Peterborough club withdraws as Royal 2021 host

A postcard promotes the 2021 Royal Philatelic Society of Canada Convention, which was slated to take place in Peterborough, Ont., before the Kawartha Stamp Club withdrew as the event’s host.

With pandemic-related show cancellations continuing into next spring, collectors across Canada have begun to wonder about the 2021 Royal Convention. This year marked the first time since 1950 the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) – and its predecessor Canadian Philatelic Society, which earned its “Royal” prefix in 1959 – did not host a convention. Now, with winter lockdowns looming and about a year until a critical mass of Canadians will receive a COVID-19 vaccine, concerns are swirling about next year’s Royal Convention – especially after the Kawartha Stamp Club withdrew as the event’s host. Continue reading →

Angelo Komatsoulis new CSDA president

Angelo Komatsoulis, of Montréal, Qué., began his first term as the president of the Canadian Stamp Dealers Association on Dec. 1. He’s the former director general of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montréal and English Montreal School Board.

The Canadian Stamp Dealers Association (CSDA) has unveiled its new board for the upcoming term that begins on Dec. 1. Long-time CSDA president Rick Day, of Burlington, Ont., has stepped down from the helm after nearly two decades. He’s set to assume the vice-president’s role previously filled by incoming President Angelo Komatsoulis, of Montréal, Qué. “I’ve enjoyed the time, and I’m wishing Angelo all the best,” said Day, the owner of Medallion Stamps, who added, “We’ve all come a long way.” Continue reading →

APEX works with VGG, recalls certificate after experts deem overprint fake

Unbeknownst to the American Philatelic Expertizing Service, the inverted overprint on a block of four Admiral stamps was previously certified as fake by the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation.

After being certified as genuine by a U.S. expertization service, a 94-year-old block of four “Admiral” provisional stamps with an unlisted inverted surcharge has been deemed fake by the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation. The mint block of four 1926 two-cent-on-three-cent carmine “Admiral” provisional stamps (Scott #139) was apparently first discussed in 1978, when Montréal philatelist George Marler showed it to a few fellow collectors, Carl Mangold, Hans Reiche and Ariel Hasid. Hasid recalled the meeting 42 years ago in a two-page article, “Potential new Admiral variety reappears after 42 years,” published this April in Maple Leaves, the quarterly journal of the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain. Continue reading →

Looking back at Toronto’s post office amid city’s biggest growth spurt

Common 19th-century letter-writing tools included (clockwise from top left) pounce, a ‘penny ink,’ an eraser knife and a goose-feather quill, which was used for thousands of years before the introduction of steel-nib pens in the 1830s.

At the helm of Toronto’s post office during its incorporation and subsequent population boom, James Scott Howard oversaw mail delivery from July 1828 until his dismissal nearly 10 years later. About a decade after the city incorporated in 1834, its population more than doubled to 21,000. While an excellent postal service was necessary, mail delivery in and around Toronto was “slow and sometimes tragic,” according to Zoé Delguste-Cincotta, curator of the Town of York Historical Society, which manages Toronto’s First Post Office (TFPO). “Roads in and around Toronto, when they would finally be built, were notoriously poor and waterlogged for three seasons of the year,” she said. Continue reading →

‘Toronto’s First Post Office’ opens in 1834 after city incorporated

People celebrate the incorporation of Toronto, formerly the settlement of ‘Muddy York,’ on March 6, 1834, in a 1909 lithograph by Frederic Waistell Jopling.

James Scott Howard became York’s fourth postmaster in 1828, about a decade after arriving in the bustling capital of Upper Canada from Fredericton, N.B. Six years after Howard came to the helm of York’s postal service – a role that also pegged him, albeit unofficially, as Upper Canada’s deputy postmaster general – the capital incorporated as the City of Toronto. Upper Canada’s first city – and its largest settlement after surpassing Kingston in 1832 – Toronto boasted a population of more than 9,200, including many immigrants who had recently left behind family and friends in their home country. “But the new city was remote and isolated, and if these residents wanted to communicate further than shouting distance, there was only one way to do it,” said Zoé Delguste-Cincotta, curator of the Town of York Historical Society, which manages Toronto’s First Post Office (TFPO). Continue reading →

Two centuries of postal history trace York’s rise to Toronto

John White, attorney general of Upper Canada, mailed a letter from York to London, England, in February 1798, before the establishment of a post office in York. It was carried outside the mails to England. (Photo by Garfield Portch)

Now derided by some Canadians as the sarcastic “centre of the universe,” present-day Toronto served as the heart of the fledgeling Province of Upper Canada soon after its establishment in 1791. Two years later, with Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) still serving as the British colony’s first capital, Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe made his first visit to the site of the “Toronto Purchase” (also known as Treaty 13). First negotiated in 1787, revisited in 1805 and finally settled in 2010, the Toronto Purchase saw the local Indigenous community – the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – surrender about 250,000 acres of land to the British crown. The deal was made in exchange for “149 barrels of goods and a small amount of cash” – £1,700 altogether – according to the 1986 book Toronto Observed. The goods included 2,000 gun flints, 120 mirrors, 24 brass kettles, 24 laced hats, a bale of flowered flannel and 96 gallons of rum. Continue reading →

Canada’s ‘medical groundbreakers’ celebrated in new five-stamp set

Six Canadian doctors are featured in the 'Medical Groundbreakers' set (10-stamp booklet shown) issued by Canada Post on Sept. 10.

After nearly four months with no new issues, Canada Post released its five-stamp “Medical Groundbreakers” set honouring medical physicians and researchers on Sept. 10. Available in 10-stamp booklets with two of each design, the set is Canada Post’s first issue since May 20, when it released a pair of stamps marking 100 years of radio history. The brief hiatus was triggered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which caused some delays in new issues as the stamp program schedule was shuffled. Continue reading →

Canada Post revives kiosk stamps in 2012

A kiosk installed at Toronto’s ‘Station B’ post office in January 2013 replaced an earlier version installed a year earlier. (Photo by late postal historian Andrew Liptak, also known as ‘Philcovex’ on his Postal History Corner blog)

After a brief trial of computerized stamp dispensers three years earlier, Canada Post revived its kiosk stamp program at the end of 2012. It was philatelists, rather than mail senders, driving the sales of these stamps, according to collector Dave Bartlet, a member of the Calgary Philatelic Society and Canadian Aerophilatelic Society. Printed using special kiosks at select post offices across the country, “these are the things that everybody thinks of when you say ‘kiosk stamps,’ because no one ever saw most of the stuff that went on before this,” added Bartlet, who has visited all of the kiosks across the country and notes the machines are “basically identical.” Working with Wincor Nixdorf – a German company offering retail and banking hardware, software and services – Canada Post revived the kiosk stamp program and installed dispensers printing nine rates beginning Dec. 12, 2012. Continue reading →

Newfoundland rarities, forgeries garner interest in next Eastern sale

A complete sheet of Newfoundland’s 1921 Halifax airmail overprints is offered as Lot 294 of Eastern Auctions’ Oct. 2-3 public sale. It carries a catalogue value of $18,125.

With a spotlight on British North America (BNA), including a strong section of decimal-era Newfoundland stamps and postal history, more than 400 lots will cross the block in the first session of Eastern Auctions’ next public sale. The first of three sessions – offering Lots 1-416 – will kick off on Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m., with another session later that evening and a final offering the following day. “The main strength is in Newfoundland’s decimal period, which ran from 1865 to 1897,” said Yohann Tanguay, stamp specialist and chief describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house. Continue reading →

A long history of disinfected mail

An 1828 folded letter mailed from present-day Québec to France during a cholera pandemic was exposed to smoke and vinegar for disinfection. Two vertical cuts on the front helped to ensure proper disinfection. (Photo by Auktionshaus Felzmann)

In the time of COVID-19, disinfected mail is perhaps one of the most intriguing and relevant areas of postal history for collectors to explore. It’s an aspect of postal history similar to disaster mail, which refers to mail disrupted by natural or human-made events such as fires, floods, shipwrecks and plane crashes. Arising from seemingly random instances, both disinfected and disaster mail are also understandably rare and date back as far as mail, plagues and disasters have existed. “Long before the causes of epidemic scourges were individually identified, the dangers of dissemination of infection had been grasped,” wrote K. F. Meyer in the December 1952 issue of The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, a peer-reviewed medical journal on psychopathology (the scientific study of mental disorders). Continue reading →

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