Voices from the Engraver - Finalizing the artifacts: the stamps
This exhibition is about engravers, production processes and the beauty of postage stamps and bank notes. In the previous episode of this series we talked about the process surrounding securing the bank notes for this exhibition and how it had to take into account both the needs of the exhibition team and the concerns of the collections department. Now we’d like to talk about stamps, (hopefully not as tediously as your bachelor Uncle Frank) and show you a few from the show.
Given our preoccupation with bank notes, what we find so amazing when we widen our focus to include stamps is the sheer assortment we are faced with. Whereas it takes several years to produce a new bank note series, Canada Post will now produce between 20 and 50 fresh designs each year. The Canadian Museum of History, with whom we are partnering for this exhibition, has large holdings of stamps and proved an amazing resource for our exhibition. As far as subject matter was concerned, anything we found hard to come up with in our collection of bank notes we found we could illustrate with ten stamps from any number of eras. Our ever-helpful stamp curator was always ready with a flood tide of stamp suggestions for subjects ranging from landscape to sports heroes, from history to royalty. Rocket Richard on a bank note? Sorry, but let me check the stamp index…
The Canadian Stamp Collection, now in a permanent space on Level One near First People’s Hall, displays every Canadian stamp ever produced since 1851 - when the Province of Canada’s first stamp was introduced. That’s a display of more than 3,000 stamps when you include the pre-confederation provinces. Never mind that most of the items are, well, postage stamp sized, take it from us—it’s very impressive. Check it out if you can, otherwise have a look at the website.
You may also want to browse through Library and Archives’ impressive database of stamps, where every Canadian stamp from 1851 until 2010 is available for viewing and for research. And yes, Maurice Richard is featured on a stamp from 2000.
All images: ©Canada Post Corporation.Reproduced with permission.
Johnson’s entire family, two girls and five boys, was involved in the counterfeiting operation: dad made the plates, the daughters forged the signatures and the boys were learning to be engravers.
Among 1975 $50 bill’s various design proposals were three images, three thematic colours and even three printing methods.
Using a Bank of Canada Museum lesson plan, nearly 200 students told us who they thought should be the bank NOTE-able Canadian on our new $5 bill.
Reid was on the verge of ruin, yet insisted on continuing railway construction. Suffering huge losses, and with no credit or cash resources, Reid issued wage notes to pay his employees.
In January 2021, 17 of our old bank notes will lose their legal tender status—what does that mean?