Canada celebrates the year of the ram in the seventh set of stamps in its current Lunar New Year series. Two stamps, souvenir sheets and a booklet were issued Jan. 8.
Also called the year of the sheep and the year of the goat, the year of the ram will begin Feb. 19, 2015, and will end Feb. 7, 2016.
One Canada Year of the Ram stamp is a nondenominated permanent stamp, and the other is a $2.50 international letter-rate stamp.
The permanent stamp is always worth the basic domestic letter rate (currently 85¢). It was issued in panes of 25 with moisture-activated adhesive.
The $2.50 stamp was issued with moisture-activated adhesive in a souvenir sheet of one, and as a self-adhesive in a booklet of six that is designed to fold up and fit in a wallet.
A two-stamp pane called a “transitional souvenir sheet” contains the $2.50 Year of the Ram stamp and a $1.85 Year of the Dragon stamp with the design from 2013 (Scott 2600).
Canada Post began its first Lunar New Year series in 1997 with a 45¢ Year of the Ox stamp (Scott 1630). The first 12-year cycle concluded in 2008 with the Year of the Rat stamp and souvenir sheet (2257-2258).
The second and current cycle started in 2009 with a Year of the Ox stamp and souvenir sheet (Scott 2296-2297).
Following the format of the other souvenir sheets in this series, the $2.50 Year of the Ram stamp is in a long souvenir sheet measuring 40 millimeters by 140mm.
Helene L’Heureux designed the Year of the Ram stamps and souvenir sheets using illustrations by Susan Scott. The calligraphy is by Ngan Siu-Mui.
The design of the permanent stamp depicts three symbolic rams on a red background with floral motifs on their torsos and geometric patterns on their curved horns.
The word “ram” appears in English in the upper right with the French “belier” in two lines below it. The “P” inscription is inside a symbolic maple leaf at lower right.
A single ram in green, also with a floral motif on its body and a pattern on its horns, is featured on the $2.50 stamp. The “ram” and “belier” inscriptions are in the lower left, and the $2.50 denomination in the upper left.
Lowe-Martin printed the permanent and $2.50 Year of the Ram stamps by seven-color offset lithography, plus embossing and foil stamping.
The souvenir sheet of two was printed using seven-color offset lithography and embossing, and the transitional souvenir sheet by five-color lithography and embossing.
Printing quantities are 120,000 panes of 25 permanent stamps, 180,000 self-adhesive $2.50 booklet stamps, 300,000 souvenir sheets of one $2.50 stamp, and 115,000 souvenir sheets of two. Canada Post also is offering 11,000 uncut press sheets of 12 international-rate souvenir sheets each.
Canada Post will service 32,000 official first-day covers bearing the permanent stamp (Canada Post item 403970121) and 36,000 FDCs for the souvenir sheet (item 403970144). The FDCs will bear Richmond Hill, Ontario, postmarks.
The pane of 25 permanent stamps is Canada Post item 403970107, the booklet of six international stamps is item 413970111, the souvenir sheet of one is item 403970145, and the souvenir sheet of two is item 403971145. The uncut press sheet is item 403970149.
In addition to the stamps and souvenir sheets, Canada Post issued two postal cards featuring the same imprinted stamp designs as the permanent stamp and the $2.50 stamp, with enlarged versions of the designs on the picture side. The postal cards sell for $2.50 each.
The two postal cards are items No. 262426 (permanent stamp design) and 262427 ($2.50 stamp design).
In its Details magazine, Canada Post mentions three famous Canadians born in previous years of the ram who also have been honored on stamps: singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, born Nov. 7, 1943 (Scott 2221b, 2222b); actress Fay Wray, known for her role in the 1933 version of the film King Kong, born Sept. 7, 1907 (2153b, 2154c); and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, born Oct. 18, 1919 (1909).
The announcement in the magazine says of the qualities of people born during the year of the ram: “Those born under the influence of the eighth creature in the zodiac of lunar New Year are caring, sensitive (sometimes to the extreme), artistic, fashion savvy and intuitive. They long for beauty, to see the world, and many have the special talent of being able to turn challenges into opportunities — qualities shared, to some degree, among the Canadian Rams we just mentioned.”
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.