Collectors in ‘disbelief,’ ‘disappointed’ with abrupt end to Picture Postage

Customizable stamp, postcard program to end Sept. 1 after 22 years

Canada Post has announced its plans to scrap Picture Postage later this summer, giving collectors and other customers six weeks to submit designs before the program ends after 22 years.

Since 2000, Picture Postage has allowed collectors and non-collectors alike to create personalized stamps and postcards with custom images for use on mail in Canada. Often used by collectors to mark personal events and by show organizers as souvenirs for upcoming events, the program also had clients in various small towns and businesses, non-profit organizations and charities, historical societies, museums and the general public.

A July 18 press release from Canada Post – titled “Picture Postage program update” – explained the Crown corporation will end the program on Sept. 1 “after careful consideration.”

“While relatively unique when it was introduced in 2000, numerous options are now available online for users to create customized items,” added the press release.

“This is a timely change as we continue to focus our efforts on telling powerful Canadian stories through the national stamp program. Our stamp program is uniquely positioned to showcase the important people, places, events, and achievements that have helped shape our country. Telling these stories is a tremendous responsibility, but one we embrace as Canada’s postal service.”

Canada Post will process requests for new Picture Postage products until the program winds down on Sept. 1.

As of press time, Canada Post did not respond to further questions about the program, its potential successes and failures plus its upcoming cancellation and instead redirected CSN to the July 18 press release.

“My first reaction was disbelief,” said Peter Lepold, the publicity chair of the Kelowna & District Stamp Club in Kelowna, B.C. “Why would Canada Post cancel the Picture Postage program? I always thought Canada Post made money selling Picture Postage stamps.”

A prolific issuer of Picture Postage stamps, Lepold reached his 200th design this summer with rush orders for his annual – and final – Ogopogo stamp plus another one marking the program’s end. He also uses similar custom-stamp programs offered by postal services in other countries, including Austria, Lichtenstein and Germany, where those offerings have recently expanded with different formats such as souvenir sheets.

“My second reaction,” Lepold said, “was …

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