Monday, June 15, 2009

"Her Majesty's Stamps" Set to Open in Ottawa

Vanessa Farquharson writes on Canada's National Post Web site, "When Sir Sandford Fleming, an engineer and the inventor of standard time zones, designed the first Canadian postage stamp in 1851, it was regarded as highly unusual - instead of portraying the image of a British monarch, it featured an animal."

She goes on to pen, "A beaver, in fact. Profile view, with a smiling sun above it and the words 'Three Pence' written underneath the log on which it sat. The design was apparently conceived over breakfast one morning - Fleming thought it nicely represented "the industry, ingenuity and perseverance of our young country."

"While Queen Victoria, whose image adorned every stamp in Great Britain at the time, must not have been too thrilled at sharing postage rank with a beaver, she was probably even less enthused at what happened in 1860: The postmaster in the colony of New Brunswick, Charles Connell, decided to change the look of the Five Cent stamp by replacing the queen's image with his own. This caused quite a kerfuffle - the postmaster resigned, and the stamps were all pulled (well, most of them)," according to Vanessa.

Both the Three Pence Beaver and the Five Cents Connell will be on public display at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa as part of a new exhibition called "Her Majesty's Stamps", opening Friday and running until the end of the year.

A highlight of this exhibition is a sheet of 10 Penny Blacks acquired by the Queen in 2001 and estimated to be worth around $2-million.

There will also be a royal postal challenge, tea party, stamp talk and a performance of Beaveriffic, during which visitors can "meet Castor canadensis, the famous beaver in the first Canadian stamp."

To read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM