OTD: Post Office Department issues 20-cent definitive

On today’s date in 1900, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued a 20-cent definitive stamp (Scott #84) featuring Queen Victoria.

The 20-cent vermillion stamp was first issued on Feb. 17, 1893, and remained current until December 1900, when all the stock was sold and the new 20-cent denomination of the “Numeral” series was issued.

“The decorative and symbolic use of the maple leaves on the Diamond Jubilee commemorative and the regular issues of 1897 met with instant public approval,” reads a press release issued by the Post Office Department.

“But the designers of the Maple Leaves issue failed to give sufficient prominence to the denominations in words rather than figures. As a result, the public was not able to distinguish the face values quickly. The Post Office Department accordingly modified the design and prepared a new issue of postage stamps.”

The portrait of Queen Victoria was from a photograph taken in 1897 by W & D Downey, of London, England, for the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

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