Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 1957 Royal Visit to Canada and the United States

Queen Elizabeth made her first Royal Visit to Canada as monarch in October, 1957.

On October 10, 1957, the Post Office Department issued a 5 cent stamp to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Canada:

1. The Stamp Design

National Archives of Canada

The photographic portraits from which the 1957 Royal Visit stamps were based had been taken by Karsh in 1951.

From the National Archives of Canada:

Emmanuel Hahn plaster sculpture of Philip and Elizabeth was based on photographs. Emmanuel Hahn used the image of the sculpture for his design of the 1953 Coronation stamp.

2. Souvenir Covers

a) First Day Covers

Overseas Mailers


R.P. Mackay, Toronto

b) Dizer "History in Philately Cover Set

Malcolm C. Dizer prepared a set of covers to mark the 1957 Royal Visit to Canada and the United States. Dizer obtained a three weeks' leave of absence from his work as a New York Produce Exchange statistician and followed the royal couple on their travels from Ottawa to the US Northeast. For each city he prepared covers on which were printed illustrated cachets. Dizer printed inserts which reproduced newspaper articles and photographs.

Dizer prepared a total of 600 sets of covers, each of which were placed in an outer envelope entitled "History in Philately".

"History In Philately" outer envelope
No. 320

Cover 1 : Ottawa October 10, 1957
First Day of Issue : Royal Visit Stamp

Cover 2 : Ottawa October 12, 1957
Arrival of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Canada

Cover 3 : Williamsburg October 16 1957
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visit Jamestown

Cover 4 : Washington October 17 1957 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrive in Washington

Cover 5 : New York, October 21, 1957
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrival in New York

The Dizer "History of Philately" covers were described in Kent Stiles' N.Y. Times stamp column "The World of Stamps" November 22, 1957 :

c) U.S. Visit

Washington, October 17, 1957

Washington, October 17, 1957

College Park Maryland, October 19, 1957

New York, October 21, 1957

d) Return to the United Kingdom

A souvenir cover was prepared for the arrival of the Royal Couple from their North American tour.

October 22, 1957

3. Usages
a) Domestic Letter Rate

Toronto to Tillsonburg, October 11, 1957
5 cents forward letter rate

b) Domestic Letter Sorted by Peterborough Transorma

From 1955 to 1960, an automated sorting machine called the Transorma was installed and operated on an experimental basis at the Peterborough post office.

The Transorma, a Dutch invention, was the first letter sorting machine in the world. First introduced in 1930 at the Rotterdam Post Office, the machine could sort over 20,000 pieces of inward and outward mail per hour into more than 200 sorting receptacles. Keyboard operators, five per machine, viewed the address side of the envelope or card and pressed the keys corresponding to the code for the destination. The letter was then mechanically transported to its proper receptacle.Transormas were subsequently introduced at other Dutch post offices.

In 1935 the British Post Office installed a Transorma at the Brighton post office. Transormas were used in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, the United States (Silver Spring, Md.), Sweden, Belgium, Germany, as well as in Canada.


Markings called “idents” were stamped on the face of the envelope to be sorted. An “ident” consisting of two letters, was issued to the Transorma operator. The first letter of the Peterborough idents was either an “A” or a “B”. The ident was printed on the face of the envelope in red ink.

Peterborough ident : AF

Inbound mail sorted by the Transorma
Bala to Peterborough, December 10, 1957

Silver Spring Md. Transorma

The first day cover mailed to Silver Spring was processed by the Transorma machine.

Silver Spring Ident : AJ

c) Surface Letter Rate to the U.S.

Perth to Dayton, December 3 ,1957

d) UPU surface letter rate

i) Fully prepaid

Kirkland Lake to Stutgart, Germany, November 25 1957
6 cents UPU surface letter rate

ii ) Shortpaid

Calgary to Hamburg, December 2 1957
6 cents UPU surface letter rate
Shortpaid 1 cent : Canadian taxation 10 gold centimes (the minimum taxation)
German taxation 14 (pf) in blue pencil
Germany did not issue postage due labels

e) Air Mail to Great Britain

Military Post Office 400, Winnipeg to Buckley, England, October 17 1957
15 cents air mail letter rate (1/2 ounce) to Great Britain

MPO 440 Winnipeg (Air Station and Headquarters)