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Recent "rare" Canadian issues
© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 D. Robin Harris (updated Jan 5, 2002)

Every once in awhile Canada Post will release a variety of a stamp that even they are not aware of. Sometimes this is because the printers have inadvertently used a different perforator or obtained paper from another paper supplier during the print run of a stamp. It is not until collectors start to study the stamps after they are issued (or even after the stamps have "sold out", that a new variety is discovered.

Sometimes, low print runs are made of a stamp. Or even sometimes a different "branch" of the Post Office will create a variety that is not announced to the general public.

Here are some recent Canada Post issues that may prove to be difficult to obtain or their price may rise in the not too distant future.

Petro Canada Petro Canada

The 46c Petro Canada stamp issued Sep 13, 2000 exists with inverted die cuts.

The stamp was first issued in a self-adhesive pane of 12. It honors the 25th anniversary of Petro Canada.

A single stamp was also supplied in the quarterly collection set (July-September) and the 2000 Annual Collection. The stamp in either of these collections has the die cut through the stamp and the backing. However, the die cut on this single is inverted in relation to the die cut found on the pane of 12!

[The 10 stamps in the quarterly collection sell for the face value of $5.09 from the post office - while supplies last of course.]

As illustrated, notice that the peaks and valleys on all four sides are different.

Linn's Stamp News (March 12, 2001 edition) reports that one million booklets of 12 of the 'normal' die cutting were produced. 150,000 single stamps with the inverted die cutting were produced: 65,000 were put in the quarterly pack, 5,000 were included in Stamp Quest fulfillment packs, and the remaining 80,000 single stamps are in the annual collection for 2000.

Will any of these be found used? Possible, but they will certainly be rare. Particularly those with a proper rate usage before the postal rates rise to 47c at the end of 2000.

This is not the first time that stamps from a quarterly collection set (or the annual year set) differ in some way from the originally released stamps earlier in the year. There are many instances where booklet panes appeared in the souvenir collections unfolded but were originally issued in folded booklets.

Millennium Collection (13k)The Millennium Collection

Canada Post issued 68 stamps in The Millennium Collection - a hard-cover book released September 15, 1999 at a cost of C$59.99. The stamps are also being released in mini-panes of 4 different stamps (a total of 17 panes) at face value.

Click for a list of subjects and pictures.

Millennium Collection (29k) Update (Dec 19/99): The stamps in the mini-panes are DIFFERENT from the stamps in the Millennium Collection book -- the hidden date (found just to the left of the upper left corner of the design) is twice as big on the stamps from the book.

Update: The first set of 4 panes will be available December 17/1999. This will be followed on Jan 17, Feb 17, and Mar 17/2000.

Update: On July 28/99 Canada Post announced that the stamps will be available in 17 miniature sheets of 4 each, starting in January 2000. One million sheets will be printed.

Update: On August 5/99 I received a mailing from Canada Post advertising the collection. It is being bound in a 2-post folio type book. There will be 2 stamps printed ON a single page (ie. the stamps are NOT separate from the pages but are right IN the page) with a small "gutter" between the 2 stamps. It is quite likely that there will be some difference between the stamps in the book and the stamps being released in the mini-sheets. Stay tuned ...

10c Traditional Trades

10c Trades pre-issue pic (25k)

On April 29, 1999, Canada Post is to issue a new set of low-value definitives picturing Traditional Trades.

The pre-issue pictures of this set were published in the March/April Canada's Stamp Details mailed to customers of Canada Post around the beginning of March.

The illustration of the 10c Artistic Woodworking value includes a spelling error! The inscription at the bottom of the stamp spells "Artistic" as "Artisitic".

It will be interesting to see if the actual issued stamps contain this error of design. [Update: I was able to view the actual printed stamps on April 24 (a week before their issue) and their is no spelling error - it has been corrected.]

[click here for an illustration of the entire set of 8 values]

45c Marco Polo

Marco Polo SS (22k)

A single stamp and souvenir sheet were issued March 19, 1999 as a joint-issue with Australia. The souvenir sheet contains one stamp from Canada and one stamp from Australia.

There were only 500,000 souvenir sheets printed. Suggestions in the philatelic press indicate that over half of these were shipped to the Australian Post Office!

Will this limited distribution in Canada be enough? Used copies of the stamp from the souvenir sheet will certainly be scarce. By the way, the single stamp from the souvenir sheet has a different perforation than the sheet stamps.

1998 Christmas

98 Christmas (18k)

Canada Post has done it again - unannounced perforation varieties!

The 1998 Christmas stamps were issued in both sheet and booklet format. It seems that the three booklet stamps and the 45c sheet version exist with two different perforations.

Value Type Perf 13.1 13.1 x 13.6
45c sheet x x
  bklt x x
52c sheet   x
  bklt x x
90c sheet   x
  bklt x x
bold x may be more scarce

Click for picture of perf 13.1, perf 13.1 x 13.6, booklet cover.

[ By the way, this is not the first time that Christmas stamps have been released with multiple perforations. The first such case was in 1986 when the 29c booklet appeared in 2 perfs. Other years that have "multiple perfs" include 1989, 1992, 1996, and 1997. ]

45c Leaf Self-adhesive

1714b (14k)

Issued just a couple of months before a scheduled rate increase, a 45c Leaf design was issued in a "coil" format with a relatively low print run. Finding dated examples on cover during the brief period when the 45c rate was still current will be a challenge - this was just a three month period (Sep 30-Dec 31).

As well, the 1998 Annual Souvenir Collection produced by Canada Post contains a single copy of this "coil". However, the backing paper is rouletted! When first released, the backing paper was a continous length roll for the entire 100 stamps. Time will tell whether a significant premium will be attached to the rouletted version.

Click here for a study tip article.

45c Flag (small design) Booklets with Revised Covers

1360P (17k)

Released in the fall of 1998 (about September/October) with little fanfare (ie. no official first day of release), the revised booklet cover on both the booklet of 10 and booklet of 30 will likely be scarce.

It is still possible to find some of these revised booklets in various local retail stores (eg. 7-11 stores), if you take the time to hunt them down.

Click here for an illustration of the 3 different-sized 45c booklets of 10 covers. (By the way, the "large-size 45c Flag" booklet comes at least 8 ways!).

$8 Grizzly Bear

1700 (52k)

This stamp was released October 15, 1997 in panes of 4. Have you seen a used copy? It seems as though a good used single of this stamp is hard to find.

Most businesses use metered mail; the general public will likely not send many heavy parcels or use an additional service such as registration that requires more postage. Heavy packages being sent out of country may require the use of an $8 stamp, but when you drop your package of at the post office, the clerk is more likely to generate a "meter" or parcel "label" than to offer you the use of "lick-and-stick" stamps!

At the beginning of 1999, the post office changed the "rules" on paying the retail franchises. The sub post-offices used to receive a healthy discount on postage stamps. However, in January 1999 this discount was dramatically reduced. To compensate for this, the discount applied to "metered" mail was increased. If you are the owner of a retail sub post-office franchise, would you sell postage stamps or use metered mail (the latter giving you a significantly larger commission)?

Nicely used $8 Grizzly Bear stamps (ie. light, circular date cancel used in period) will command a premium.

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