World Stamps

By Fred Baumann

Pansies blossom as Canada’s Spring Flowers March 2

February 19, 2015 09:03 PM

  • The latest stamps in Canada Post’s Spring Flowers series feature “Delta Premium” and “Midnight Glow” pansies. The stamps were issued March 2 in booklets of 10 and coils of 50. Postal stationery and a souvenir sheet also were issued.

Spring comes early at Canada Post, which on March 2 issued nondenominated (85¢) domestic letter-rate Pansies “P” permanent stamps with two designs in self-adhesive booklets of 10, coil rolls of 50, and two-stamp souvenir sheets.

The stamps feature painstakingly detailed but cropped images of the faces of two pansies: the “Delta Premium Pure Light Blue,” and the “Midnight Glow.” The latter is a multicolored icicle pansy, which can be planted in fall, survive the winter and bloom again in the spring.

The two designs alternate in both the die-cut booklet and vertical-format coil roll.

To enhance and encourage personal correspondence, booklets include 10 colorful small round pansy stickers, which can be used as envelope seals.

The two-stamp souvenir sheet is perforated and has moisture-activated gum.

Nondenominated ($2.50) international-rate 170-millimeter by 118mm postal cards with the Pansy stamp designs will round out what has become an annual postal bouquet from Canada, its Spring Flowers series.

Begun in 2002, the first Spring Flowers set of 48¢ Tulips stamps in four vibrant designs (Scott 1946-1947) was followed in 2005 by 50¢ White and Yellow Daffodils (Scott 2091-2093).

The series became a yearly two-design, multi-format fixture beginning in 2007, with 52¢ White and Pale Purple Lilacs (2206-2208), followed in 2008 by 52¢ Elgin plus Coral ’n Gold Peonies (2260-2262), and in 2009 by 54¢ Mist Maiden and Minas Maid Rhododendrons (2318-2320).

Since 2010, Canada’s Spring Flowers all have been nondenominated permanent stamps: 2010 (57¢) Decelles’ Avalanche and Picasso African Violets (2376-2378); 2011 (59¢) Sunbright and Prado Red Sunflowers (2440-2444); 2012 (61¢) Common and Louis Lorraine Daylilies (2526-2530); 2013 (63¢) Yellow Bird and Eskimo Magnolias (2621-2625); and 2014 (85¢) Konrad Henkel and Maid of Honour hybrid tea Roses (2727-2731).

In the nine years Spring Flowers have been part of Canada’s annual stamp program, the stamps have been issued between March 1 and March 13 every year but 2014.

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A listing of popular topics on Canadian stamps identifies more than 165 floral designs in the past 53 years, beginning with a 1962 5¢ stamp (Scott 399) for the 100th anniversary of British Columbia’s capital Victoria, “the City of Gardens.” But 2015 appears to be the first time that pansies have had the honor.

“Pansy” is a corruption of the French word pensée (thought, as in the wistful reminiscence of a cherished, absent lover), adapted into English in the 1400s, when it came to be regarded as a floral token of remembrance. The bloom has also been called “heart’s ease.”

According to Canada Post, the pansy as we know it today has an important historic connection through Newfoundland, Britain’s oldest colony and Canada’s newest province: “It was British naval officer and former Newfoundland governor Lord James Gambier and his gardener William Thompson who, after crossing various species of viola with Viola tricolor, eventually produced the familiar pansy in 1839.”

Why does the soil of Canada yield so many postal blossoms? Flowers are beautiful. People love flowers. Flowers stamps sell. They are a simple, satisfying answer to what may be the top stamp question postal clerks hear year-round: “Do you have any of those pretty ones?”

Issued early each year, Canada’s Spring Flowers stamps are well-themed and timed for use in mailing out wedding invitations, too.

Adapted from artwork by first-time stamp illustrator Laurie Koss, the Pansies were designed by Marci Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E Design Communication and printed in six-color offset lithography by Lowe-Martin.

The vertically formatted booklet stamps have serpentine die cuts on all sides, while the coil stamps have horizontal serpentine die cuts between stamps and vertical die-cut straight edges.

Printing quantities for the issue are 6 million booklet stamps, 6 million coil stamps and 135,000 souvenir sheets.

The booklet of 10 stamps is Canada Post item 413975111, the coil of 50 is item 403975117, and the souvenir sheet is item 403975145. Pansy coils also are available in strips of 4 stamps (403975118) and 10 stamps (403975119).

Canada Post will service 11,000 official first-day covers franked with both of the booklet stamps, with a pictorial floral postmark from Pansy, Manitoba, a barely populated rural crossroad 42 miles south-southeast of Winnipeg, and slightly closer than that to the northern border of Minnesota. The booklet stamps FDC is Canada Post item 413975131.

Canada Post products are available at its online store. Stamps and FDCs will be 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.

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