Canada Post is celebrating Christmas this year with three whimsical Santa stamps and a single Madonna and Child stamp.
The stamps were issued Oct. 23.
The nondenominated self-adhesive Madonna and Child permanent stamp is sold in a booklet of 12. This permanent domestic stamp is always worth the basic domestic letter rate (currently 85¢).
The three Santa stamps have different designs and are denominated at different postage rates. The stamps are offered as self-adhesives in individual booklets, and also in a perforated souvenir sheet of three with water-activated adhesive.
The Santa permanent stamp shows a close-up of a seated, bespectacled Santa answering Christmas mail, with a Christmas tree and wrapped gift nearby. This stamp is available in a booklet of 12.
The $1.20 Santa stamp pays the letter rate to the United States and shows Santa, this time without his glasses, flying in the night sky and delivering presents. According to Canada Post, “Our North American image of Santa Claus comes from the classic poem commonly known as ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.”
The $2.50 Santa stamp shows the original St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of Myra (in present-day Turkey). The patron saint of children, Nicholas was known for giving gifts and, over the centuries, was transformed into Santa Claus. This stamp fulfills the letter rate to the rest of the world.
The $1.20 and $2.50 stamps were issued in separate booklets of six.
The souvenir sheet of three is perforated and has moisture-activated adhesive.
The Christmas Santa stamps were designed by Helene L’Heureux using illustrations by artist Christiane Beauregard.
The Christmas Madonna and Child stamp was designed by Louise Methe. The design is based on an oil painting by Flemish baroque artist Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen.
The painting is in the collection of the Basilica Cathedral Notre-Dame de Quebec in Quebec City, Quebec. The stamp also marks the 350th anniversary of the cathedral.
Lowe-Martin printed the Christmas stamps and souvenir sheet. The self-adhesive stamps have die-cut simulated perforations and are printed on Tullis Russell paper with general tagging on all four sides.
The Christmas Santas self-adhesive stamps were printed using six-color offset lithography plus varnish. The souvenir sheet uses eight colors. The Christmas Madonna and Child stamp was printed by seven-color lithography plus varnish.
The stamps in the souvenir sheet are perforated about gauge 13.
The printing quantities are Santa permanent rate, 24 million; $1.20 Santa, 3.42 million; $2.50 Santa, 3.54 million each; Christmas Santa souvenir sheet, 140,000; and Christmas Madonna and Child, 4.2 million.
The booklet of 12 nondenominated permanent Christmas Santa stamps is Canada Post item No. 113821, the booklet of six $1.20 stamps is item No. 113822, the booklet of six $2.50 stamps is item No. 113823, and the souvenir sheet of three is item No. 403821145.
The booklet of 12 permanent Christmas Madonna and Child stamps is Canada Post item No. 113820.
Canada Post will service 11,500 official first-day covers each of the Christmas Santa souvenir sheet and the Christmas Madonna and Child stamp.
The Christmas Santa FDC will bear a Saint-Nicholas, Quebec, postmark, and is Canada Post item No. 413820131. The Christmas Madonna and Child FDC will bear a Quebec City, Quebec, postmark, and is item No. 413820131.
Canada Post products are available at www.canadapost.ca/shop. Stamps and FDCs are available by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre, Canada Post Corp., 75 St. Ninian St., Antigonish, NS B2G 2R8, Canada; or by telephone from the United States and Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
Canada’s stamps and stamp products are also available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.