The Stamps of Canada
by Bertram Poole
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National Archives Archives Nationales of Canada du Canada



PUBLISHED BY SEVERN-WYLIE-JEWETT CO. Publishers of Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News BOSTON, MASS.

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Beautiful 1912 Salvador Set

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

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

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

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

MEXICO, Sets and Singles, New

1910, 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, 15c, 20c, 50c, 1 peso, o.g., fine .55

1910, 5 pesos, o. g. .75

1914, Gob. $ Con. on 1910 issue, 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c & 50c .24

1914, 5 pesos Gob. $ Con., Rare 2.25

1915, G. C. M. 2c, 3c & 5c. 3 for .03

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

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

Oficial, 1911, Set 1c to 1 peso complete, Scott's Nos. 676 to 685 1.48

Nos. 810 to 814 Postage Due, Gob. $ .75

Nos. 815 to 819 Postage Due, Carranza .75

Nos. 820 to 824 Postage Due, Villa 1.50


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

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

Above worth full catalogue in fine condition.

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


References, Jefferson Bank or Publishers.

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We have put this Album up in five sections so a collector is able to purchase such branches as he desires at a comparatively low cost. It is 9 inches long and 7-1/2 inches wide, very handy; there is but one set of stamps to a page artistically laid out. Spaces have been provided for imperforate and part perforate pairs and the beauty of all; it is right up to the minute. What is more we will add new leaves each year with spaces for the latest stamps and if you are an owner of one of our Albums, latest sheets will be promptly sent you when issued.

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Section 2. Departments, Special Delivery, Registration Postage, Dues, Newspapers, Postal Savings, 60pp .65

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Section 4. Confederate States. 24 pages .25

Section 5. Colonies, Cuba, Guam, Porto Rico, Phil. Isl. (4 pages per month with "Herald") .50

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

Selections of Canada

including shades, blocks, etc. (4 books), U. S. (100 different books) or any other country. Our free PINK LIST describes fully 400 selections ready to be submitted on approval to responsible collectors.

This ad is good for 5 years or more.

J. M. BARTELS CO. 99 Nassau Street, NEW YORK

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Counterfeit Detector of the American Philatelic Society.

Member of the Juries of the Chicago 1911 and New York 1913 International Philatelic Exhibitions.

Honorary Member of the New York Stamp Society.

Life Member of the Societe Francaise de Timbrologie, Paris, and the Junior Philatelic Society, London.

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

Unsurcharged stamps 10c each.

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

Minimum charge 50 cents.

Postage and registration extra.

EUGENE KLEIN 1318 Chestnut St., Philadelphia



Author of Various Philatelic Books



Price 25 Cents



Publishers Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News




Introduction 3

Chapter I—Its Postal History 5

Chapter II—A Postmaster's Provisional 8

Chapter III—The First Issue 9

Chapter IV—The Second Issue 18

Chapter V—The Perforated Pence Stamps 21

Chapter VI—The First "Cents" Issue 24

Chapter VII—The First Dominion Issue 28

Chapter VIII—The 1c Orange of 1869 34

Chapter IX—The Large 5c Stamp 34

Chapter X—The Small "Cents" Stamps 35

Chapter XI—The 20c and 50c Stamps of 1893 40

Chapter XII—The 8c Stamp of 1893 41

Chapter XIII—The Diamond Jubilee Issue 43

Chapter XIV—The "Maple Leaf" Issue of 1897 48

Chapter XV—The "Numeral" Issue of 1898 50

Chapter XVI—The "Map" Stamp of 1898 52

Chapter XVII—The "2 Cents" Provisionals 54

Chapter XVIII—The Bi-sected Provisionals 56

Chapter XIX—The 2c Carmine 57

Chapter XX—The 20c Value of 1900 58

Chapter XXI—The Queen Victoria Seven Cents 58

Chapter XXII—The King Edward Issue 59

Chapter XXIII—The Quebec Tercentenary Issue 63

Chapter XXIV—King George Stamps 67

Chapter XXV—The War Tax Stamps 69

Chapter XXVI—A Proposed Commemorative Series 70

Chapter XXVII—Official Stamps 71

Chapter XXVIII—The Special Delivery Stamp 72

Chapter XXIX—The Registration Stamps 74

Chapter XXX—The Postage Due Stamps 77

Chapter XXXI—The "Officially Sealed" Labels 78




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER I.—Its Postal History.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

W. ALLAN, Acting Deputy Postmaster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

In 1882, the 1/2c value was reduced in size so that this stamp, as in the case of its predecessor of 1868, was smaller than the other denominations. From that date until 1892 no further changes were made so far as new designs or values were concerned though some striking alterations in shade took place, notably in the case of the 6c and 10c values.

In 1892, 20c and 50c stamps were issued for use on heavy packages. These not only differed in design from the other stamps of the series then current but were also very much larger. In 1893 an 8c stamp was issued which was used for prepayment of postage and the registration fee and upon its advent the special registration stamps ceased to be printed though existing stocks were, presumably, used up. In 1897, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated by the issue of a special series of stamps comprising no less than sixteen values ranging all the way from 1/2c to $5. As to the utility, to say nothing of the necessity, of some of the higher denominations perhaps the less said the better for before and since Canada has managed to get along very well with a highest regular denomination of 50c.

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER II.—A Postmaster's Provisional.

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


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

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

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

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

"Yours faithfully,


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

OTTAWA, 2nd March, 1904.

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

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

"I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"WILLIAM SMITH, Secretary."

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

OTTAWA, March 2nd, 1904.

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER III.—The First Issue.

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


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

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

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

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

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




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

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

A Letter, weighing not exceeding 1/2 ounce, will be liable to 3d postage.

A Letter, weighing more than 1/2 ounce, and not exceeding 1 ounce, will be liable to 6d Postage.

A Letter, weighing more than 1 ounce, and not exceeding 1-1/2 ounces will be liable to 9d Postage, and so on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T. A. STAYNER. Deputy Post Master General.

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

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

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

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

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

It is rather interesting to note that the series comprised only three values, though the postal rates, as shown in the Notice quoted above, and further amplified in a lengthy set of "Regulations and Instructions" called for numerous rates of 1/2d and 1d as well as 7-1/2d so that it certainly seems strange that no provision was made for stamps by means of which such rates could be prepaid.

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

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

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

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

The 12d requires a few words in explanation of the manner in which the value was expressed for "One Shilling" would appear to be a more natural form for this amount rather than "Twelve Pence". Mr. Donald A. King says:—"This was undoubtedly done intentionally, as though it was intended for a one shilling stamp, yet it could not be called that, as there were a number of shillings of different values in circulation in the Colony. If the stamp had been lettered 'One Shilling', the Post Office was liable to have tendered for it 6-1/2d, 7-1/2d, 10d or 12d, according to locality".

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

"A glance back at the rates of postage we have already quoted will show that it was generally necessary to give them in two forms, 'currency' and 'sterling'. The somewhat depreciated Canadian currency required fifteen pence, as will be noted, to equal the shilling sterling—a point brought out on the two stamps issued subsequently for the British Packet rates. Add to this fact that in New England the 'shilling' was a current expression for 16-2/3 cents (10 pence currency), while in New York it represented 12-1/2 cents (7-1/2 pence currency) and we can readily see that in Canadian territory contiguous to these sections the number of pence to a 'shilling' might often be a debatable quantity. As a matter of fact the French Canadians of Lower Canada made general use of the 'shilling' as reckoned at 10 pence (20 cents) in the old currency, while the 'York shilling' was extensively used in Upper Canada. 'Twelve Pence' was without doubt wholly intentional, therefore, as the designation of the stamp, and was happy solution of any ambiguity in its use, even if it has proved a stumbling block to the understanding of latter day collectors."

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

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

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

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

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

No. Stamps

June 14th, 1851, Hamilton, 300 Oct. 17th, 1851, Chippewa, 100 Nov. 13th, 1851, Thorold, 20 Nov. 25th, 1851, Toronto, 200 Mar. 8th, 1852, Montreal, 200 Sept. 14th, 1852, Ingersoll, 100 Apr. 5th, 1853, Ottawa (then known as Bytown), 100 Oct. 20th, 1853, Sherbrooke, 15 Jan. 13th, 1854, Smith's Falls, 50 Jan. 20th, 1854, Ottawa, 100 Feb. 8th, 1854, L'Islet, 15 Feb. 27th, 1854, Ingersoll, 20 Mar. 22nd, 1854, Sault S. Marie, 25 May 15th, 1854, Port. du Fort, 15 Oct. 21st, 1854, Rowan Mills, 50 Oct. 26th, 1854, Melbourne, 50 Oct. 27th, 1854, Montreal, 100 Dec. 4th, 1854, Smith's Falls, 50

Total stamps, 1,510

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

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

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

"OTTAWA, 28th October, 1869.

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

"I am, dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

"W. A. SMYTH."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One peculiarity resulting from the use of papers of such varying quality is an apparent difference in the size of stamps of the same denomination. For instance, the stamps on the thinner kinds of paper generally measure 22 x 18 mm., while those on thicker paper measure 22-3/4 x 17-1/2 mm. and papers of other thicknesses provide still other measurements. These differences in size (fairly considerable in relation to the comparatively small area of a postage stamp) proved very puzzling to collectors of twenty years or so ago for, though it was felt that the stamps came from the same plates, it was at the same time found impossible to account for such varieties, except on the hypothesis that all the impressions of the plate were not all applied alike or that the hardening of the plates before printing resulted in contraction in parts with a consequent variation in the size of different impressions. The same sorts of varieties have been noticed in many other stamps printed by the line engraved process, notably in such stamps as the "pence" Ceylons, and proper investigation finally proved beyond a shadow of doubt that these differences in size were due to nothing more than uneven contraction of the paper after printing. It must be understood that in printing stamps by the line-engraved method the paper usually has to be slightly wetted (this was an invariable rule at the time these early Canada stamps were printed) and it can be easily seen that the wetting would have quite different results on different qualities of paper. Some would be more absorbent than others and would stretch while damp and contract again when drying. The amount of wetting administered would, also, result in differences even in the same qualify of paper. These variations in the size of the design, therefore, while interesting in themselves as examples of paper vagaries, are of little, if any, philatelic importance.

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

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

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

In the New Issues column of our number for April, we called in question the character of a supposed "split" three pence stamp of Canada, which had been chronicled in the Post Office, New York. In reply to our criticism, Messrs. Morgenthau & Co., the publishers of that magazine, have most kindly forwarded to us the letter bearing the divided stamp, and have requested our opinion upon it. The specimen is such a curious one and presents, we think, such a puzzle for philatelists, that we have taken the liberty—which we hope its owner will pardon—of having a photographic block made from it, and we give a full size illustration, showing both the stamps and the postmarks, herewith. As our readers may perceive, we were quite wrong in suggesting that the "split" stamp was merely a badly cut copy, as it appears to have been carefully bi-sected diagonally and to have been intended to pass as a half stamp, making up, with the entire stamp to which it is attached, a rate of 4-1/2d. If this were all, though the specimen would be a great rarity—indeed, we believe it to be unique—it would not be necessarily a great puzzle to us. It is true that we do not know of any 4-1/2d rate in Canada, and there never was a 4-1/2d stamp in use there; but still, such a rate might have existed, although there was no possible means of making it up except by the use of at least three 1/2d stamps; but the puzzling part about this letter is that it is addressed from Port Hope in Canada to New York, the single rate from Canada to the United States was 10 cents; the letter is marked "CANADA—PAID 10 Cts." by the side of the stamps, and that rate was sixpence in Canadian currency. The whole document appears to us to be perfectly genuine and bona-fide; we have examined it with a skeptical mind and a powerful magnifying glass, and we can only say that if it is a "fake" it is wonderfully well done. On the other hand, if it is genuine, the half stamp must have done duty as a whole one, because it certainly took two 3d stamps to make up the 10 cents rate. The puzzle remains a puzzle to us, but we are grateful to Messrs. Morgenthau for their courteous reply to what may have appeared a captious criticism.

Reference List.

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

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

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

In March, 1854, the charge on packet letters between Canada and the United Kingdom and most foreign countries was reduced by the Imperial Government from 1s 2d sterling to 8d sterling the 1/2 oz., when sent in the closed mails through the United States, and from 1s sterling to 6d when sent from a provincial port—Quebec and Halifax. Should no further changes be likely soon to take place in the charges on the correspondence with England, it would promote the public convenience to procure postage stamps of the value of 10d and 7-1/2d respectively, to correspond with the present packet charges.

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

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

According to documentary evidence unearthed by Messrs. King and Howes the plate for this value was made, and the first stamps were printed from it during the last quarter of 1854, for in the Post Office accounts for that period the item, "Rawdon, Wright & Co., Making Stamps, L42-18-6," appears. According to another list compiled from official sources the stamps did not reach Canada until January 2nd, 1855, and though we know of no official document bearing on the actual date of issue, or of any very early dated cover, in view of the fact that the stamps represented a denomination for which there was an urgent demand, it is only reasonable to suppose that this 10d value was placed on sale some time during the month of January, 1855.

Mr. King states that this value was printed in sheets of 100 stamps, arranged in ten horizontal rows of ten, and with the manufacturers' imprint shown eight times on the margins, as in the case of the three stamps previously issued. Mr. Howes, however, is of the opinion that these 10d stamps were printed in sheets of 120, 10 rows of twelve each, like the 7-1/2d value issued later, and in support of his theory points out that the quantities delivered in the first supply (100,080) and second supply (72,120) are exactly divisible by 120 into 834 and 601 full sheets respectively, whereas neither of these numbers is divisible by 100 into an even number of complete sheets. In view of the absence of positive evidence in the shape of an entire sheet or full horizontal row of stamps, it must be admitted that there is much to be said in favor of Mr. Howes' theory. It will be noted the stamps have the values expressed in English currency, and the almost universal rule for stamps printed with values in shillings or pence, has been sheets of 60, 120, or 240 owing to the fact that with such an arrangement reckoning in this currency is greatly simplified.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To facilitate the prepayment of letters passing from Canada to England by the Canadian steamers, a new stamp bearing value of 6 pence sterling, or 7-1/2 pence currency, being the Canadian Packet rate, has been secured and put in circulation.

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

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

It will thus be seen that the 7-1/2d value, which was recommended three years earlier (at the time the 10d was issued), materialised at last, though there appears to be no official record bearing on the date the new value was placed on sale to the public. The volume dealing with the postage stamps of British North America, published by the Royal Philatelic Society some twenty years ago, gives the date of issue as June 2nd, 1857, though no authority for this statement is given.

The design was adapted from that of the discarded 12d of 1851, the same portrait of Queen Victoria adorning the central oval. The inscribed band around this contains the words CANADA PACKET POSTAGE at the top, and SIX PENCE STERLING at the bottom, the two inscriptions occupying so much space that there was no room for dividing ornaments of any kind. In the upper and lower left hand corners is "6d stg." and in the right hand corners "7-1/2d cy." is shown. A word of explanation regarding the use of the word PACKET in the inscription is necessary. This does not refer to any parcel post (indeed, there was no parcel post at that period) as has sometimes been erroneously asserted, but refers to the fast mail steamers of the day which were then known as "packets". This denomination, as shown by the extract from the Postmaster-General's report printed above, was intended for use on single letters sent to England via the Canadian packets.

This 7-1/2d stamp was, according to Mr. Howes, printed in sheets of 120 arranged in ten horizontal rows of twelve each, each sheet showing the imprint of the manufacturers eight times on the margins as in the case of the values issued previous to 1857. Only one consignment, consisting of 834 sheets (100,800 stamps) was received, and as 17,670 of these were still on hand when the decimal currency was introduced in 1859, a simple calculation will show that the total quantity issued was 82,410 stamps.

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



TORONTO. 18th July, 1857.

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

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

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

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

R. SPENCE, Postmaster-General.

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

Although this stamp is generally conceded to be the last of the "pence" values to be issued, until more definite information regarding the date of issue of the 7-1/2d can be procured, this supposition can rest on no more substantial basis than that of mere conjecture.

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

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

While the 10d value is found on several sorts of paper no such extreme variation is provided as in the case of the stamps of 1851. The 7-1/2d and 1/2d values, printed at a later date, provide still fewer varieties, which would seem to indicate that as time progressed the manufacturers exercised a nicer discrimination in their choice of paper. Most of the stamps seem to have been printed on a hard wove paper, varying a little in thickness; the 10d is found on a very thin paper; and the 1/2d is recorded on ribbed paper, though whether this is a true "ribbed" variety or merely the result of some peculiarity in printing is open to discussion. As the ribbed lines are anything but distinct, though the paper showing this peculiarity is a little softer than that generally used, it is more than likely that the ribbing was purely accidental.

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

Reference List.

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

4. 1/2d pink, Scott's No. 8. 5. 7-1/2d green, Scott's No. 9. 6. 10d blue, Scott's No. 7.

CHAPTER V.—The Perforated Pence Stamps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Considering these facts, it may be that the stamps were sent to Canada in an imperforate condition, and that the Post Office Department had them perforated there, either buying a perforating machine, or entrusting them to some manufacturers of stationery. Perforations gauging 13 and 14 may have been experimental, as specimens of these varieties are rare; perforation 12 being adopted as giving the best results, the other sizes not being at all clearly cut, as the 12 generally is. All the stock of 1/2d, 3d and 6d on hand would, in this case, have been perforated, which might account for the copy of the 6d on laid paper that is known in this condition. There always remains the query why the 7-1/2d and 10d were not treated in the same manner, and to this no answer can be given. Probably the safest theory to advance, and the one that I think is correct, is that the 12 gauge was the official one used by the manufacturers, and that the 13 and 14 were the result of private enterprise by people using large quantities of stamps, and they may possibly antedate the regularly perforated issue. This point can only be settled by copies being found on the original covers.

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