By Jesse Robitaille
According to a notice sent by the Crown corporation to all post offices on Nov. 13 – more than a week after both the Magi and “Shiny and Bright” holiday stamps were issued – the Magi stamps “were printed on the wrong side of the paper and will not stick to an envelope.”
“We apologize for this error and are working to reprint and restock the item and expect to have replacement booklets available for sale online on Friday, Nov. 22 and in stores early the week of Nov. 25,” said Phil Legault, media relations director for Canada Post.
A total of 500,000 domestic-rate Magi booklets were issued Nov. 4 and remained available for purchase at post offices and online for about two weeks.
While all of the Magi booklets have been recalled, the booklets issued for the Shiny and Bright set “are not impacted and continue to be available for purchase,” Legault added.
“We understand the importance of these stamps to our customers and apologize for this inconvenience.”
At least one person acquired a defective booklet before making Canada Post aware of the issue; however, it’s uncertain how many defective examples made their way out of the post office and into the public’s hands.
“During production, it appears some of ‘The Magi’ booklets were printed improperly, with the glue sticking to the booklet rather than the stamps,” said Legault. “Any customers who purchased a defective booklet are asked to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.”
2018 CORONATION BOOKLETS WITH SAME ERROR
It’s not the first time “defective” booklets were issued and sold.
Last spring, after 300,000 booklets of 10 stamps were issued to mark the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, “a very small number” were reported to have the same printing error.
Ottawa’s Lowe-Martin printed both the coronation and Magi booklets.
“We are working with the printer to determine the cause of the error and implement process improvements,” said Legault.
THE HUNT IS ON
Collector Michael Ratushny, of Sydney, N.S., was informed about the original Canada Post notice by the staff at one of his local post offices.
“I started running all around Cape Breton Island to find one, and I’ve seen about 600 so far, but no luck,” said Ratushny, who visited dozens of east-coast post offices during a 400-kilometre road trip to Eastern Auctions’ Nov. 15-16 sale in Halifax.
“Enjoy the hunt for treasures. If anyone gets some I would be interested in knowing.”
On his journey to the recent auction, Ratushny was allowed to search through Magi booklets at various post offices without purchasing them, he said.
“Ask them to show you the booklets, all of them and not just the ones under the glass. Tell them you are a collector and looking for something different. Most are obliging as they want to sell.”
No blacklight is necessary and no stamps need to be removed from the booklet to determine if it’s one of the defective examples, Ratushny said, adding it “only takes about 30 seconds to check a bundle.”
“Believe me, you will notice the difference instantly when you angle and compare them side by side.”
Last year, Ratushny found three of the defective 2018 coronation booklets, which he later sold for princely sums – $300, $375 and $385, respectively – through online auction platforms.