Pence issue cover census available for free online

A comprehensive census of more than 3,000 covers from Canada’s “Pence” issue is the latest addition to the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) Online Resources and Exhibits (ORE).

Compiled by Wayne Smith and published on the ORE this April, the 1851-59 cover census is presented in two ways – by stamp/paper variety as well as by rate.

First, the stamp/paper variety listing highlights the number of covers known for each rate paid by the stamp.

Secondly, the rate listing highlights the number of covers known for each way to pay the rate.

The census includes information unearthed since 1984, when Charles Firby compiled his final census of covers from the “Pence” and “Cents” issues. Picking up from Firby’s previous update, Smith referenced “three very large auction catalogue libraries” along with publications such as BNAPS’ quarterly journal BNA Topics, exhibits, dealer stocks and online auctions.

“Using the cover counts provided in the detailed breakdown by stamp and by rate, the rarity of these covers becomes apparent,” writes Smith in the introduction to his census. “With this detailed information, collectors will be able to make more informed buying decisions, and dealers will be able to provide more accurate item descriptions.”

To view the census, which is available online for free and will be updated periodically as new data becomes available, visit

Last November, Smith also published a census of 1868-dated “Large Queen” covers sorted by postal rate and destination plus a census of 1859 “Cents” covers mailed after April 1, 1868, when the Large Queens were issued.

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