A Guide to Canadian Stamps

A Guide to Canadian Stamps

A Guide to Canadian Stamps

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Home Page > Hobbies > Crafts > A Guide to Canadian Stamps

A Guide to Canadian Stamps

Posted: Jun 30, 2011 |Comments: 0


Stamp collecting is a popular hobby in Canada with many specialty stores still thriving in most of the major cities. This country has an interesting and colourful past which is well reflected in the history of its postage stamps. Canadian postage stamps were first issued in 1851 following the Confederation of the province of Canada. The first of these was the unperforated 1851 Threepenny Beaver. Since then a considerable number of rare and collectable stamps have been issued which is why philately continues to be a popular Canadian hobby.


Although mail was first sent by Canadians as early as the 16th century, approximately 100 years before British colonists made their mark there, it was following the French and Indian War that a proper civilian postal service was begun. In 1763 William Foxcroft and Benjamin Franklin set up a run from New York to Québec. The following year post marks were being used throughout North America. Canadian postage stamps were first used in 1851. The province of Canada, following its confederation, was divided into the provinces of Québec and Ontario. These provinces were at the heart of the remaining British possessions and issued stamps between 1851 -1867. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which were both provinces having their own stamps joined Québec and Ontario in the new Dominion of Canada in 1867. Great Britain ceded Rupert’s land and the Northwestern Territory to the new country in 1870. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island joined with the Confederation in 1871 and 1873.

Canadian Provincial Stamps

Some of the most rare and valuable Canadian stamps were issued during the period 1851 to 1867. The province of Canada’s un-perforated 1851 three penny beaver was the first stamp of Canada. Other issues from that year include the twelve penny Queen Victoria and the sixpenny HRH Prince Albert. These early stamps from 1851 were printed on laid paper which had a tendency to fall off the envelopes, which of course makes these early Canadian postage stamps even more rare. Indeed the twelve penny Queen Victoria stamp is worth tens of thousands of dollars today. Rare province of Canada stamps issued in the 1850s and 1860s and printed on wove paper are worth anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.

Early issues from New Brunswick were fairly bland, and included images of the Irish shamrock, the Scottish thistle and the English rose repeated twice. Nova Scotia issued stamps with similar designs but instead with a single rose and also with the addition of the Mayflower which is connected with the province. Following the appointment of Charles Connell as Postmaster general, New Brunswick’s pre-Confederation stamps became much more distinct. In 1860 they began using decimal denominations similar to the United States and in the same year Charles Connell released a five cent stamp with a picture of himself rather than one of the British Royal family. This created quite an uproar and he was forced to buy back and destroy this line of stamps. As a result there are few of these stamps surviving and they currently have a value of around ,000.

Stamps from the Dominion of Canada.

In 1868, the Dominion of Canada released the ‘large Queens’ , its first postage stamps. Some of the low denomination stamps at this time were printed on laid paper where as others (especially the higher denomination stamps) were printed on wove paper. Two years later the ‘small Queens’ were issued.

Several of the rarest and most collectable Canadian postage stamps include those from the first series of Canadian commemorative stamps. These were issued in 1897 to mark the 30th anniversary of  the Confederation of Canada and also Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In the same year Canada started incorporating the Maple Leaf into a frame surrounding a portrait of the Queen.

In 1927 Canadian postage stamps became bilingual which reflected the Anglo-French heritage of the country. Since then wildlife continues to feature on Canadian stamps. This tradition began in 1851 with the release of the three penny beaver and continues today.

If you’re looking to buy Canadian stamps and live locally you will find that specialty shops still thrive in most of the major cities. If you prefer to buy online there are several good online stores offering an extensive range of rare and collectable stamps for both the beginner and expert Canadian stamp collector. 

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Jared Bannister
About the Author:

Jared Bannister has been collecting stamps for many years and writes about this topic among many others. To learn more about Canadian Stamps and Philately stamp collecting please visit my website using the links provided.

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Article Tags:
stamp collecting, canadian stamps, canadian postage stamps, stamps of canada

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Jared Bannister has been collecting stamps for many years and writes about this topic among many others. To learn more about Canadian Stamps and Philately stamp collecting please visit my website using the links provided.

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