OTD: Province of Canada issues 12-pence Queen Victoria stamp

On today’s date in 1851, the Province of Canada issued its third ever postage stamp, the 12-pence Queen Victoria (Scott #3).

Similar in design to Scott #2, which depicts a portrait of Prince Albert rather than Queen Victoria, the 12-pence black was produced on laid paper without perforations, as was customary at this early point in the history of postage stamps.

Scott #3 is also extremely rare with only 51,000 printed by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, of New York. Because the stamps didn’t gain popularity – the paper was disliked by postal workers and the public – there was thought to be no demand for a 12-pence stamp. Both the three- and six-pence denominations were later re-issued on higher-quality “wove” paper, but the 12-pence saw no such re-issue.

Altogether, Scott #2 was in use for only six years, during which time only 1,450 of the stamps sold. The remaining were eventually destroyed, and it’s estimated only about 150 of these rare, 165-year-old stamps exist today.

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