotypes of the "stamp" shown were furnished to all offices where there was a large output of the class of matter described, and the permit number was printed in with the impression when the order under which it was issued was being struck off. The "stamp" is usually printed in black, but has been seen in dark blue.

In the stamp account for the year ending 30th June, 1903, no returns were given for mailings under these "Permits", but in 1904 we find that "Postage Paid in Cash on 3d Class (Printed) Matter" is given as $53,970.47, while in 1910 it had risen to $256,468.20—a quite respectable amount for the use of the "Permits".

[248] London Philatelist. I: 100.

[249] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XIII: 388.

[250] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XVIII: 131.

[251] Ibid., XVIII: 322.

[252] Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, XVIII: 402.

[253] Weekly Philatelic Era, XVIII: 63.

[Text alternative to illustration on page 275.]

At OTTAWA, Canada
Authorized under Permit No.

[Pg 277]



1st. SERIES. Engraved and printed by Messrs. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch &
Edson, New York. Unperforated.

April 23. 3 pence, deep red, red, vermilion.
double strike, deep red, red, vermilion.
May 15 (?) 6 pence, black violet, deep brown violet, slate.
diagonal half used as 3d.
June 15. 12 pence, black.
3 pence, red.
6 pence, dull purple.
3 pence, deep red, red, vermilion.
double strike, deep red, red, vermilion.
6 pence, black brown, brownish black, greenish black, slate, slate violet, deep violet.
12 pence, black.
3 pence, deep red, red.
double strike, deep red, red.
3 pence, deep red, red, vermilion.
6 pence, deep violet, slate violet, brown violet.
6 pence, slate violet.
6 pence, dull purple.
diagonal half used as 3d.
3 pence, red.
double strike, red.
3 pence, red.
double strike, red.
6 pence, black violet.
10 pence, deep blue, Prussian blue.
wide impression.
narrow impression.
double strike.
[Pg 278]
10 pence, deep blue, Prussian blue.
wide impression.
1857, June 2 (?) THIN WOVE PAPER.
7½ pence, dark yellow green.
wide impression.
narrow impression.
7½ pence, dark yellow green.
wide impression.
1857, Aug. 1. THIN WOVE PAPER.
½ penny, deep rose.
½ penny, deep rose.
½ penny, deep rose.
horizontal ribbing.
vertical ribbing.

Same as before, but perforated 12 by the American Bank Note Co. (?)

1859, Jan. (?)STOUT WOVE PAPER.
½ penny, deep rose.
3 pence, red.
double strike.
percé en scie 13, (unofficial).
perforated 14, (unofficial).
6 pence, black violet, slate violet, deep brown violet, black brown.
½ penny, deep rose (?)
3 pence, red.
double strike.

2nd. SERIES. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., New York. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1859, July 1.
1 cent, dull red, rose red, rose carmine.
imperforate, rose red.
thick hard paper, rose red.
ribbed paper, dull red.
5 cents, bright red, brick red, deep red.
double strike, bright red, red, deep red.
worn plate, red.
imperforate, red.
worn plate imperforate, red.
ribbed paper, red, deep red.
diagonal half used as 2½c., red.
10 cents, bright red violet, dull red violet, deep red violet, deep violet, slate violet,
brown violet, yellowish brown, brown, dark brown, black brown, gray brown.
imperforate, red violet, violet.
ribbed paper, deep red violet, brown violet, brown (light to dark).
diagonal half used as 5c., red violet, black brown.[Pg 279]
12½ cents, light yellow green, deep yellow green, green, blue green.
imperforate, blue green.
ribbed paper, light yellow green.
17 cents, deep blue, Prussian blue.
imperforate, Prussian blue.
ribbed paper, Prussian blue.
1864, Aug. 1.
2 cents, rose red, dull red.
imperforate, rose red, dull red.
ribbed paper, rose red.


3rd. SERIES. Large Stamps. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Montreal & Ottawa. Perforated 12, Wove paper.

1868, April 1.
½ cent, gray black, black.
horizontal pair, imperforate between.
very thin paper.
1 cent, brown red, deep brown red.
watermarked, brown red.
laid paper, brown red, deep brown red.
very thin paper, deep brown red.
2 cents, pale yellow green, pale green, green, deep yellow green, deep blue green.
watermarked, green.
very thin paper, deep yellow green.
3 cents, vermilion, bright red, deep red, brown red.
watermarked, brown red, red.
laid paper, vermilion, bright red.
very thin paper, deep red.
very thick paper, brown red.
6 cents, pale brown, brown, deep brown, gray brown, pale yellow brown, deep yellow brown.
watermarked, deep brown.
very thin paper, deep brown.
diagonal half used for 3c., deep brown.
12½ cents, dull blue, deep blue, pale blue.
watermarked, deep blue.
very thin paper, dull blue.
15 cents, mauve, deep mauve, lilac gray, gray violet, deep gray violet, blue gray, slate blue, greenish blue.
watermarked, lilac gray, gray violet.
thin laid paper, mauve.
ribbed paper, lilac gray.
very thick paper, mauve, slate blue, purple.
imperforate, brown violet.
1869, Jan.
1 cent, yellow, pale orange, orange yellow, orange.
imperforate, yellow.
1875, Oct. 1.
5 cents, light olive gray, dark olive gray.

[Pg 280]

4th SERIES. Small Stamps. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Company, Montreal & Ottawa. Perforated 12. Thin to thick wove paper.

1870, Jan. (?)
3 cents, dull rose red, deep rose red, rose carmine (1888), brown red, red, bright red, vermilion, orange red.
imperforate, dull red, vermilion.
ribbed paper, red.
1870, Mar. (?)
1 cent, orange, orange yellow, deep yellow, bright yellow, pale yellow, olive yellow.
imperforate, bright yellow.
ribbed paper, yellow.
vertical half, used for ½c.
1872, Jan. (?)
6 cents, pale yellow brown, brown, dark yellow brown; (1888) pale chestnut, deep chestnut.
imperforate, deep chestnut.
ribbed paper, deep chestnut.
vertical half, used for 3c.
1872, Feb. (?)
2 cents, pale green, green, deep green; (1888) blue green, deep blue green.
imperforate, green.
ribbed paper, green.
vertical half, used for 1c.
1874. Nov. 1. (?)
10 cents, pale lilac, lilac, mauve, red violet, violet; (1888) dull rose red, dull rose, salmon red, brown red, indian red.
imperforate, brown red, indian red.
ribbed paper, dull rose red, dull rose.
1876, Feb. 1. (?)
5 cents, pale olive gray, olive gray, dark olive gray; (1888) gray, brownish gray, brownish black.
imperforate, brownish gray.
ribbed paper, brownish black.
1882, July.
½ cent, gray black, black.
horizontal pair, imperforate between.
vertical pair, imperforate between.
ribbed paper.

5th SERIES. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1893, Feb. 17.
20 cents, bright red, vermilion.
imperforate, vermilion.
50 cents, deep blue.
imperforate, black blue.
1893, Aug. 1.
8 cents, bluish gray, bluish slate, slate violet, dark slate, black violet, gray black.
imperforate, bluish gray.

[Pg 281]

6th SERIES. Jubilee Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1897, June 19.
½ cent, gray black, black.
1 cent, yellow orange, orange, deep orange.
vertical half, used for ½c.
2 cents, green, deep green.
3 cents, carmine.
5 cents, deep blue.
6 cents, deep brown, deep yellow brown.
8 cents, slate violet.
10 cents, brown lilac.
15 cents, bluish slate.
20 cents, vermilion, bright scarlet.
50 cents, ultramarine.
1 dollar, carmine lake.
2 dollars, deep violet.
3 dollars, orange brown.
4 dollars, violet.
5 dollars, olive green.

7th SERIES. "Maple Leaf" Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Company, Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1897, Nov. 9. ½ cent, gray black, black.
Dec. 1. (?) 6 cents, deep brown.
Dec. 1 cent, dark blue green.
2 cents, red violet, violet, deep violet.
5 cents, dark blue on bluish (pale and strong).
imperforate, dark blue on pale bluish.
8 cents, yellow orange, deep orange.
1898, Jan. 3 cents, deep carmine.
10 cents, brown lilac.

8th SERIES. "Numerals" Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1898, June. 1 cent, blue green, deep blue green. toned paper, deep green.
3 cents, carmine, deep carmine.
Sept. ½ cent, gray black, black.
2 cents, purple, pale violet, violet, deep violet.
6 cents, deep yellow brown, dark brown.
Oct. 8 cents, yellow orange, orange, deep orange.
Nov. 10 cents, brown violet, deep brown violet.
1899, July, 3. 5 cents, dark blue on bluish (pale and strong).
Aug. 20. 2 cents, rose carmine, carmine.
1900, Dec. 29. 20 cents, olive green.
1902, Dec. 23. 7 cents, olive yellow.

[Pg 282]

9th SERIES. Imperial Penny Postage Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1898, Dec. 7
2 cents,{black, red and lavender.
black, red and bluish.
black, red and greenish blue.
black, red and green.
2 cents,{black, red and bluish.
black, red and greenish blue.
black, red and green.
Unofficial Provisional. Used at Port Hood only.
1899, Jan. 5. 1 cent,greenish surcharge on vertical third of 3c. 1898.
2 cents,purple surcharge on vertical two-thirds of 3c. 1898.
(These two occur as both "lefts" and "rights")

10th SERIES. Provisionals. Surcharge typographed in black.

1899, July 28. 2 cents on 3 cents, 1898, carmine.
inverted surcharge, carmine.
Aug. 8. 2 cents on 3 cents, 1897, carmine.
inverted surcharge, carmine.

11th SERIES. King's Head Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. (Portrait engraved by Perkins, Bacon & Co., London). Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1903, July 1.
1 cent, blue green, deep blue green.
toned paper, deep yellow green.
2 cents, rose carmine, carmine.
imperforate, rose carmine.
5 cents deep blue on bluish (pale and strong).
indigo on bluish (pale and strong).
7 cents, deep olive yellow.
10 cents, brown lilac, brown violet, deep brown violet.
1904, Sept. 27.
20 cents, deep olive green.
1908, Nov. 19.
50 cents, violet.

12th SERIES. Quebec Tercentenary Issue. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.

1908, July 16.
½ cent, black brown, brown.
1 cent, deep blue green.
2 cents, carmine.
5 cents, deep blue.
7 cents, olive green.
10 cents, deep violet.
15 cents, red orange.
20 cents, deep brown.

[Pg 283]

Manufactured by American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. 12-2 cent stamps.
1900, June 11. 2 cents, issue of 1898.
1904, (?) 2 cents, issue of 1904.
1875, Nov. 15. Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Montreal and Ottawa. Perforated 12. Thin to thick wove paper.
2 cents, orange, orange red, vermilion; (1888) brick red.
imperforate, orange.
5 cents, yellow green, green, dark green; (1888) deep blue green.
imperforate, dark green.
8 cents, bright blue, dull blue.
1906, July 1. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.
1 cent, deep violet.
2 cents, deep violet.
5 cents, deep violet, red violet.
1898, July 1. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.
10 cents, deep green, deep blue green.
toned paper, deep green.
Engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note Co., Montreal. Perforated 12. Wove paper.
1879 (?) (no value), dark brown.
imperforate (?)
Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. Perforated 12. Wove paper.
1905 (?) (no value), black on light green.
1907 (?) (no value), black.
Province of Canada.
Laid paper, watermarked Ca / POD Size 5½ × 3¼ inches (138 × 83 mm.)
1860, Feb. 1.(?) Cream toned paper, flap rounded.
5 cents, bright red.
10 cents, black brown.
10 cents, bright red.
1864 (?) Very white paper, flap more pointed.
5 cents, bright red. [Pg 284]
On pieces of white wove or vertically laid buff paper.
5 cents, bright red.
10 cents, dark red brown.
On diagonally laid white or buff envelopes, watermarked POD / US
Size 5½ × 3 inches (138 × 77 mm).
5 cents, bright red.
10 cents, dark red brown.

Dominion of Canada.

Sizes: A—5½ × 3⅛ inches (138 × 79 mm.)
B—6 × 3⅜ inches (150 × 85 mm.)
C—9⅝ × 4½ inches (265 × 113 mm.)
D—5⅞ × 3½ inches (148 × 87 mm.)
E—6 × 3⅝ inches (152 × 90 mm.)
Laid paper, cross vergures 18 mm. apart. Pointed flap.
1877, Oct. 6.White paper.
Size A:1 cent, pale blue, deep blue.
3 cents, red, rose.
Size B:3 cents, red, rose.
Same paper, tongued flap.
Size A:1 cent, blue.
3 cents, red.
Laid paper, cross vergures 24 mm. apart. Pointed flap.
1888 (?) Cream toned paper.
Size A:1 cent, blue, deep blue.
3 cents, red, carmine.
Size B:3 cents, red, carmine.
Same paper, cross vergures 27 mm. apart.
Size A:1 cent, deep blue.
White wove paper.
1895 (?) Size B:3 cents, carmine.
Laid paper, cream toned.
1895, June 14.
Size B:2 cents, blue green.
1896 (?) Size A:1 cent, ultramarine.
Manila amber paper.
1896 (?) Size C:1 cent, ultramarine.
3 cents, red.
Wove paper, cream toned.
1898, Apr. 1 (?)Size D: 3 cents, bright red.
1898, July 22.Size D: 1 cent, dark green.
1899, Jan. 2.Size D: 2 cents, deep violet.
1899, Jan. 8 (?)Size D: 2 cents, bright red, vermilion. [Pg 285]
1899, Feb. 6. (?)Surcharged 2c in blue-black.
Type 1.
Size D:2 c. on 3 cents, red, of 1898.
Type 2.
Size A:2c. on 3 cents, red, of 1877; white paper, pointed flap.
2c. on 3 cents, red, of 1888 (?) cream toned paper.
Size B:2c. on 3 cents, red, of 1888 (?) cream toned paper.
Size D:2c. on 3 cents, red, of 1898.
1901 (?) Size D:1 cent, dark green.
2 cents, bright red.
Very white wove paper.
1905, Jan. 12.Size E: 2 cents, bright red.
Mar. 1 (?)Size E: 1 cent, deep blue green.
Type 1. Size 9½ × 5 inches (235 × 127 mm.).
1875, May 1 cent, dark blue, light buff paper.
1 cent, variety, stamp at left. [Size 11½ x 6½ inches (290 x 165 mm.)]
Size 11⅛ × 4⅞ inches (285 × 124 mm.).
1881, Nov. (?) 1 cent, dark blue, blue, cream paper.
Type 2. Size as last.
1882, May (?) 1 cent, pale blue, light buff paper.
Aug.(?) 1 cent, blue, straw paper.
1885, 1 cent, ultramarine, cream paper.
Type 3. Size as last.
1887, May (?) 1 cent, ultramarine, thin white paper.
1888, 1 cent, ultramarine, cream paper.
1 cent, ultramarine, light manila paper.
Type 4. Size 10⅜ × 4⅞ inches (264 × 124 mm.).
1892,Feb. (?) 1 cent, dark blue, thin straw paper.
1 cent, variety, stamp half way across wrapper.
1 cent, blue, cream paper.
Size 10¾ × 4⅞ inches (272 × 125 mm.).
1 cent, dark blue, straw paper.
1894, Feb. (?) 1 cent, black, light buff paper.
1 cent, black, light brown paper.
1898, June (?) 1 cent, dark green, manila paper.
1903, Oct. (?) 1 cent, dark green, manila paper.
Size 15 x 6½ inches (378 × 165 mm.). Inscription.
1907, July 11. 1 cent, dark green, manila paper.
2 cent, carmine, manila paper.
Size 13 × 8 inches (308 × 223 mm.). Inscription.
3 cents, slate violet, manila paper.
1908, June 18 (?) Last two wrappers, surcharged.
1 c. on 2 cents, carmine.
1 c. on 3 cents, slate violet.

[Pg 286]

Size 4⅝ × 3 inches (116 × 75 mm.). Imprint "Montreal & Ottawa."
1871. June 1 cent, dull blue, deep blue, light buff and pale buff card.
Size 4¾ × 3 inches (120 × 75 mm.). Imprint "Montreal" only.
1876. (end) 1 cent, dull blue, deep blue, pale buff card.
Inscribed "To United Kingdom."
1877. Jan. 1. 2 cents, deep yellow green, pale buff card.
Inscribed "Union Postale Universelle."
1879, 2 cents, yellow green, pale yellowish card.
Size 5 × 3 inches (127 × 76 mm.). No frame.
Type 2 of wrapper stamp.
1882, Apr. (?) 1 cent, light blue, pale buff card.
Dec. (?) 1 plus 1 cent, slate, pale buff card.
Error, stamps at left.
1884, Sept. (?) 1 plus 1 cent, slate, pale buff card.
Type 3 of wrapper stamp.
1887, Feb. (?) 1 cent, dull blue, pale buff card.
(?) 1 plus 1 cent, slate, pale buff card.
1888, (?) 1 plus 1 cent, slate green, pale buff card.
Type 4 of wrapper stamp.
1891, Dec. (?) 1 cent, dull ultramarine, pale ultramarine, pale buff card.
1892, Dec. (?) 1 plus 1 cent, slate green, (Type 3 on reply card), pale buff card.
1894, Oct. (?) 1 plus 1 cent, gray black, (Type 4 on each card), pale buff card.
Size 6 × 3⅝ inches (152 × 92 mm.).
1893, Feb. 17. 1 cent, black, pale buff card.
Size 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.).
1894, Feb. (?) 1 cent, black, pale yellowish card.
1895, Apr. (?) 1 cent, black, rough straw card.
Size 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 80 mm.).
1896, Oct. (?) 2 cents, orange red, carmine, pale buff card.
Size 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.).
1897, June 19. 1 cent, black, pale buff card.
1 cent, variety, inscriptions lacking.
Size 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 80 mm.).
1897, Dec. 1 (?) 2 cents, deep orange red, pale buff card.
Size 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.).
1898, Jan. (?) 1 cent, green, dark green, pale buff card.
1 cent, carmine, pale buff card.
Size 5 × 3 inches (127 × 76 mm.).
1898, June (?) 1 plus 1 cent, black, pale buff card.
1 plus 1 cent, variety, reply printed on back of message card.
Size 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 80 mm.).
1898, June (?) 2 cents, deep blue, cream card.
Size 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.).
1903, Aug. (?) 1 cent, green, pale buff card.
Dec. (?) 1 cent, rose, pale buff card. [Pg 287]
Size 5 × 3 inches (127 × 76 mm.).
1904, Feb. (?) 1 plus 1 cent, black, pale buff card.
Size 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 80 mm.).
1904, Feb. (?) 2 cents, deep blue, pale buff card.
1893. Feb. 17. 3 cents, carmine, blue-green card. Perf. A. and C.
1895, Oct. (?) 1 cents, black, blue-green card. Perf. A and C.
2 cents, green, blue-green card. Perf. A.
1897, Dec. (?) 2 cents, black, blue-green card. Perf. A.
1898, Jan. (?) 1 cents, black, blue-green card. Perf. A.
3 cents, carmine, blue-green card. Perf. A.
Surcharged "2c." in blue-black.
1899, Feb. (?) 2 cents on 3 c. card of 1893, type 1.
2 cents on 3 c. card of 1893, type 2.
2 cents on 3 c. card of 1898, type 2.
Surcharged in violet.
2 cents on 3 c. card of 1893, type 2.
1900, Jan. (?) 1 cent, green, blue-green card. Perf. A.
2 cents, carmine, blue-green card. Perf. A.
1894 (?) 1 cent, black, gray blue laid paper.
1 cent, black, white laid paper.
Inland Revenue Wrapper, Size 11 × 5⅛ inches (280 × 132 mm.).
1879 (?) 1 cent, dark blue, cream paper.
Customs Post Card, Size 5⅛ × 3⅛ inches (130 × 88 mm.).
1888 (?) [plain front], manila card.
[inscriptions on front], manila card.
Returned Dead Letter Envelopes. Size 6⅞ × 4¾ inches (175 × 120 mm.).
1889 (?) 3 cents, black, manila paper.
? ? ?

Plate I Plate I

[Key to Plate I.]

Plate II Plate II

[Key to Plate II.]

Plate III Plate III

[Key to Plate III.]

Plate IV Plate IV

[Key to Plate IV.]

Plate V Plate V

[Key to Plate V.]

Plate VI Plate VI

[Key to Plate VI.]

Plate VII Plate VII

[Key to Plate VII.]

Plate VIII Plate VIII

[Key to Plate VIII.]

Plate IX Plate IX

[Key to Plate IX.]

Plate X Plate X

[Key to Plate X.]

Plate XI Plate XI

[Key to Plate XI.]

Plate XII Plate XII

[Key to Plate XII.]

Plate XIII Plate XIII

[Key to Plate XIII.]

Plate XIV Plate XIV

[Key to Plate XIV.]

Transcriber's Notes

Page 21: changed "or" to "of" ( ... from the sender of such letter or packet ...)

Page 23: unreadable value in original ( ... the rate on Letters by those mails, viâ Halifax, of 1s. [missing value] sterling, if un-paid, ...)

Page 90: changed "setttled" to "settled" ( ... newly settled portions of the country ...)

Page 99: changed "fradulent" to "fraudulent" (To remove with fraudulent intent from any letter, newspaper or other mailable matter ...)

Page 141: changed "(C)" to "(D)" ((D) Limits of weight to Austria-Hungary, ...)

Page 149: changed "beseiged" to "besieged" ( ... literally besieged the post offices for the coveted treasures.)

Page 149: changed "neceessary" to "necessary" ( ... it would be necessary for you to apply early ...)

Page 154: duplicate word "in" deleted (The principal variation is only one of tone in a few values.)

Page 196: changed "monoply" to "monopoly" ( ... an accidental monopoly of a stamp, ...)

Page 202: changed "promotory" to "promontory" ( ... he disembarked on the 3d July at the foot of the promontory of Stadaconé, ...)

Page 228: changed "Qneen" (with inverted "u") to "Queen" (The embossed head of Queen Victoria was evidently copied ...)

Page 238: changed "suppy" to "supply" ( ... when the supply thereof in the department became exhausted, ...)

Page 256: changed "uncertainity" to "uncertainty" (The reply card in the new type is again an uncertainty.)

Page 286: corrected "130 × 80" to "140 × 85" (Size 5½ × 3⅜ inches (140 × 85 mm.).)




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