Secret Dates


The Secret Dates on Canada’s Postage Stamps   

by John Hillson, FRPSL, FCPS

fig 3fig 5Toward the end of the reign of King George V Canada issued a handsome set of stamps in 1935. which among other topics featured a mounted member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the 10 Cents value. The one thing that was common to the designs was that incorporated in them all is a tiny date - 1935 - the date the dies were made.

fig 1

The above illustration shows a cover bearing the 6c Air Stamp from the 1935 set posted on the annual trip of the most northerly postal route in the world - but that is another story.

fig 4Not unnaturally the set of stamps has been known as the ’Dated Die’ set ever since. Since then almost every postage stamp issued by Canada has had a tiny date incorporated in the design somewhere. For instance in the 1967 Centenary set the 3 Cents has a small lorry in its design. The lorry naturally has a number plate - and the number? - 1967 of course.

The dates are not always easy to find, but they are almost always there. The practice continues to this day as shown by the illustration of an imprint block of the recently issued $2 designs.

The designer firm, as has become practise with the recent high values, have had some fun with this. The ‘traffic lights’ - little horses. The sky behind the falcon - tiny falcons, and similarly for the Sable Island Horses, tiny horse faces.

fig 2

Oh yes, the dates - 2005 - are there all right, but you may have a job finding them. A clue, look below the falcons tail tip. Have fun.



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Last updated on 31 December, 2018  
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