Friday, July 29, 2011

Diplomatic Pouch Mail
Centennial Period

The tag shown above was attached to a diplomatic pouch mailed from the Embassy of the United States of America in Ottawa to the Secretary of State, Washington, D.C. on March 8, 1972. The regulations of the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain, to which both the United States and Canada belonged, provided that diplomatic mail of this type could be forwarded free of postage unless dispatched by air mail.

Although there is no air mail label on the tag, the payment of $6.20 postage indicates that air mail service was to be provided :

$6.20 likely paid the air mail letter rate (10 cents per ounce) for 62 ounces.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

1938 Empire Air Mail Scheme:
Rate Confusion Anticipated by C.P.O.

On February 28, 1938, Canada inaugurated a compulsory Empire Air Mail Scheme whereby first class mail for specified Empire countries was conveyed to Britain by ship then carried exclusively by air beyond England. The Empire Scheme was a British plan completed in stages from June 1937 to July 1938, and ending at the onset of war in September, 1939.

The 1937-38 Official Canada Postal Guide described the service as follows:

The surface letter rate of 3 cents per ounce was replaced with a higher all-up rate of 6 cents per one-half ounce. The post card rate was increased from 2 cents to 4 cents.

Britain and other countries, which were participants in the Empire Air Mail Scheme prior to Canada's entry, experienced large volumes of underfranked mail due to the public's confusion regarding the new all-up rates. The British Post Office, for example, applied the following handstamp on underpaid covers to Empire scheme destinations:

The surface letter rate of 1 1/2d. per OUNCE had been replace by the Empire scheme rate of 1 1/2d. per HALF OUNCE. The rate for a one ounce letter had doubled.

The Canadian increase for a one ounce all-up letter was even greater. At 6 cents per half-ounce, the one ounce all-up letter rate was 12 cents, four times the abolished 3 cent per ounce surface letter rate! The post office anticipated problems with the new rates and prepared the following a handstamp to be applied on shortpaid all-up mail:


In the case of the cover shown below, the"Please Advise" handstamp was applied two days before the introduction of all-up Empire service. Canada Post Office was clearly aware of the difficulties encountered in Britain and had anticipated similar confusion in Canada.

The letter was mailed from Toronto to Pretoria, February 26, 1938 at the surface letter rate of 3 cents per ounce. By the time the letter arrived in England, Canada was an Empire Air Mail Scheme participant. It is therefore likely that the cover received air mail conveyance from Britain to South Africa at the old surface rate.

The next cover shown was conveyed under the Empire Air Mail Scheme and properly franked 6 cents:

Montreal to Pretoria, South Africa, April 25, 1938
6 cents per half-ounce Empire Air Mail Scheme

Note to Readers: Covers from Canada mailed under the
Empire Air Mail Scheme are uncommon. Post cards with the 4 cent rate are particularly elusive. If you have such a post card please contact me at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1973 Jeanne Mance

Hôtel-Dieu Hospital

Jeanne Mance (1606-1673) was the first lay nurse to settle in New France. She was the founder of Montreal's Hôtel-Dieu Hospital and the co-founder of that city. She left France for the North American continent on May 9, 1641. Not only did Jeanne Mance establish a hospital but she directed her energy towards laying the colony's very foundations. When the Montreal mission was in jeopardy, she crossed the Atlantic several times to save it from ruin. In addition to running the hospital, Jeanne Mance was the treasurer and manager of the Montreal settlement.

A small picture signed L. Dugardin, preserved at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, is believed to represent the true face of Jeanne Mance.

The Jeanne Mance stamp, designed by Raymond Bellemere, was based on the Dugardin picture.

First Day Covers

The Jeanne Mance stamp was issued on April 18, 1973.

Canada Post Office Publicity First Day Cover

Canada Envelope Company (Rosecraft Cachet)


Kingswood (Fleetwood)

Canadian Bank Note Company

Monsieur Timbre

Senate (Rosecraft)

Canada Post Office "Official"


David Pritchard

Canadian Nurses' Association

The Rosecraft cachet was used for first day covers prepared by the Canadian Nurses' Association.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1973 R. C. M. P.
In 1873, the Canadian government formed the North-West Mounted Police. In 1904 the Force became the Royal North-West Mounted Police and in 1920 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received its present name. Today, the R.C.M.P. is responsible for the enforcement of all Federal statutes throughout Canada and for national security. It is the only police force in the Territories, and enforces the Criminal Code of Canada and provincial statutes in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec.

On March 9, 1973, Canada Post Office issued a set of three commemorative stamps to mark the centennial of the R.C.M.P.

8 cent
In July 1874, police officers marched west from Dufferin, Manitoba and established a post at Fort Macleod (now in Alberta). The March West is the subject of the 8 cent stamp.

10 cent

Scientific methods used by the R.C.M.P. such as spectroscopy are featured on the 10 cent stamp.

15 cent

The famous "Musical Ride" is shown on the 15 cent denomination.

First Day Covers

Canada Post Office Publicity First Day Cover


Canada Envelope Company

Canada Envelope Company used the Rosecraft envelope for this mailing.


Ralph Dwyer handpainted

Kingswood (Fleetwood)

Rosecraft Senate

Canada Post Office "Official"

David Pritchard


Air Mail to the United States

Oshawa to New York, March 21, 1973
10 cents air mail letter rate to the United States + 50 cents registration fee

International Post Card

Toronto to Goggingen, Germany, March 12, 1973


Calgary Stampede

The 1973 Calgary stampede post office cachet featured a salute to the RCMP.

Stampede Post Office, July 12, 1973

Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)


PNE Post Office, Vancouver, August 1, 1973