Picture postage line gets jazzed up in time for holidays

Canada Post has jazzed up the picture postage line up with new formats, new values, and new frames. In fact, nearly 100 new value and format combinations now exist. According to the Crown corporation, picture postage is now available with 12 new designs and three new formats. Canadians can choose between permanent domestic rate, United States rate, international rate, and oversize rate. As for formats, the stamps are now offered in sheets of 25 stamps plus a souvenir sheet of 50, a sheet of 50, and in booklets of 12 stamps. The new booklet format allows customers to have a different image on the cover than on the stamps, and has a personalized caption.

Currently, picture postage is offered in keepsake sheets of 20 stamps with a souvenir image, and a bonus stamp, or sheets of 40 stamps. The program is expanding further, with customizable postcards and greeting cards being offered starting Nov. 5, and invitations and envelopes sometime next January. When first launched, the personalized postage system was only available in sheet format and just for the domestic rate. In recent years Canada Post has issued its own stamp designs using picture postage, such as the 2011 “ethnic” editions for Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, and Hanukkah; and created customer postcards for those events and even for the Toronto International Film Festival.

The new frames were created by Stephanie Huot. Her designs were kept simple since they needed to be able to be visually compatible with almost any type of photograph, and work both vertically and horizontally. Designs include holiday, celebration, special event, and seasonal motifs, plus two plain designs suited to business use. Canada Post said businesses are becoming interested in being able to brand their stamps. Canada Post has also created a set of two Official First Day Covers (OFDCs), each one with six blank picture postage stamps. Together, the two covers include the entire range of possible “frames.” The cancels, in the form of a camera iris, is dated Nov. 5, and gives an Ottawa location.

Picture postage stamps allow individuals to have their own photographs placed inside a picture frame, which actually constitutes the stamp. Potential images are screened for suitability before being used. The stamps are printed using a four colour on Tullis Russell paper with general, four-side tagging. A total of 10,000 OFDCs were produced, as were 10,000 collector packs with one of each stamp in domestic rate. The OFDC stamps are horizontal format, and the collector pack stamps are vertical format; all are permanent rate. However, since each frame can be ordered with four different values, and the frames can be produced in either landscape or portrait format, the total number of potential stamps in the new family is 96, before the as yet-unseen postcards and stationery are added.

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