After earning 63 per cent of the popular vote in the third round of the 2017 Stamp Madness contest, Canada now faces New Zealand in the final matchup of the bracket-style tournament held by the American Philatelic Society (APS).
The two contemporary issues from Canada and New Zealand—both issued in 1946, shortly following the Second World War—have reached the championship round of the inaugural Stamp Madness contest. The finalists came out on top of 14 other stamps in three previous rounds through Facebook and Twitter.
The public is being encouraged to vote for either Canada or New Zealand via this link before the contest ends at midnight on April 10. Anyone voting in this final round will be eligible for philatelic prizes, and a random winner will be drawn from those who voted for the winning stamp. Following this final round of voting, prizes will also be awarded for the APS’ “Predict the Winner Preview” contest.
Organizers said both the Canada and New Zealand stamps “overcame some negative odds to reach the finals, including both scoring triumphs over entries from the United States.”
The stamp’s image was engraved by Warrell Hauck, whose work is seen on a number of Canadian stamps and at least one Canadian banknote, the 1954 Canadian Landscape Series issued by the Bank of Canada.
The stamp was designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz, who’s also remembered for designing the famed 50-cent Bluenose stamp (SC #158) issued on Jan. 8, 1929. Schwartz’s work can be seen on many of the stamps issued by the Post Office Department from 1927 through the mid 1950s.
The design of the Eastern Farm stamp is based on a photograph by L.W. White, an early Canadian photographer; however, according to the 1964 book Canada’s Postage Stamps, the scene is actually a composite from four photographs. While the image of the farm house to the right is from a photograph taken in Eastern Ontario, the barn to the left is from a photograph taken in Western Ontario; the silo is from another photograph taken in Central Ontario; and the ploughmen and horses are from a fourth photograph taken in Quebec.
New Zealand’s stamp was issued as part of its postal service’s Peace and Victory series, which was an 11-stamp set produced by Bradbury Wilkinson. The series’ nine-cent stamp—titled “A Spirit of Thankfulness”—defeated a Swiss stamp in the first round, after which time it managed what organizers are calling a “somewhat stunning victory over the pre-tournament favourite,” the 1962 Project Mercury stamp issued by the U.S. In another close matchup, New Zealand narrowly defeated Laos’ 1958 Elephants stamp.
CANADA’S JOURNEY TO THE FINAL FOUR
One stamp will be crowned champion after this final round of voting. The original 16 stamps represented four regions, including the Americas, Europe, the Pacific, and Afro-India. All stamps from the regions of Europe and Afro-India were eliminated during the second round, and only stamps from the Americas and the Pacific remain.
In the previous round, Canada’s 1946 Eastern Farm stamp defeated the 1964 World’s Fair stamp issued by the U.S. In the second round, Canada topped India’s 1949 Taj Mahal stamp, and in the opening round, we bested Chad’s 1964 Potter stamp.
CHOOSING 16 STAMPS
According to the APS, some guidelines were used in choosing the original 16 stamps for the contest.
These guidelines include:
• featuring only standard postage stamps (no airmail, express mail, revenue stamps, etc.);
• using no specific images of individuals (kings, queens, scientists, musicians, etc.);
• avoiding the use of “masterwork” paintings and photos (although statuary and buildings were allowed);
• attempting to capture diverse designs, colours, topics, and countries (although only independent countries, no colonies, were allowed);
• using only common stamps and no rarities; and
• using stamps from after the Second World War through 1970.