By Jesse Robitaille
A Nova Scotia collector found and mailed several of this year’s holiday stamps at a rural post office three days before their official issue date.
Canada Post released a religious “Christmas Star” stamp plus a secular “Holiday Birds” set with domestic-, U.S.- and international rate stamps as part of its annual holiday issue on Nov. 1 (“Holiday issues continue 58-year philatelic tradition,” CSN Vol. 47 #16, Nov. 22, 2022). But one collector tracked down each of the four issues three days earlier, on Oct. 29, while making a stop on a nearly 500-kilometre drive to a stamp show from his home in Sydney, N.S.
“On my early morning trip from Sydney to the South Shore Stamp Club’s Stampex 22, being held in Bridgewater, N.S., I needed to obtain the most recent issue of stamps in order to make up a few souvenir covers for my collection from the event using their pictorial cancel,” said collector Michael Ratushny. “So I pulled off the highway and went into one of the many quaint villages along the south shore and checked out the post office.”
Hoping to obtain the Tommy Prince stamp issued a day earlier, Ratushny walked into the post office and to his amazement saw the yet-to-be-issued Christmas Star stamp plus one of the Holiday Birds – the domestic-rate cardinal – displayed for sale.
“Of course, I immediately had to run back out to the truck and obtain a handful of envelopes and self-addressed them, applied the two new issues and hand-cancelled them with the Oct. 29 handstamp,” said Ratushny, who also collects Nova Scotia-related pictorial cancels.
The Stampex postmark features a lighthouse with the initials “SSSC” – for South Shore Stamp Club – emanating from its beacon.
“Even the Bridgewater postmistress was surprised to see me with them but could hardly wait to cancel them with their device,” said Ratushny.
“Then I passed them to the clerk for deposit in the outgoing mail knowing that they would go through the equipment and be dated with the coding on the back of the cover to prove early usage before the issue date and paid for them. Of course, I bought a couple extra of those booklets in addition to the Tom Prince ones so I could also make up a few more at the show with the Stampex 22 cancel.”
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