12-penny black nets $225,000

Although 51,000 were printed, only 1,510 had been sold by 1857 when the remainder were recalled and destroyed. Printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, the 12-penny black was part of Canada’s first series of postage stamps. The design was based on a portrait of a young Queen Victoria by Alfred Edward Chalon. Victoria was 32 years of age at the time the stamp was ordered, but the portrait had been executed years before, when Victoria was just 18. It is believed that approximately 100 examples remain. Continue reading →

The deets in Details target a very specific audience

Here in the hobby we are pretty well informed and have the chance to look at the whole program. Most Canadians only see a small part of the picture. Later this year, in the town where I live, there will be some events to honour Laura Secord. It makes sense since I live just a short walk from the place where she met with the native warriors and British soldiers, and even closer to the site of the battle that followed. There is a good chance that the stamp showing Secord will get some play. I know if I ran the local post office I’d be selling special covers and cancels whenever I got the chance. Continue reading →

Regiment among war heroes honoured on new Canadian stamps

April 9 will see the launch of a stamp honouring the Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment (PWOR), based in Kingston, Ont. The regiment was formed in 1863, during a great Canadian militia reorganization, from seven previously independent companies. The regiment was first deployed in 1866, when it was called out first to the Niagara area, and later to Cornwall, Ont., to deter Fenian raids. In 1870 members participated in the federal expedition to Manitoba and later in 1885 the regiment served in the North West Rebellion. Continue reading →

Bidding at big-time sales will be telling

All of this means that trying to predict the stamp market is a bit of a guessing game. A year ago it seemed as if the top end of the market had entered hibernation and most rarities would be off the market for some time while owners waited for a better time to sell. More recently, we have seen a couple of high-value sales, and I expect that we will be hearing about a few more over the summer. Does that mean that collectors are opening their wallets, or does it mean that owners have stopped waiting and are testing the waters? Continue reading →

Brigham Auctions returns with blockbuster sale

Verge said the sale will include unique philatelic treasures that have not been on the market for several decades. The collection will be sold in a series of sales over several years. “These heritage items and the historical material should entice new collectors and investors interested in starting a new collection of Canada,” Verge said. Brigham explained that after exploring other venues, “I feel comfortable in selling my material through my own firm since I believe that there are too few auction houses that serve collectors and exhibitors first, something Brigham Auctions has always done.” Born and educated in Toronto, Brigham has been collecting worldwide for more than five decades and has specialized in Canada since 1981. Continue reading →

Mailman’s role minimized in the global village

Now in spite of what my children may think, I was not alive 100 years ago. But, I am old enough to remember a time when mail was different, very different. For one thing, if someone wanted to read an out-of-town newspaper, chances are they had it delivered by mail. I remember my father receiving copies of the Toronto and Montreal newspapers in the mailbox. They were delivered by a mailman – nobody ever heard the term “letter carrier” back then – who wore a very military uniform, complete with forage hat and cap badge. Back then the mail was royal, and the various letterboxes were mostly green with a very official coat of arms emblazoned on the front. Continue reading →

Falklands post office quick to salute Iron Lady

To date Margaret Thatcher is the first and only woman to have led a major political party in the U.K. and holding the office from 1979 to 1990, she served as British prime minister for the longest continuous period since Robert Jenkinson in the early 19th century. When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, then prime minister Thatcher responded to the attack by sending a task force to recapture the islands, despite the logistical problem of British forces operating 13,000 kilometres from home. At that time her Iron Lady nickname, first applied to her by a Soviet newspaper in 1976, stuck. Continue reading →

Canada Post’s decline will be stemmed by transformation

Sure, the corporation was piling up profits in the millions, but it had expenses in the billions. Canada Post is one of the largest businesses in Canada, and much of its costs are related to labour, and the cost of fulfilling its requirement to provide universal postal service to Canadians. Just a few years ago, when I was reviewing the annual report for the year 2010, I noticed that Canada Post, while making money then, was one bad week away from being in the red. Along came the labour problems of 2011, and that’s what happened. Lower volumes of mail, combined with an increase in the number of addresses to be served, means that it becomes increasingly less efficient to deliver mail. Continue reading →

Profit of $98M small comfort for Canada Post

Canada Post managed to turn a profit in 2012, but the profits are the result of non-cash adjustments to labour costs, and from operations. According to the Crown corporation’s annual report, $98 million in future sick leave and post-retirement health benefits were saved as a result of the new collective agreement reached in late 2012. That allowed for a one-time adjustment without which Canada Post would have posted a loss of $54 million in that year. The loss would have been tempered by profits from Canada Post’s other operations, such as Purolator, but the Canada Post group as a whole would still have posted a loss of $25 million. Continue reading →

Canada Post cuts will affect hobby, but collectors have a voice

The new forum is an effort by Canada Post to seek the views of average Canadians on how to transform the business in order to meet their current and future needs. Those average Canadians include members of the stamp-collecting community. You can participate in two ways. You can submit your comments on the Canada Post website (www.canadapost.ca) and click on “The Future of Canada Post,” or you can write to The Future of Canada Post, 2701 Riverside Dr., Suite N0800, Ottawa, ON K1A 0B1. Future generations of postal historians will be studying this time closely. It would be a shame if they concluded that the present generation of collectors didn’t speak their minds. Continue reading →

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