World Stamps

By Fred Baumann and Denise McCarty

Canada’s new Queen and revalued UNESCO Sites permanent definitives

January 12, 2016 05:52 PM

  • On Jan. 11, Canada issued this permanent domestic-rate (85¢) definitive showing a black-and-white portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, said by British photographer David Bailey to focus on her “very kind eyes with a mischievous glint’.”
  • Canada’s new Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp has 82 characters of microprinting beneath the pearls she wears to tell postal patrons who she is — a first for a Canadian definitive.
  • Ten-stamp booklets of the new Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamps use silhouettes of corgis, the queen’s favorite canine companions, to show ink color and registration in the selvage at bottom-right.
  • Canada Post issued five UNESCO World Heritage Sites permanent domestic-rate (85¢) definitives in booklets and souvenir sheets Jan. 11. The designs were modified from a 2014 issue with $1.20 and $2.50 denominations to pay postage to the United States and international addresses.
  • The 2014 versions of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites stamps were commemoratives with denominations and inscriptions giving the place name. On the new nondenominated definitive stamps, the place names are provided in microprinting hidden in the design. In this example (right), the microprinting can be seen above the trees in the upper left of the design.

By Fred Baumann and Denise McCarty

As the saying goes, “The difference is in the details.” On Canada Post’s six new definitive stamps, the difference is in the very tiny details — the microprinting.

Canada Post issued six definitive stamps Jan. 11: one featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and five showing UNESCO sites in Canada.

Also, as previously reported in the Jan. 25 issue of Linn’s, page 10, the permanent domestic-rate (85¢) Year of the Monkey stamp was issued Jan. 11. The $2.50 international-rate Year of the Monkey stamp is to be issued  Feb. 1.

The new definitives are all permanent domestic-rate stamps.

The Queen Elizabeth II booklet definitive shows a black-and-white portrait taken by influential British fashion and portrait photographer David Bailey, who first came to fame for his celebrity photos of the famous and the notorious in England in the 1960s.

According to Canada Post, the photograph was taken at Buckingham Palace in 2014 to commemorate the queen’s 88th birthday.

Canada Post described the photo as showing “Her Majesty in a dress chosen by Angela Kelly, her personal assistant and senior dresser. The Queen is wearing pearls and smiling easily.”

In news reports in 2014 Bailey said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman.”

As shown enlarged nearby, a long string of microprinting following the contours of her pearl necklace in the portrait spells out “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada / Sa Majeste la reine Elizabeth II, reine du Canada.”

Designed by Steven Slipp of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, these Queen Elizabeth II self-adhesive stamps measure 20.25 millimeters by 23.25mm and have die-cut perforations.

They were printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using four-color lithography in booklets of 10.

Four silhouettes of the queen’s favorite dog breed, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, serve as color registration marks in the bottom-right selvage of the booklet pane.

Canada Post’s official first-day cover bears a cancellation of Victoria, British Columbia, which Canada Post points out is “the namesake city of Her Majesty’s long-reigning relative.”

Booklets of 10 of the stamps are Canada Post order number 111227, and the official FDC, priced at $1.85, is 411227131.

Also on Jan. 11, Canada marked another philatelic first with the return of old designs in new denominations.

Five sites pictured on $1.20 and $2.50 UNESCO World Heritage booklet and souvenir-sheet stamps issued May 16, 2014 (Scott 2739-2744), returned reincarnated as  permanent-rate stamps.

These stamps picture the Landscape of Grand Pre, Ontario’s Rideau Canal, SGang Gwaay on Anthony Island off the coast of British Columbia, Alberta’s Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and Nova Scotia’s Old Town Lunenburg.

However, unlike on the 2014 versions of the stamps, finding the location featured in the design takes a bit of searching.

On the 2014 stamps, the place name was inscribed above the maple leaf and “Canada” in the lower part of the design. In the new designs, microprinting is the only key to the place name.

As an example, the nearby illustration shows the Old Town Lunenburg stamp of 2014 on the left and the new definitive stamp on the right.

On the new stamp, the microprinting “Old Town Lunenburg/Le Vieux Lunenburg (NS)” can be found written on top of the trees near the upper right.

On the other stamps, the microprinting appears in these locations: at the base of the mountains on the left of the Landscape of Grand Pre stamp, on top of the canal boat on the Rideau Canal, reading up on the carved pole on the left of the SGang Gwaay, and below the mountains on the right of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

Canada Post told Linn’s that the inscriptions were included on the 2014 versions of the stamps because they were commemorative stamps, larger in size and bearing $1.20 and $2.50 denominations intended for mail to the United States and international destinations so “it would be nice if foreign potential visitors had the [place] name.”

As for the new stamps, Canada Post noted that they were smaller in size and “everyday definitive stamps used for mailing.”

Canada Post added there was no room for the name and “it is all about a nice small stamp with a nice image of a Canadian site.” In addition, the microprinting serves as a security feature.

Lara Minja of Lime Design based in Victoria designed the stamps using stock photographs.

As on the 2014 stamps, these “P”-rate booklet stamps are self-adhesive and die-cut to simulate perforations, and the souvenir sheets appear to have moisture-activated gum and conventional perforations.

The 10-stamp booklet, Canada Post order number 111225, contains two of each of the five different stamps, while the 30-stamp booklet (111226) contains six of each.

The stamps have a rounded edge in the upper left corner and the Canadian flag in the lower left.

These domestic-rate stamps, measuring 24mm by 20mm, also are available in a five-stamp souvenir sheet (411225145), a souvenir sheet official FDC canceled in Ottawa, Ontario (411225144, price $5.25), and five prepaid international-rate picture postal cards, ordering details for which are not yet available.

In announcing the 2014 versions of the stamps, Canada Post supplied the following descriptions of the sites shown:

“The Old Town Lunenburg stamp showcases distinctive 18th and 19th century European-influenced architecture. And of course it is the home of the famous ship, the Bluenose II;

“The Grand Pre landscape stamp demonstrates 17th century farming techniques. It is also a place of reflection and remembrance of the Acadian deportation;

“The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump image illustrates hunting techniques of Plains People over thousands of years;

“The site of SGang Gwaay commemorates 10,000 years of connection between land, sea and Haida culture. It includes remains of 19th century houses and memorial and mortuary poles;

“The Rideau Canal stamp honours the oldest continuously operated canal in North America which opened in 1832. The Rideau Canal is one of the first canals designed specifically for steam-powered vessels.”

Canada Post products are available online. 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 also are available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.