A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Canada 1852-1902 - a closer look

1852 Scott 4 3p red "Beaver'
Wove paper
Into the Deep Blue

I've been waiting patiently for Canada, and finally it is here!

As the reader knows, I've been redoing the earlier country posts which did not have much illustration of the stamps themselves.

Canada, with essentially all of the stamps engraved during the classical era, and wonderful designs, is going to be a pleasure!

Naturally, Canada will require more than one post - in fact, three.

This post will look at the 19th century issues. The next two posts will illustrate the larger format commemorative pictorials prevalent between 1908-1939.

Let's begin.

Original Canada blog post and BB Checklist

A Closer Look 1852-1902
12 Pence = 1 Shilling
100 Cents = 1 Dollar (1859)
Canada Province 1865
Used by general permission of Gerben Van Gelder
The United Province of Canada existed between 1841-1867, and was a British North American colony (Colony of Canada). It consisted of Canada East (formerly mostly French speaking Lower Canada) and Canada West (formerly mostly English speaking Upper Canada). They became the provinces of Quebec and Ontario respectively after Confederation in 1867.

Stamps were issued for the Province of Canada beginning April 23, 1851.

1852 Scott 4 3p red "Beaver'
Wove paper
Province of Canada
The first design issued for the Province of Canada was the iconic "American Beaver" by Sir Sanford Fleming. This stamp, and the next seven stamps shown following in this blog post (through 1859) were engraved by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson, New York. This is the same firm that had the contract for U.S. postage stamps from 1847-1851 (producing the iconic U.S. 5c Franklin and 10c Washington). Of interest, in 1858, the firm consolidated into the American Bank Note Company.

Sir Sanford Fleming
Sir Sanford Fleming (1827-1915) was a most interesting man. This Scottish Canadian immigrant, besides designing the first postage stamp (Threepenny Beaver) for Canada, was the chief surveying engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the inventor of worldwide standard time, and a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada.

The Threepenny Beaver is the most iconic stamp (in my view) for Canada. 

The 1851 production stamp (Scott 1) was on laid paper, and the CV is a high $1000. The paper used was switched to handmade wove (1852-56) and machine made wove (1857).  Scott lists the wove CV @ $200+.

1851 Scott 3 12p black "Victoria"
Scan from Internet (not mine!)
CV $135,000-$175,000!
I should mention, for understandable reasons, a stamp I do not have: the laid paper June 14, 1851 twelve penny black.

This is one of the all time great philatelic rarities. 

It was intended for prepayment of letter rate to Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the West Indies, but its use was very limited. Only 1,450 stamps were sold. The remainder stamps (51,000 printed) were destroyed.

1859 Scott 14 1c rose "Queen Victoria"
Perforation 12
Imperforate stamps were issued between 1851-1859 (six designs, nine Scott numbers) in Pence/Shilling denominations. Except for the Threepenny Beaver (CV $225), and the 1857 one half penny rose (CV $700)all the other imperforate stamps are in the CV $thousands, and out of reach for most WW collectors. In addition, there were three "pence" denomination stamps issued with perforation 12 in 1858-59. All are CV $thousands.

But in 1859, the denomination was changed to Cents/Dollar. The July 1, 1859 six stamp issue has perforation 12, and used a similar design (now in cents denomination) as the 1851-59 pence issues. These engraved stamps were produced by the American Bank Note Company.

The one cent rose (shown above) is CV $90, while the deep rose shade (minor number) is 50% CV more.

1859 Scott 15 5c vermilion "Beaver"
The 1859 perforated 5c vermilion "Beaver" is CV $30+, and is the least expensive of the 1851-1868 era stamps. If one wanted to do a study using one stamp, this would be a good choice.

For instance, although the nominal perforation is 12, in fact....

11 3/4 X 11 3/4 : mid-July 1859-mid-July 1863
12 X 12 : May-October, 1862 ( For many sheets of  5c)
12 X 11 3/4 : March 1863-mid 1865
12 X 12 : April 1865 - 1868

1859 Scott 17a 10c violet "Prince Albert'
The ten cents "Prince Albert" is listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue with seven color shades (black-brown, deep red-purple, purple (shades), brownish purple, brown (to pale), dull violet, bright red purple), and in Scott with five color shades (two major, three minor numbers). In fact, SG says the 10c has a remarkable number of shades, and the color designations actually represent groupings of shades.

1859 Scott 17b 10c brown  "Albert"
Clearly, the shades differ wildly. And it can make a large CV difference. Scott lists the "black-brown" (perf 11 3/4) with its own major number (Scott 16) with CV of $6,500, while the "brown" shade (Scott 17b) is CV $140.

1859 Scott 18 12 1/2c yellow green "Victoria"
If you need a "Chalon Head" portrait of Queen Victoria on a Canada stamp, the 12 1/2c yellow green might be a good and economic choice (CV $130). The other "Chalon Head" stamps (12p black, 7 1/2p green) go for $135,000 and $3,500 respectively. !!

1859 Scott 19 17c blue "Jacques Cartier"
The influence of French historical explorations and language/culture is important for Canada as a "British colony". A good number of its citizens are French speaking.

The first "Jacques Cartier" stamp was issued as an imperforate and in "pence" denomination in 1855. This 1859 stamp (CV $200) is very similar in design, save for being perforated, and in "cents".

The "Dauphin" Map of Canada, 1543, Showing Cartier's Discoveries
Cartier found the Gulf entrance to the St. Lawrence River on his first voyage (1534). On his second voyage (1535-36), he sailed up the St. Lawrence River, and discovered the Iroquoian capital of Stadacona,  and then Hochelga (present day Montreal).  He  named the lands "The Country of the Canadas", an Iroquoian reference.

Provinces of Canada (Dominion of Canada) 1867-1870

We are now entering the Dominion of Canada  with confederation occurring on July 1, 1867. The British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united, and the former "Canada" was divided into the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

The change was enabled by the British North American Acts (1867-75), which was enacted by both the United Kingdom and Canada Parliaments.

Canada, though, was not fully independent, as the United Kingdom retained full control over foreign policy and retained legislative control over Canada. Canada's first foreign embassy was established in Washington, D.C. in 1931. Until 1949, any changes in the British North American Act could only be made by the British Parliament. Full control by Canada over the Canadian Constitution was not achieved until 1982.

Used by general permission of Gerben Van Gelder
Subsequent expansion of Canada included the addition of Manitoba (1870- part of Rupert's Land), Northwest Territories (1870- Rest of Rupert's Land and the North West Territory), British Columbia (1871), Prince Edward Island (1873), Yukon Territory (1898- part of Northwest Territories), Saskatchewan (1905 - part of Northwest Territories), Alberta (1905 - part of Northwest Territories), and Newfoundland (1949).

1868 Scott 27 6c dark brown "Queen Victoria"
Dominion of Canada: "Large Queens"
With the advent of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867, a new engraved issue, the so-called "Large Queens" (Because of large format) was printed.

"Large Queen" 1868-76 Issue in Deep Blue
The "Large Queen" issue of ten stamps was released between April 1, 1868 and 1876, according to the Scott catalogue. CV ranges from $40 to $225 for used major number specimens.

All are on wove paper, except for some 1868 issue 1c, 2c, and 3c stamps on laid paper (CV$thousands!!).

The stamps - the Large Queens and the Small Queens issues (1867-1893) - were produced by the British American Bank Note Company.

Now the fun begins. Canadian specialists and the SG catalogue distinguishes between the Ottawa printings (Perf 12, with thin rather transparent crisp paper or medium to stout wove paper) and the Montreal printings (Perf 11 1/2 X 12 or 12 X 11 1/2, medium to stout wove paper). SG has a helpful note that the papers usually can be distinguished if they are laid face downwards. The thin hard paper is much more transparent, while the thicker paper is softer and more opaque. I should mention that there is also an Ottawa printing of the 15c slate-violet that can be found on thin paper of poor quality with a gray or yellowish tone.

1889 Scott 36d 2c blue green "Victoria"
"Small Queens" Issue
Scott divides the "Small Queens" (smaller format) issues into the 1870-89 Montreal and First Ottawa printings (All Perf 12, and additionally 1870 Perf 12 1/2 (3c copper red-Ottawa) and 1873-79 Perf 11 1/2 X 12 (1c-10c)) and the 1888-97 Second Ottawa printings (All Perf 12).

The good news for WW collectors, using the Scott catalogue approach, is the 1870-89 Montreal and First Ottawa printings can be fairly easily distinguished from the 1888-97 Second Ottawa printings in Scott by a change of color or a new denomination.

Lets take a look..

1873 Scott 37 3c orange red; 1888 Scott 41 3c bright vermilion
1870-89 Montreal and First Ottawa printings; 1888-97 Second Ottawa printing
Note the orange red color of the 1873 Scott 37, while the 1888 Scott 41(Second Ottawa printing) is bright vermilion.

1877 Scott 40 10c dull rose lilac "Victoria"
This is a lilac color, placing it in the 1870-89 Montreal and First Ottawa grouping.

CV is $90.

1897 Scott 45 10c brown red "Victoria"
Second Ottawa printing
This appears to be a brown red color,: then a Second Ottawa printing.

CV is $65 used/$725 unused.

1893 Scott 46 20c vermilion "Victoria"
In 1893,  a 20c and a 50c denomination with the older queen (Second Ottawa printing) was introduced. CV of the 20c vermilion is $125.

I'm not saying much of how SG covers these Small Queen issues because it is difficult to reconcile with the simpler approach of Scott, which is presented here. Suffice to say, for the specialist, SG pays more attention to shades, perforation, and especially paper.

1897 Scott 58 15c steel blue
Queen Victoria '"1837" and "1897"
Beginning with the 1897 "Diamond Jubilee" issue, the stamps of Canada were now printed by the American Bank Note Company, Ottawa.

American Bank Note Company, Ottawa, with Banners celebrating the Diamond Jubilee
ABNC, used this building in Ottawa from 1897-1911
Designed by L. Pereira and F. Brownell, the sixteen stamp engraved issue, commemorating the 60th year of Queen Victoria's reign, has the same iconic philatelic status for Canada as the 1893 Columbian Exposition Issue has for the USA.

1907 "Jubilee Issue" in Deep Blue
CV for the 1/2c - 50c denomination (shown here) "Diamond Jubilee" issue ranges from $2+ to $190.

But, like the USA 1893 Columbian Exposition Issue with their high denomination stamps up to $5 (CV used $1,200/unused $2,400), the Jubilee Issue also had their high denomination stamps up to $5 (CV used $1,100/unused $!,500).

And both issues were produced by the American Bank Note Company. Coincidence?

Both issues were loved/hated then, and loved/hated now. I think indeed both issues represented an inflection point for philately: There was the realization by postal authorities that much money could be made from stamp lovers/collectors!

Even today, a quick way to evaluate a USA/Canada collection is look at the quantity/quality of the Columbian Exposition/Jubilee holdings.

1897 Scott 71 6c brown "Victoria"
Between 1897-98, a definitive issue of eight stamps showing the 1897 queen was released.

Note this issue is also called the "Maple leaf issue", as each corner has a maple leaf.

CV ranges from <$1 to $100.

Queen Victoria
SG has a note that these stamps used a photograph of Queen Victoria taken by William Downey of London , and used for her official 1897 Diamond Jubilee portrait. Apparently, the photograph was actually taken in 1893.

1900 Scott 84 20c olive green "Victoria"
A second set of "Victoria" stamps were issued between 1898-1902, changing the frame, but keeping the portrait.These are known as the "Numeral Issue", with the lower corner maple leaves from the previous issue replaced by numerals.

CV is <$1-$110.

1898 Scott 86 2c black, blue & carmine
"Map of British Empire on Mercator Projection"
Imperial Penny Postage Issue
Is this the first Christmas stamp? Note the "XMAS 1898".

Not exactly. Actually, there is an even more interesting reason (according to legend).

The design for the Imperial  Penny Postage stamp of 1898 was shown to Queen Victoria for her approval. (Why for approval? Remember, Canada was linked heavily to the United Kingdom.)  The comment was made that the stamp would be issued on the Prince's birthday (For the Prince of Wales Albert Edward whose birthday was November 9th, and would later be crowned Edward VII in 1902).

The Queen replied coldly "And what prince would that be?

(The Queen was continuously appalled with the irresponsible, frivolous, indiscreet and playboy ways of Prince Edward, and blamed him for the early death of her husband, Albert. For instance, she had written to her eldest daughter about Edward::"I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder." )

The quick thinking reply was "Why, the Prince of Peace, of course".

Thus, the addition of  "XMAS 1898" to the design of the stamp. It was released December 7, 1898.

1868 Scott 28 12 1/2c blue "Queen Victoria"
Dominion of Canada: "Large Queens'
Out of the Blue
Incredible stamps commemorating an incredible country (arguably, the most successful in the British Commonwealth).

Note: Gerben Van Gelder's maps are used here (in a non commercial fashion), having received the general permission of Gerben. I hope his web site comes back up. Until then, his maps deserve to be seen - He would want that. The other maps, portraits, and pics appear to be in the public domain, and are used here for educational purposes.


Comments appreciated!


  1. I certainly consider the Big Blue Blog as my guiding light (i.e. excellent stamp ID tips, detecting forgeries, beautiful images that often motivate me to acquire more classical stamps, and superb historical treatments for each stamp issuing country) for my expanding WW collection. While reviewing the colonies that became provinces of Canada, I was wondering if you had inadvertently skipped treating British Columbia & Vancouver Island?

    1. Hi Gina
      No, British Columbia & Vancouver Island were skipped deliberately as they have no stamps in the '69 Big Blue, the reference edition Big Blue. Also, at the early time of the blog, I considered the few stamps issued to be too expensive for most WW collectors. But I have subsequently obtained a British Columbia stamp, so not entirely true. ;-)

    2. My name is Mark Stanley.i am 60 years old from adelaide australia

  2. Well Mark Stanley, good luck with your collection!