After a delay to get Canada Post newest rate increase approved, Canada’s two batches of definitive stamps are now on the market, just a few months later than usual. In previous years, the newest batches of definitives have been rolled out in January. This year, however, because Canada Post wanted a new rate of $1 for single stamp sales and 85 cents for booklets, the new rate had to go through an approval process. Up until March 31, 2014 the corporation has been selling stamps with the same design as the 2013 permanent-rate stamps, but with a 63-cent value printed instead of the P mark. In order to put those stamps to use on mail, a 22-cent insect definitive has been issued.
The stamp depicts a monarch butterfly. Designed and illustrated by Keith Martin, who also created the earlier issues of low-value beneficial insect definitives, the stamp shows a single monarch against a blue background.
The make-up rate stamp was printed by Canadian Bank Note and will be printed as needed. It was produced using five-colour lithography on Tulles Russell paper with 13+ perforations with water-activated adhesive. It is sold in panes of 50 stamps with no self-adhesive version. A total of 17,400 official first-day covers (OFDC) have been produced and corner blocks and corner sets are also available to collectors. Known for its annual migration between Canada and Mexico each year, it takes four generations of butterflies to make the 8,000 km round trip. Many gather on Pelé Island, Ont., which is the location used for the cancel on the OFDC, which shows a flock of monarchs fluttering across its surface.
The workhorses of the definitive program continue to be the baby animal’s series, now in its fourth year. In addition to be issued in domestic, United States, and international rates, the stamps are also sold in both coils and booklets. Coils are used for large volume mailers, and at postal counter for single stamp sales. The four stamps in the 2014 issue have also been designed by Monique Dofour and Sophie Lafortune using photographs. The permanent-rate domestic stamp shows a pair of beavers. It is being sold in coils of 100 stamps and large coils of 5,000 stamps. Strips of four or 10 stamps are also offered for collectors, who can purchase stamps from both size coils in order to get both formats. A second definitive with the $1 single stamp rate has also been issued featuring the burrowing owl. That stamp is being offered in coils of 50 stamps, and in strips of four or 10 stamps. The other stamps also reflect the new rates.
The domestic oversize rate of $1.80 is represented by an Atlantic puffin stamp. That rate is sold in booklets of 10, and coils of 50. Again, collectors can purchase strips of four or 10 stamps taken from coils. The new $1.20 rate to the U.S. has a mountain goat kid and the $2.50 international rate has an elk. That U.S. and international-rate stamps are being sold in booklets of six stamps and coils of 50, with strips of four or 10 stamps being offered to the philatelic community. The self-adhesive stamps were printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper with simulated perforations in continuous printing.
The firm also produced 155,000 souvenir sheets of all five stamps using water-activated adhesive and 13+ perforations. A total of 11,500 OFDC’s were also issued with a March 31 cancel from Dawson City, Yukon, close to where the photograph for the beaver stamp was taken.
Once again, five prepaid postcards have also been produced using the same images as the stamps. The Canadian pride series of flag stamps has taken a new turn with five stamps featuring UNESCO world heritage sites in Canada. There are 17 such sites in Canada, and they will all be honoured over the course of the program, which will run into 2016. The sites are a collection of national and provincial parks and historic settings. The first ones to be honoured are Gros Marne National Park, N.L; Joggins Fossil Cliffs, N.S.; Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Alta. and B.C.; Miguasha National Park, Que.; and Nahanni National Park Reserve, N.W.T. Designed by Laura Minja, of Lime Design, who selected the photographs to be used for stamps, the stamps offer contrasts in colour and texture.
They were printed by Canadian Bank Note on Tullis Russell paper using five-colour lithography. As definitive stamps, they will be printed as needed during the course of the year. The stamps are being sold in booklets of 10 and booklets of 30 stamps. The booklets are self-adhesive, with simulated perforations. Canada Post also ordered 160,000 souvenir sheets of five stamps. A total of 11,500 OFDC’s were produced using the souvenir sheets. The covers have a Joggins, N.S. cancel, dated March 31. The sheets have 13+ perforations and polyvinyl acetate (PVA) water-activated adhesive.
The UNESCO stamps have an interesting security feature, when viewed under ultraviolet light, the UNESCO and world heritage logos appear along with the fluorescent tagging. A third-related product is a group of five prepaid domestic-rate postcards using the same images as the stamps. Canadian UNESCO world heritage sites were presented in detail in the previous issue of Canadian Stamp News.
Finally, the Queen Elizabeth II stamp has returned using the same design as last year. The permanent-rate stamp, based on a photograph by Chris Jackson of Getty Images, is issued in booklets of 10 self-adhesive stamps. It was printed by Canadian Bank Note on Tullis Russell paper in four-colour lithography with simulated perforations. All the new definitive stamps have tagging on four sides.
In bringing out the new rates, dramatically higher than the two-cent domestic-rate increase already approved, Canada Post called it a “one-time strategic adjustment.” For 85 cents, a customer can have a letter delivered across Canada, the world’s second-largest country, in four business days. A letter can be delivered within a province in three business days and within a city in two business days.
In a March 19 news release, Canada Post stated that in 2015 increases “will return to levels that consumers and the mailing industry have seen in the past.” The corporation also announced two other temporary measures. Until Dec. 31, a five per cent discount will be given to VentureOne cardholders who purchase a minimum of 300 permanent-rate stamps in coils of 100 or more; and meter customers will receive a five per cent rebate on postage up to a maximum of $250. The corporation is also lowering minimum volumes for advertising and promotional mailings.