Thursday, December 30, 2010

Transportation and Communication
6 cent Orange Centennial Definitive
Sheet Stamps

Domestic and International postal rates were increased on November 1, 1968. The domestic first class domestic letter rate, for example, was increased to 6 cents. Canada Post Office issued a 6 cent regular stamp on November 1, 1968 designed by the Canadian Bank Note Company and printed in sheet format by the British American Bank Note Company. The orange stamp, whose theme was transportation and communication, showed a turbo train, a truck and bus, a lake vessel, and an inter-city jet aircraft to represent transportation, and a microwave tower to symbolize Canada-wide communications.

Turbo Train

A turbo train was featured prominently in the left foreground of the 6 cent stamp. The turbo train was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1982.

Canadian National's "Turbo"

Commercial service began in 1969. Turbo service was about a full hour faster than CN's previous express trains, the "Rapido". Technical problems arose with the Turbo's performance in Canada's cold winters and the cars were rebuilt in 1971.

The postcard of the "Turbo" was mailed to Northwood England from Toronto, February 13, 1969. A pair of 6 cent orange regular stamps paid the 10 cent air mail rate.

A. Perforated 10

The British American Bank Note Company (BABN) initially issued the stamps perforated 10. Two plates were used to print the stamps:

Plate 1

Plate 2

The stamps were also issue Winnipeg tagged.

Winnipeg Tagged

First Day Covers

The Ottawa Post Office did not service first day covers for the 6 cent definitive stamp.

First day covers mailed in Ottawa are usually seen with the city's regular machine cancellation.

Day of Issue Cancellation

The 5 cent Christmas stamp was also issued on November 1, 1968 for which a "Day of Issue" cancellation was provided. The 6 cent definitive stamp could thus be cancelled "Day of Issue" if affixed to a Christmas first day cover.

Non-Ottawa First Day Covers


November 1, 1968
First day of issue on Mississauga commercial cover

High Commission of Malaysia, Ottawa local correspondence, November 12, 1968
6 cents first class letter rate

Chilliwack to Rexdale, January 21, 1969
6 cents letter rate + 40 cents special delivery fee

Winnipeg to Toronto, January 6, 1969
Winnipeg Tag

Fluorescent Ink

Fluorescent compounds in the ink were used to print some of the 6 cent perforated 10 stamps.

Normal Stamp (left) , Fluorescent Ink Variety (right)

Fluorescent ink variety
Fergus, December 10, 1968

Precancelled Stamps

The 6 cent orange perforated 10 precancelled stamps were issued in June 1969. At that time, the printed matter rate was 5 cents, and only increased to 6 cents on July 1, 1971.

In-period, authorized commercial usages of the 6 cents orange pre-cancelled stamp are scarce items. The cover below is an unauthorized usage:

Hespeller to Toronto. May 9, 1972
Improper use of precancelled stamp on letter mail

Torn stamps

The BABN perforated 10 stamps were difficult to separate, resulting in torn stamps:

A torn perforated 10 stamp was not an uncommon occurrence

B. Perforated 12.5 x 12

BABN issued the 6 cent orange sheet stamp perforated 12.5 x12 (easier to separate) in March, 1969. Plate 3 was used for this release.

Plate 3

The perforated 12.5 x 12 stamp was also issued Winnipeg Tagged.

Winnipeg Tagged


Formosa to Scarborough, November 5, 1969
6 cents domestic first class letter rate

Woodstock to Florenceville, November 5, 1969

Winnipeg tagged
Winnipeg to Westaskiwin, Alberta, January 27, 1970

Hi-Brite stamps

The sheet stamp printed on bright white "Hi-Brite" paper was issued in August 1969.

Normal stamp (left), Hi-Brite stamp (right)

Hi-Brite stamp
Toronto, November 5, 1969

C. Counterfeit Stamp

Counterfeit 6 cent orange stamps were lithographed and the orange ink fluoresces under ultra-violet radiation. The stamps were line-perforated 12.6 x 12.6.

Counterfeit stamp
Montreal to Don Mills, April 26, 1971