CP’s Star Trek journey ‘hailing on all frequencies’

Canada Post’s Star Trek 50th Anniversary series is a hit with Canadian collectors as well as our friends south of the border.

This was evident at the World Stamp Show hosted in New York City this past May. Canada Post’s Star Trek-themed display was captivating. While the booth dwarfed in size compared to its neighbour – the United States Postal Service (USPS) – the large image of the USS Enterprise, towering above the Canada Post display with its magnetic draw, made it difficult to resist.

It was by far the most attractive display on the massive convention floor at the Javits Center, where the eight-day World Stamp Show drew tens of thousands of people from across the world. And the booth was buzzing with customers any time I was there, or even walking by. It was, indeed, a huge success for Canada Post.

I was extremely delighted for the stamp services folks at Canada Post when I received my July 2016 issue of The American Philatelist, the monthly journal of the American Philatelic Society. The cover was devoted to Canada Post’s Star Trek series, with the header: “Stamp Collecting Basics With Canada’s New Issue.”

Inside, writer Jeff Stage provides extensive coverage – spanning more than 12 pages – on Canada Post’s “philatelic blockbuster.”

“Whether you actually purchase modern postal products or not, Canada Post’s Star Trek 50th Anniversary issue certainly takes us on a philatelic voyage of exploration,” Stage writes. “Fasten yourself in as we set a course. Warp speed, Mr. Sula.”

Stage takes his readers on an extensive journey in detailing the numerous products released as part of the series. He also explains the design and production process – especially for the lenticular stamps – as well as the creative marketing strategy Canada Post used to whet collectors’ appetites before the series was officially released on May 5.

The best comment comes in Stage’s conclusion on the Star Trek series.

“Those critical of a stamp issue designed to create a buzz and big sales might not be looking at the full stamp universe,” he writes. “Creating a cash cow or big ticket-seller can mean much more than a revenue stream. Big-time college football teams can generate huge revenue, some of which then supports students and athletes in other programs that cost more money than they make. A major Hollywood studio, generating a big box office from a summer or Christmas release, can then reinvest in small films that won’t pay for themselves. Things are similar with a stamp issue.”

I totally agree.

Here, back on Canadian soil, the Star Trek series also opened the creative minds of a group of Ottawa high school students. As reported by Jesse Robitaille in Canadian Stamp News, dated July 12–25, 2016, we read about how teacher Irving Osterer engaged his Focus program students in creating a special poster commemorating the first Star Trek episode.

Thanks to the “serendipitous” timing of the Canada Post series, Osterer was also able to elevate the poster to a higher learning opportunity.

“We were able to bring our posters to a boardroom in the Riverside Drive head office (of Canada Post), put stamps in the appropriate places, and cancel them with a special Vulcan, Alberta postmark.”

And thanks to Jim Phillips and his stamp services team, the students were also taught about the “highly specialized and expensive” lenticular printing process.

“Canada Post picked up the cost of the stamps for our project, and also presented each student with an OFDC (official first-day cover) of the lenticular stamps. They did a terrific job with our students,” Osterer said.

As the Star Trek catch-phrase goes, “Hailing on all frequencies,” Canada Post has done a commendable job in engaging collectors and Star Trek fans, and that’s a plus for the philatelic community.

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