Canadian Precancels – An Underappreciated Specialty

On April 28, 2019, outgoing Vice-President Bob Bouvier, despite technical issues, gave a presentation in-the-round. Bob has kindly provided a pdf of his presentation, so click HERE to view it.

Bob also took questions from the floor, and for those he couldn’t answer, he promised to research. Below are some questions and answers he’s prepared. Thanks Bob!

I just recently presented an introductory-level program to the club on Canadian precancels covering their history and types including perfins (see our web site for the presentation). My audience asked several good questions I wasn’t able to answer to my satisfaction. I consulted the Precancel Handbook, now over 30 years old, seeking some answers but I came away feeling/hoping much more has been learned since it was published. I sent an inquiry to a noted expert in Canada and received his responses. I am adding them to my own research results.

Did Newfoundland have any precancels? PEI?

There were no precanceled stamps made with Newfoundland issues; however, Canadian precanceled stamps were available and used in Newfoundland.

Just how and by whom were the stamps overprinted? Bars? Town and city, etc.

I see now that I’ve skim-read through the handbook again that the production process wasn’t universally standardized. The absence of many records complicates the research. The early Bar types were produced in specific towns but with a few exceptions it is speculation to say they were made for only one town. The only way to tell is to study covers which show the town of origin.

Early bar cancels – are they all from different post offices? Do we know which ones? Is there any way to discern a chronological order?

Chronology of the Bar types is largely unknown except that you can tell roughly when they were used by the listings in the catalogue which shows which stamps they were used on.

Did the PO approve the perfins? Who did them?

Perfins were approved by the Post office federally and the specific perforators were mainly made in the USA. This is speculation as only 3 perforators are known to have survived and I believe all were manufactured in the USA.

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