We are just a few months away from 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We will probably use that title, since the official name of a 150th anniversary is sesquicentennial, not something that rolls off the tongue.
While the peak of the celebration will be tied to July 1, the government has already made it clear that this will be yearlong event.
For me, this brings back memories of 1967. I wasn’t very old then, but I remember it as a yearlong celebration. It was also, for many of us, the first time we started to express pride in being Canadians, and in Canada as a country.
From a collecting viewpoint, 1967 was marked by a pretty awesome coin set, and a not-so-spectacular response from what was then the government post office.
Since then, times have changed. We now have Canada Post, a Crown corporation with a much different attitude toward commemorative stamps. I’m sure we can expect to see lots of stamp issues in the coming year, but I’m excited about another option.
In 1967, the Canadian public and businesses embraced the sentiment, and the Maple Leaf emblem, with a passion. It seems that almost every Canadian community has a Centennial School, Centennial Park, or even Centennial Drive. Stamp collectors can choose from hundreds of covers that celebrated Canada in that year. While I doubt we will see many Sesquicentennial Schools being christened this year, I am sure there will be lots of commemorative events, with a huge difference: personalized postage.
Today, collectors don’t have to just wait for a commemorative issue or special cancel; they can create their own covers and design their own stamps, something that stamp collectors have taken to like fish to water.
That means we have endless possibilities for some really interesting Canada 150 covers.
From my perspective, I’d love to see collectors create issues of their own, and I would love to see a few clubs take up the challenge as well.
If we take personalized postage and combine it with the ability to make cachets, we have the potential for some really striking covers.
One reason I find this exciting is that home-grown commemorative covers, complete with personalized stamps, have incredible vitality. While the level of artistic execution can vary, they all reflect a collector’s passion for the subject and the hobby of stamp collecting. I’m sure that the pages of Canadian Stamp News in the coming year will highlight at least a few exciting amateur commemoratives.
Fifty years ago the postal landscape was very different. The average Canadian sent and received a lot of mail. Almost all business communications were done by mail, and mail was preferred even to long-distance telephone for personal communication.
Today, with the electronic media taking over almost all aspects of communication, mail has become somewhat special.
I don’t get a lot of mail at home anymore, and most of that doesn’t even have a stamp.
I’m looking forward to seeing some exciting collector issues. I think I may even make up a stamp of my own, just to send as a keepsake to friends and family.
How about you?