By Molly Goad
One of the world’s oldest surviving animal species will glide onto a Canada Post five-stamp issue available July 13.
Five different sharks will be featured on the new set. All of the stamps are nondenominated, permanent stamps. The emblem with a “P” inside a maple leaf indicates that they pay the basic domestic rate, currently 85¢.
The unveiling ceremony for the Sharks stamps took place July 12, the day before the stamps were issued, at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Sharks stamps are being issued in a booklet of 10 (two of each design) and in a souvenir sheet with the five designs se-tenant (side-by-side).
The booklet stamps are self-adhesive, while those in the souvenir sheet have moisture-activated adhesive.
The designs also differ slightly in regards to the positioning of the sharks in the two formats.
A single stamp, shown digitally removed from a booklet, has the white shark breaking through the die cuts. On the moisture-activated stamps from the souvenir sheets, the sharks stay within the perforations.
Details, Canada Post’s magazine for collectors, said: “Canada’s coastal waters serve as a permanent or temporary home to nearly 30 shark varieties. The five we’ve chosen to highlight in this issue, designed by Andrew Perro and illustrated by Julius Csotonyi, have their own unique story.”
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First, the endangered white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) inhabits Atlantic waters and occasionally travels to the west coast of Canada, making rare visits around Haida Gwaii (the archipelago formerly called Queen Charlotte Islands) when water temperatures are warmer than usual.
Known more commonly as the great white shark, this species is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. Many people know it from the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley. and 1975 film Jaws.
According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the species is responsible for the most unprovoked attacks on humans around the world.
Canada Post previously pictured a great white shark on a 45¢ commemorative stamp, part of a Salt Water Fish set, issued in 1997 (Scott 1641).
The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is native to Canadian waters and can grow up to 30 feet long or more on a diet of plankton and other tiny organisms. It is the second largest fish, with the whale shark being the largest (46 feet).
According to Details, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has labeled the species endangered in the Pacific region and a special concern in the Atlantic.
The blue shark (Prionace glauca) makes its home in the Atlantic. Blue sharks have large litters of 25 to more than 100 pups, and feed primarily on small fish and squid.
Once considered a special concern by COSEWIC, the blue shark is no longer considered at risk.
The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) can live longer than any other vertebrate on Earth — more than 400 years. However, it is seldom observed as it inhabits the depths of the cold waters on the Atlantic side of the Arctic.
The final species featured on Canada’s Sharks issue is the shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus). The fastest swimming shark, it reaches speeds of 30 mph or more. An average adult is about 10 feet long and weighs 132 to 298 pounds.
Lowe-Martin printed the stamps by four-color offset lithography.
A total of 250,000 booklets were printed (Canada Post order number 414087111). The stamps measure 28.8 millimeters by 28.8mm.
The souvenir sheet (404087145) measures 122mm by 78mm, and a total of 85,000 were printed.
The selvage of the sheet includes the names of the printer, designer and illustrator; symbolic sharks in four colors; and a large image of a great white.
Also available are 7,000 first-day covers (404087144) franked with the souvenir sheet and bearing Vancouver, B.C., cancellations. The blue shark image is depicted in the cachet.
Canada Post has also produced 1,500 uncut press sheets (404087149).
The stamps and FDCs are available at the Canada Post 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.