By Fred Baumann
A formidable fleet of philatelic items and premium-priced Canada Post keepsakes has assembled for the release of Star Trek Year 2, Canada Post’s code name for its April 27 sequel to the widely promoted and creatively crafted stamps issued May 5 last year (Scott 2911-2922).
The 2016 set celebrated the 50th anniversary of characters who made famous the original TV series that debuted in the United States and Canada in September 1966.
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This year, what Canada Post is calling Star Trek Year 2 chiefly depicts the commanders, their vessels, and their arch-nemeses of the best-known film adaptation of the original series and four of its TV spin-offs on five die-cut, self-adhesive permanent-rate stamps paying Canada’s domestic letter rate (currently 85¢).
These begin with a stamp honoring USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) commanded by Admiral James T. Kirk (played by Montreal-born William Shatner, the principal Canadian connection to the series), vs. the “genetically enhanced superhuman” Khan Noonian Singh, from the 1982 motion picture Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Khan was reprised in the film by actor Ricardo Montalban 15 years after he had first played that role on Space Seed, a 1967 episode from the original 1966-69 Star Trek television series.
The other new Star Trek stamps feature comparably combative pairings.
Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was memorable at the helm of the USS Enterprise-D (NCC-1701-D) in the second TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94), and four subsequent feature films.
The nemesis portrayed on the stamp is in fact Picard himself, transformed to serve as Locutus, a servile emissary of the Borg in its attempts to assimilate and dehumanize the rest of the Enterprise crew. The Borg used control by electromechanical implants to turn organic beings into drones to do their bidding, exterminating all other life in their conquests.
In the third TV series (1993-99), Capt. Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) commanded Deep Space 9, an orbital docking station previously controlled by Dukat (Marc Alaimo) for the Alpha Quadrant’s Cardassian Union, a dangerous military dictatorship bent on occupying and brutally ruling neighboring occupied planets, including nearby Bajor.
Star Trek Voyager, the fourth TV series (1999-2001) also was named for its vessel, Voyager (NCC-74656), helmed by Capt. Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). On its first mission, according to the StarTrek.com database, a “powerful alien technology” pulled Voyager and “a renegade Maquis vessel” in the distant Delta quadrant, 70,000 light-years from Earth, making returning home the principal ongoing mission of the series.
The adversary pictured on her stamp is the ruthless Borg Queen (Alice Krige), who had overseen Picard’s conversion to Locutus. In the final episode of the series, Janeway destroys the Borg Queen.
The fifth series — Enterprise (2001-05), later changed to Star Trek: Enterprise to make clear the connection to the original series — was the origin story of faster-than-light warp drive and the United Federation of Planets, starring Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) commanding the first starship Enterprise (NX-01).
Star Trek: Enterprise also portrayed the first interstellar conflict between humanity and aliens. The Xindi were creatures of six races from a single distant planet that attacked Earth, personalized in the series by reptilian Commander Dolim (Scott MacDonald), whom Archer slays.
Rounding out the issue are two very different stamps depicting very different but memorable spacecraft from the science fiction series. The first is a permanent-rate coil stamp picturing the Enterprise’s small but versatile Class F shuttle Galileo (NCC-1701⁄7), printed in a coil of 50 stamps, available with a special Enterprise coil dispenser in the shape of a Canada Post mailbox.
Collectors can also buy coil strips of four or 10. As was true of the self-adhesive backing liners on last year’s Star Trek coil stamps, “Famous quotes from the series are revealed on the back of the coil.” Only 300,000 were printed.
The second is an oversized $5 stamp picturing the Borg Cube, an intimidating colossus measuring three kilometers on each side. Embossed, debossed, and enhanced with foil for a 3D effect, this oversized stamp is available only in the prestige booklet and as one in a set of seven official 2017 Star Trek first day covers.
Designed by Kosta Tsetsekas and Adrian Horvath of Signals Design Group in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Post says “these stamps share a similar look to those issued in 2016, with a more modern feel.”
According to Horvath, “The ships, the captains and, especially, the villains give these stamps more drama.”
The five commemoratives will be sold as permanent-rate, self-adhesive stamps in booklets of 10 with a cover design showing the five commanders rendered as though beaming down. These were printed in four-color offset lithography by Lowe-Martin.
Also available will be a $7.35 pane of five perforated stamps with moisture-activated gum in various denominations: the Kirk stamp remains at permanent rate (85¢), while the other stamps are $2.50 (Picard), $1.80 (Sisko), $1.20 (Janeway) and $1 (Archer). These were printed in five-color offset lithography by Lowe-Martin.
The Star Trek prestige booklet from Canada Post contains all the stamp designs in perforated format in two panes with different layouts, with the commemoratives denominated the same as the perforated stamps in the pane of five, as well as the $5 Borg Cube stamp.
The prestige booklet sells for $21.95 Canadian (approximately US$16). Each pane in the booklet shows different full-color scenes from the television series and includes text describing the action in English and in French. Canada Post printed 75,000 prestige booklets.
Collectors also can obtain uncut press sheets containing six of the five-stamp panes from the prestige booklet (5,000 produced).
Also available are sets of first-day covers (15,000 produced) and picture postal cards. The seven first-day covers display the seven permanent-rate stamps with full-color photo illustrations as cachets, plus popular Star Trek: Voyager character Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) depicted as a Borg drone on the $5 Borg Cube FDC, and a cutaway view of the shuttle on the permanent-rate Galileo FDC. All first-day covers are postmarked in Vulcan, Alberta, with the exception of the Montreal-postmarked Kirk FDC.
The five picture postal cards are franked with the Star Trek franchise’s delta logo, the title of the movie or series, and five images adapted from top-rated moments or episodes in each, with imprinted versions of each of the five stamps depicting a commander.
The booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps is Canada Post product No. 414038111, the coil of 50 is 404040117, the special mailbox-shaped Enterprise coil dispenser is 342086, available for $5.99 Canadian. A coil strip of 10 is 404040119, and a strip of four is 404040118.
The perforated five-stamp souvenir sheet is 404039107, the prestige booklet is 413039111, the 19-inch-by-26-inch uncut press sheet of six panes of five perforated stamps from the prestige booklet is 404039149 (5,000 printed), the set of seven first-day covers in a sturdy color folder is 414013131 (15,000 printed), and the set of five postal cards is 262466 (no quantity printed was specified).
These items are available on the Canda Post's website, and by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or 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.