‘Popular demand’ pushes Canada Post to increase commemorative set’s print run

Canada Post issued a five-stamp ‘Snow Mammals’ set (10-stamp booklet shown) on Feb. 16. In April, Canada Post announced it increased the set’s print run from 300,000 to 400,000 booklets.

After reporting unexpectedly high interest in the recent commemorative “Snow Mammals” issue, Canada Post added another 100,000 booklets to the original print run. The Ottawa-based Canadian Bank Note Company (CBNC) was originally ordered to print 300,000 booklets of 10 stamps, with two of each of the set’s five designs. Featured on the cover of Canada Post’s February-March Details magazine, the stamps drew interest from both collectors and consumers, according to a statement from the Crown corporation. “These adorable animal stamps have attracted a lot of media attention and, thanks to popular demand, we’ve increased our print run from 300,000 to 400,000 booklets to make sure everyone can get their paws on them,” Jim Phillips, Canada Post director of stamp services, wrote in the latest edition of Details, published in early April. Continue reading →

Strong Canada section offering more than Admirals at next Eastern sale

A large registered cover mailed to Toronto on Nov. 17, 1875, from Fort Garry, Man., features a unique Large Queen and Small Queen combined franking. It’s estimated at $4,000-plus as Lot 395 of Eastern Auctions’ April 30-May 1 sale.

Eastern Auctions’ next major sale, slated for April 30-May 1, will take place across three sessions, but many bidders will have their eyes locked on the Canada section. In addition to a highly anticipated Admiral offering, described by auctioneers as one of three “standout areas,” the sale’s Canada section also includes a significant section of “Small Queen” postal history plus the Daniel Cantor Collection of King Edward VII material. “If you do collect or have even the slightest interest in these areas, we do welcome anyone to study the lots, read the descriptions, learn something and hopefully be successful in acquiring an item or two for their collection,” Yohann Tanguay, a stamp specialist and chief describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house, told CSN. Continue reading →

Sought-after Admirals to lead next Eastern sale

A mint block of four 1914 seven-cent sage green stamps from the long-running Admiral series is among the highlights of Eastern Auctions’ next major sale on April 30-May 1. The four-stamp block has a catalogue value of $12,000 as Lot 679.

A comprehensive 215-lot section of “Admirals,” named after the King’s Admiral of the Fleet uniform, will offer collectors the finest selection of examples in recent years on May 1. Several major rarities and high-quality mint never-hinged (NH) stamps from the long-running 20th-century series are slated to cross the block that day in the third and final session of Eastern Auctions’ next major sale. “The beauty of the Admiral series is that a collector can search a lifetime and never really complete his collection as the field is vast and opportunity of findings still in its infancy,” said Yohann Tanguay, a stamp specialist and chief describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house. “What makes this current offering stand out from the rest is that it has a bit of everything, with a focus on major Admiral rarities and superb-quality mint NH stamps.” Continue reading →

Collector creates COVID-19 show-mourning covers

Last year’s Royal Philatelic Society of Canada Convention in Fredericton, N.B., is among the national exhibitions honoured on a set of commemorative mourning covers. Alberta collector Dave Bartlet produced the small series beginning last year.

With show organizers forced to close their doors to stem the spread of COVID-19, an Alberta collector has created a series of special mourning covers to mark this past year’s slew of cancelled conventions. Since March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, show organizers in Canada have either postponed or outright cancelled virtually all shows, big and small. But with their large crowds and entrenched social mingling, major conventions bear the brunt of the risk. In 2020, Canada’s five national-level exhibitions – the Edmonton “Spring National,” Orapex, the annual Royal Convention, the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) Symposium and Canpex – were all cancelled. BNAPEX, another large gathering serving as the annual convention of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS), also met the same fate. The latter convention hosts a competitive British North America-focused exhibition rather than an official national exhibition accredited to participate in the World Series of Philately (WSP). Continue reading →

Winter-white snow mammals on latest Canadian issue

A five-stamp souvenir sheet official first-day cover is serviced with three cancels from Snow Lake, Man., a town 685 kilometres north of Winnipeg popular for wildlife observation.

In a new set issued Feb. 16, Canada Post is recognizing five of the world’s 19 mammal species that undergo the twice-yearly process of moulting. The five-stamp “Snow Mammals” set features a handful of animals found in Canada with a survival skill that’s distinctly adapted to the country’s snowy climate: their otherwise dark coats turn white in winter. “These creatures are like ghosts, travelling on or under the snow without a sound,” Dominique Fauteux, a research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, is quoted as saying in the latest issue of Details magazine. “Their unique adaptation invokes a very poetic view of winter as not only silent and calm, but also dangerous.” Continue reading →

Auction lots delivered to bidder despite wrong address on cover

With the help of his local mail carrier, Toronto collector Garfield Portch received a highly anticipated piece of mail – filled with several auction lots – despite it being misaddressed.

Whether it’s a delivery complaint, a stamp subject disappointment or the dreaded pen cancellation, Canada Post is no stranger to criticism. That’s why a Toronto collector decided to share his story about the “remarkable” service – complete with a postal history twist – he received from the Crown corporation last fall. “Every now and then, when somebody does something right, it’s important to praise,” said postal historian Garfield Portch, whose story begins with the annual online auction hosted by the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain (CPSGB). Continue reading →

Experts recommend ‘refreshing’ old certificates

Before Toronto’s Greene Foundation acquired its VSC6000 in 2014, philatelic expertizing was more of a ‘touchy-feely’ process, according to Garfield Portch, the group’s president and chair.

When it comes to high-quality classic, rare or often-forged material, whether it’s a stamp, a postmark or a cover, collectors are almost always told to have an expert certify it. But did you know depending on the material in question, experts often recommend “refreshing” certificates pre-dating the use of forensic analysis? The decision ultimately comes down to the material in question and the owner’s motivation for seeking additional certification, said Garfield Portch, the president and chair of Toronto’s Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation. “With the advance in technology, I really think that any certificate done before the discovery of the VSC6000 should be re-looked at,” added Portch, who’s also a long-time member of the Greene Foundation’s expert committee, which issued nearly 990 certificates last year, even with the pandemic hampering the experts’ ability to meet in person. Continue reading →

RPSC makes moves to stall ‘membership bleed,’ financial losses

Clockwise from top left: Royal Philatelic Society of Canada President Ed Kroft, outgoing Treasurer Stuart Keeley, journal Editor Robin Harris and Secretary Jane Sodero speak at the group’s Dec. 9 annual general meeting, held via Zoom.

Echoing issues from past years, membership and finances were among the main topics of discussion at the first virtual annual general meeting (AGM) hosted by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) this December. A welcome sign to officials worried about a dwindling membership base, the RPSC gained 85 members last year, jumping from 1,460 in 2019 to 1,545 in 2020. More than 90 of those members attended the recent AGM, held via Zoom on Dec. 9. “It’s wonderful to scroll through the gallery and see everyone,” said RPSC President Ed Kroft, who also spoke about the “devastating” impact COVID-19 has had on the philatelic community and country at large. Continue reading →

Modern Elizabethan hot heading into 2021

Two similar covers (window envelope right) are each franked with one of two ‘double impression’ errors from a se-tenant pair of 1976 ‘Royal Military College’ stamps. A prime example of modern postal history, it brought $2,600 (including premium) on an estimate of $2,500 at auction in 2020.

Along with some dealer sales – mostly for sellers with a strong online presence – auction results have also held their own during the pandemic. In 2020, the hobby’s natural ebb and flow continued, with certain collecting areas outperforming others in terms of general interest if not outright value. Among the major trends – a continuation from previous years – is the increased interest in the Elizabethan period, including modern errors and varieties. “I think collectors are just starting to notice there are some bargains to be had, and they are picking up some of those things they need in the modern era,” said auctioneer Gary Lyon, the owner of Gary Lyon (Philatelist) Ltd. and its sister company Eastern Auctions, who added prices for modern material were previously “depressed a bit.” Continue reading →

Canpex virtual exhibition to fill national show void

David McLaughlin, chair of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada’s international liaison committee, hopes the National Virtual One-Frame Philatelic Exhibition will allow more exhibitors to qualify for CAPEX 22.

Looking ahead to 2021, the “Edmonton Spring National” in March and Orapex in May – Canada’s first two national-level shows of the year – are already cancelled. The June Royal Convention originally slated for Peterborough, Ont., before the host Kawartha Stamp Club withdrew as the host, is also up in the air. The only remaining 2021 national shows include the Postal History Society of Canada Symposium in July and Canpex in October. All five of Canada’s national-level shows in 2020 were cancelled due to COVID-19. What’s certain is these national-level cancellations limit exhibitors’ chances to qualify for CAPEX 22, the first World One-Frame Stamp Championship scheduled for June 9-12, 2022, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Continue reading →

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