Magnolias bloom on new flower stamps

New releases for the new year honour great Canadians, celebrate our birth months and help us see the flowery side of life. First, on Feb. 1, Canada Post will issue two stamps for Black History Month. This year’s stamps will honour jazz great Oliver Jones and Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, the longtime lifeguard and swimming instructor at Vancouver’s English Bay. The two men are featured in more detail elsewhere in this issue, (See Richard Logan’s article on page 16). Designed by Lara Minja, of Lime Design Inc., the stamps were printed by Lowe-Martin. They are only available in booklets of 10 stamps, each booklet has just one type of stamp.

The Jones stamp is produced using four-colour lithography, while the Fortes stamp uses five colours. Both stamps are permanent-rate domestic issues. They are printed on Tullis Russell paper with general four-side tagging, and they are self-adhesive with simulated perforations. A total of 2.2 million stamps were produced. Both stamps are available in official first-day covers, (OFDCs). The Jones stamp has a Montreal, Que. cancel and the Fortes stamp has one from Vancouver, B.C.

More Magnolias
Once again, Canada Post will issue flower stamps featuring magnolias. The 2013 stamps will be issued in booklet and coil formats. The two species picked for this year were photographed at Ottawa’s Experiment Farm, where last year’s subjects were also photographed. In 2012 stamps honoured the common white and pink varieties; this year yellow and lavender flowers were picked. The stamps are issued in booklets of 10 stamps, coils of 50 stamps, a souvenir sheet of two stamps, strips of four or 10 coil stamps, and on an OFDC with both stamps.

All are produced by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper with six-colour lithography, and four-sided tagging. All have pressure-sensitive adhesive and simulated perforations except for the souvenir sheet, which has water-activated adhesive and 13+ perforations. A total of 14 million stamps were produced in booklets, 300,000 in coils and 170,000 on souvenir sheets. The stamp designs also appear on a stamp dispenser and reusable shopping bags. The OFDC is from Bloomfield, Ont., and has a March 4, 2013 date.

Age of Aquarius
In February, the final four stamps in the Greco-Roman zodiac series will be made available. The 2013 stamps feature the signs of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The 12-stamp program started in spring of 2011, with three stamps issued each year. As with the previous eight stamps, they will have the permanent rate used on virtually all domestic stamps. One interesting aspect of the three-year program, designed by Paprika, is that the 12 OFDCs, when placed together, form the wheel of the zodiac. Each one is also a different colour, running the entire spectrum from purple to red. The colours used on the covers are repeated on the stamps and are, according to Canada Post’s stamp design manager Alain Leduc, the colours that are traditionally associated with the various signs. Once again, the four stamps have cancels with the symbol of each sign, and a place name selected with a punning reference to the sign. The results are Bowsman, Man., for Sagittarius; Buckhorn, Ont., for Capricorn; Water Valley, Alta., for Aquarius; and Iqaluit, N.W.T., for Pisces. Iqaluit is an Inuktitut word meaning “place of many fish.” All are dated Feb. 20.

Lowe-Martin produced 2.25 million of each stamp in booklets of 10 stamps. They are also offered in panes of all 12 stamps, with 600,000 panes produced. The four stamps of this year were used for a souvenir sheet and a gutter product of four stamps. A total of 155,000 souvenir sheets and 3,500 gutter products were printed. The booklet stamps are self-adhesive with simulated perforations. The other stamps are water-activated with 13+ perforations. This year’s stamps are produced in seven-colour lithography on Tullis Russell paper, with four-side tagging. Canada Post has also created prepaid postcards using the stamp design.

More royals to come
Among the issues still to come out later in the year is another philatelic tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. In this case, the issue will be stamp commemorating the 60th anniversary of her coronation, tentatively scheduled for mid-May. Elizabeth II became Queen on Feb. 6, 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI. However the actual coronation was not held until June 2, 1953. At the time of her coronation Elizabeth II became the official Queen of Canada, ruling separate from her role in Britain. She was the first monarch to be so designated. The arrangement means that members of the Royal Family are expected to adopt Canadian symbols and use Canadian officials when in this country.

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