The first Canada stamps, inscribed “Canada” were issued in 1851. The three different values showing the American Beaver, Prince Albert and also Queen Victoria. The 12d black depicting a youthful Queen Victoria is Canada's most famous rarity. However, few have survived and several were allegedly destroyed in London during the 1970s when they blew out of a window during a heatwave! During the ‘Colony of Canada’ stamp issuing period of 1851–1864 the stamps are of the same status as the provinces of British Columbia and also Vancouver Island. In addition, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are accepted as the first Canada stamps.
Canada stamp collections run seamlessly from the 1864 2c rose-red ‘Colony’ stamp to the ‘Dominion of Canada’ 1868. Small and large Queen stamps which with their different printings and papers, display a fabulous array of colours and shades. They also include many plate flaws and re-entries recognised by collectors.
Canada stamps are amongst the most studied in British Empire philately. The melancholy “Widows Weeds” design of 1893, the grandeur a few years later of the 1897 Jubilee series which riskily placed a young and old Victoria alongside each other. In addition, the spectacular engravings which dominated Canadian stamp design through much of the 20th Century. Also the beautiful modern stamps which surprise and delight still.