Black History Month, Canadian Opera, Daisies coming next from Canada Post

A Permanent-rate stamp commemorating Mathieu Da Costa was issued recently by Canada Post as part of its Black History Month issue. This official first-day cover was cancelled in Tadoussac, Que.

Canada Post recently issued its annual Black History Month stamp, and this year’s commemoration focuses on a historical figure who continues to fascinate and confound scholars. Little is known about Mathieu Da Costa, but from the few records that remain, historians conclude he was a free man who earned a living as an interpreter for Europeans, who were trading with Indigenous people in the New World. Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, his connection to Canada came in 1608 – the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec – when Da Costa signed a contract to work for Pierre Dugua de Mons, a French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia. “While the full story of Mathieu Da Costa may never be known, interest in his life and in his unique connection with our country is a reminder of the values of respect, acceptance and diversity that Canadians cherish,” said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. With no portrait of Da Costa available, designer Andrew Perro and illustrator Ron Dollekamp worked closely with Canadian historical illustrator and storyboard artist Francis Back to ensure the period clothing and sailing ship reflect De Costa’s time and socio-economic milieu. As with all stamps issued in 2017, the Black History stamp will contain references to Canada’s sesquicentennial that are only visible with a black light. Continue reading →

Eastern Auctions features Garcelon Stamp Company

Lot 357 features a group of 34 Toronto geometric fancy cancelled covers and six postcards, all from 1870 to 1874. It has an estimate of $1,000.

The final chapter in a Canadian stamp story will come to a close Feb. 25, when Eastern Auctions sells the final inventory of the Garcelon Stamp Company of St. Stephen, N.B. The business, familiar to most old-time collectors, was formed in 1932 by Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he enjoyed buying and selling stamps more than collecting them. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon's business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell U.S. stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

New definitives seemed eerily familiar

The 2016 Canadian UNESCO heritage sites consisted of five stamps, including Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta.

In a case of déjà-stamp – you thought you’d seen them before – the UNESCO set of five P-denominated 85-cent definitives released on Jan. 11 repeat the designs of the five larger-format 2014 commemoratives that feature photos of World Heritage Sites in Canada. They are: Canyon cliffs at Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump, Alta.; the harbour at Lunenburg, N.S. and the Landscape of Grand Pré, N.S., on $1.20 stamps (Scott #2739a-41, 2739b-40 and 2739c-42); plus an evergreen forest at SGang Gwaay, B.C.; and the Rideau Canal beside Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on $2.50 stamps (SC #2739d-43, 2739e-44). The same photographs provided by Ward Isnor, François Gaudet, the Alberta government, Brodie Guy, and Tourism Ottawa were again used by Lime Design Inc. The Victoria, B.C. firm’s staff placed small red and white Maple Leaf flags in the bottom-left corners of the 2016 definitives, beside “CANADA” in red and white lettering, with the “P” symbol in black lettering within small white maple leaves to the right. Continue reading →

Collectors on the hunt for ‘experimental’ kiosk stamps

The first 18-digit code version of 2016 British-style horizontal artwork postage labels sold briefly from an experimental kiosk machine at a Vancouver specialty Canada Post centre when it opened Oct. 31.

There is a rush on by some dealers and collectors seeking a new series of illustrated “experimental” computer-vended Canadian postage labels. They are being sold from recently-installed dispensers installed on kiosks at three 24-hour “Concept Store” postal stations in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Like the previous program launched in late 2012 and cancelled seven months later, there was no official public announcement about the current stamps. Staff were notified internally about the “New print-on-demand postage service at concept stores!” via Canada Post Magazine in October. The colorful ‘print-on-demand’ issues, which feature five different landscape paintings by Canadian artists, first went on sale Oct. 31 at the new downtown Vancouver main post office.They resemble similar self-stick “Post & Go” labels sold in Great Britain for more than 10 years. Continue reading →

Saskatoon Stamp Club president talks ups and downs of the hobby

Saskatoon Stamp Club President Ernie Wlock at the 54th Annual Saskatoon Coin and Stamp Show and Sale, held Oct. 29-30 in Saskatoon, Sask. (Photo by Kathy Hartley)

Ernie Wlock, the long-time president of the Saskatoon Stamp Club (SSC), recently announced his plans to retire from his role as president by the end of the year. Wlock, who’s also a director-at-large with The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), is known around the country for his philatelic philosophies. Since joining the SSC as a member in 1991, he has encouraged its members to actively participate in the hobby as well as the club’s activities; and since becoming club president in 2004, he has made it his duty to promote the club and the hobby to non-members, too. “I’ve done what I wanted to do with the club,” said Wlock, whose two stints as SSC president ran from December 2004-November 2008 and December 2010 until next month, when he will step down. Continue reading →

PSSC honours long-time philatelist Peter Butler

Attendees of the 62nd Annual Banquet of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada congratulate society member and program co-ordinator Peter Butler on his philatelic achievements. On the right, is his wife Susan Butler.

Before a presentation by guest speaker John Walsh – owner of Walsh’s Philatelic Service in St. John’s, N.L., and publisher of the Newfoundland Specialized Stamp Catalogue and British North America Specialized Stamp Catalogue – there was an award presentation to PSSC Program Co-ordinator Peter Butler. Mike Walsh, publisher of Canadian Stamp News, presented Butler with the award, which was an oversized, framed front-page cover of CSN; however, instead of the usual news of the week, this front page included photographs of Butler alongside text from the various speeches given by his colleagues. Continue reading →

Both classic and modern material hotly contested in Halifax

The highest price of the October Eastern Auctions sale was paid for a set of die proofs of 1875 Registration stamps. The three lots, sold as a single item, realized more than $50,000.

Bidding was strong at two auctions held in Halifax in late October by Eastern Auctions Ltd. The first sale featured collections formed by the late Mel Baron. According to auctioneer Gary Lyon, demand from mail, phone, and floor bidders was strong throughout the sale, with many lots bringing prices well over the estimates. “The section of imperforates was the most complete ever offered,” he said. A set of tete-beche Admiral issue booklet panes sold for $40,250. An imperf pair of the two-cent green Arch issue realized $16,100, while a block of four of the three-cent Medallion die II realized $9,775. Modern issues included an imperforate four-cent Cameo coil strip that brought an astounding $24,150. Continue reading →

Learn the genuine to know the fakes, says longtime philatelic researcher

From left to right: Philatelic fake, forgery and counterfeit expert Ken Pugh, of Vernon, B.C., poses with Garfield Portch, Ian Robertson and Sid Mensinga of the West Toronto Stamp Club, for which he made a presentation on Oct. 18.

It takes careful thought and consideration, but there are ways – and thankfully machines – to detect even the most meticulously crafted philatelic fakes, forgeries and counterfeits. This was the message on Oct. 18, when more than 30 philatelists gathered at a meeting of the West Toronto Stamp Club for a presentation by Canada’s pre-eminent philatelic forgery expert. Attendees came from as far away as White Rock, B.C., for the first of three presentations led by Ken Pugh, the author of an 11-part series on the forgeries of British North America (BNA), among other areas of collecting. It’s somewhat alarming for a philatelist to hear: Pugh has 36 books in his series on the fakes and forgeries of BNA and Canada alone; that’s in addition to five books on Buenos Aires and others on Uruguay, Serbia and the Belgian Congo. Each book is between 50 and 150 pages, making for nearly 4,000 pages of reference material on philatelic fakes and forgeries from the world over. Continue reading →

Stamp art dazzles at Toronto’s First Post Office

Chen uses pencil crayons to produce her drawings, to which she also affixes cancelled stamps. They are postcard-sized pieces of art, according to one attendee.

Stamps and pencil crayons are helping one artist stay “on the bright side” of things. Oct. 6 was the opening reception for “On the Bright Side: The Stamp Art of Celine Chen,” a new exhibit hosted by the Town of York Historical Society at Toronto’s First Post Office (TFPO). It will be on display until Jan. 20, 2017. “Stamps, to most people, are something they almost cannot relate to anymore,” Chen said. “Honestly, when was the last time I mailed something out?” Nevertheless, her love for stamps – “especially the old ones that have been cancelled” – persists Continue reading →

Baron collection offers ‘great number of rarities’

One of the covers in a complete set of King George VI war effort stamps, with a block of four $1 destroyers and a warship cachet, sent by registered mail from Toronto terminal A.

For the first time in years, a seminal collection of first-day covers (FDCs) will go on the block when Eastern Auctions sells the Baron Collections on Oct. 28. Yohann Tanguay, of Eastern, said the collection was assembled over decades – as early as the late 1960s – and was then held and enjoyed by the family for many years before being consigned. “When you go through the binders, the comments were all put in using a typewriter,” Tanguay said. Melvin Baron was particularly interested in first-day covers. His collection formed the basis of a series of articles written with Stan Lum from 1977 to 1982. Continue reading →

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