OTD: Martin Frobisher returns to England

On today’s date in 1577, Martin Frobisher returned to England from his second voyage on the Arctic with 200 tons of supposed gold ore; this iron pyrite (commonly called “fool’s gold”) was used to construct a laneway, giving rise to the myth of London’s gold-paved streets.

In 1963, Canada’s Post Office Department commemorated Frobisher on a five-cent ultramarine stamp (Scott #412) printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co. Designed by Emprum Philip Weiss and based on a painting by Cornelis Ketel, the stamp had a print run of 27,020,000.

As an interesting aside, Maple Leaves, the journal of the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain, wrote in August 1963: “A special commemorative postage stamp honouring Sir Martin Frobisher will he released for sale on August 21st instead of July 29th as previously announced. This was made public today by the Honourable Azellus Denis, Postmaster General. The issue dates of two other stamps will be affected by the change. A stamp to mark the Postal Bicentenniel [sic], originally scheduled for release on August 23rd, will now be released on September 25th. The new regular 15 cents air mail stamp which was to be released on September 30th will be issued on October 30th. Mr. Denis explained that he had set back the release date of the stamp to August 21st in order that the Frobisher stamp could be placed on sale at the time of ‘Passage 7,’ a proposed motor vessel trip which was to enter many areas opened originally by Frobisher’s explorations. The voyage has now been postponed until 1964. The Postmaster General explained that cancellation of the voyage came too late to let the stamp schedule stand as previously announced.”

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