The 8th Maynard Sundman Lecture

September 19, 2010

Charles Verge: The First Canada-US Joint Issue: The 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway Commemorative and its Famous Invert

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Thank you, Dr. Ganz.

It's always interesting to be able to talk to a group of people about a subject that one always is interested in.

And it became evident to me that this was a subject that, the St. Lawrence Seaway, which I got interested in many years ago when I first started writing for Scott Stamp Monthly.

And, but I didn't realize how much, although a historian by training, I didn't realize how much I needed to know a lot more about sources of information for philately.

But before I go into the presentation, as Cheryl mentioned, we were supposed to do this presentation on February the 6th and I was at the airport in Toronto and I was, you know, five seconds from getting on the plane before Ellen called and cancelled.

And since then I've been razzed by people saying, using the famous US Post Office Department motto that says, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet will keep you away from your appointed rounds.

So I'm glad you got the snow away.

However it's an absolutely gorgeous day outside, maybe we should have done this outside.

I'm thankful as well to the Sundman family for putting on these lectures because without the kind of support the Sundmans and other people give to the hobby, we wouldn't be able to put these presentations on.

It is very difficult to write a book on a modern subject.

And the reason for that is the stamps themselves are worthless.

And unless, like Canada you came up with a little quirk that says we have an inverted stamp, then you really have no reason to write a book of this nature.

Nobody would be interested in the subject.

It has an additional side to it. It was a joint issue between two countries.

A joint issue is a stamp issue that has, not necessarily the same design, but could have the same design.

Also it's a subject that is chosen to honor something in common.

It is not necessarily a stamp as well, it could be postal stationery, it could also just be simply a postal cancellation.

To put a book like this together requires a lot of people and a lot of information because it's not necessarily readily available.

This is not the 1847s, this is not the first issues of Britain which had been written and overwritten to a certain, to a lot.

So to write a book like this you have to go to primary sources.

And it can be very helpful to have friends, like the late Wilson Hulme and Cheryl, to get you entries into the US Post Office Department, and get you entries into the BEP, the Bureau of Engraving Printing, to get that kind of information.

So it's good it's very rewarding to be able, in this hobby, to be able to help each other out.

However it can also be there very frustrating because when I went to the Canadian Postal Archives and looked for the production files, which are for the American version are sitting right here at the museum in the third Assistant Postmaster General's file, I was all excited because there was all kinds of information.

And so I'm leafing through the first volume of information and I get to May 24th.

The stamp by the way was issued on June 26th.

So where is Volume 2? Well Volume 2 which would have covered the period from May 24th to the first day of issue on June 26th and everything that may have happened in the post office when they discovered the inverted Seaway, has disappeared.

It is not there.

So, one of the major stumbling blocks in preparing a book like this is not the post office's reaction to the inverted Seaway, not having the post office's information on what happened on the first day of issue, because we'll see later on it was not an easy task for either country, the first day of issue.

Thank God that they wrote to each other, and this is where the cooperation came in.

Thank God we have a British parliamentary system where the post office had to write to the Postmaster General and keep him informed in the shape of memoranda as to what was happening because Postmaster General Hamilton's papers are in the archive.

So I was able to get his copy of the memoranda talking about the inverted Seaways.

But the research to do this kind of book is extremely difficult because it is so, it's all over the place.

And you get also some very sometimes very lucky.

A gentleman called Joseph Montero has put a book together over a bibliography of articles written about Canadian stamps in the 19, in the, since the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and in that book, in the bibliography is a list of over 200 daily newspapers which he consulted that wrote about the inverted Seaway when it was first found in September and October.

That saves so much time for me not having to go looking at each newspaper every newspaper every day across the country.

Now having said that it wasn't complete and I found other articles but it was still a huge boon because all I had to do was go to the Canadian Postal Archive, the Canadian National Archives and sit there and go through micro films and I knew exactly which newspaper in which page to go looking for.

So doing research for a book like this is very paramount. Is very important.

It can be so much fun and you can find all kinds of sidelines and details that you never thought you would.

The book has a number of chapters. I'm not going to go through them.

I'm not going to list them for you. But what I'm going to say is the book, is that I tried to make a balanced book.

I tried to make it interesting for the general public, interesting for the collector, but also interesting for the historian.

Because this was the first negotiated joint issue or the first joint issue between our two countries and it also brought in the whole politics of diplomatic relations.

And so I wanted to make sure that that part of the equation was also covered.

Because cross-border negotiations wasn't something they were used to doing at the post offices at the time.

They were used to doing treaties about postal rates but certainly not about stamp designs.

The one thing that I'm going to very quickly talk about as well is the St. Lawrence Seaway itself.

Now I was young when it happened.

I didn't realize until I started writing the book how big the St. Lawrence Seaway was.

How big an economical benefit it was going to be for the country.

How much people were excited about the development of this highway that would bring goods from the Atlantic all the way up to the lake head and Chicago and past.

It was a big thing. It was a big thing for the economy. It was a big thing for politicians.

It was a big thing for philatelists as well.

It costs over half a billion dollars to build it.

I'm going to use the term buried but it swallowed villages and cemeteries and all kinds of things to create this, what they now have a renamed by the way in 2004, it is no longer the St. Lawrence Seaway, it's called Highway H2O.

Why? I have no idea. But I guess you have to be modern in your interpretation of what somebody should call it. New branding, I guess.

So the St. Lawrence Seaway was a very, very big thing.

It was so big in fact, that they, in 1956, three years before it was even opened, they invited the Queen, who is also the Queen of Canada, to come and open the Seaway.

And they made arrangements with the American government to have President Eisenhower also there to open the Seaway.

Was this a joint first issue? Well the answer to that question is, depends.

There was a movement called Peace Among the English People which was a movement in 1914 to put together a series of commemorative meetings for the end of the War of 1812, and between Britain and the United States.

The idea was to do many commemorative events, meetings, balls, and parades, and all kinds of things.

But also to issue stamps, and the two top stamps were designed by the BEP for this event.

The one at the bottom, the one cent, is very similar in concept and design to the two cents from the US.

There were two more Canadian snaps that were prepared as well.

And showing the Coats of Arms of Britain and Canada, and the Treaty of Ghent which ended the war of 1812-1814.

The five cents with the Treaty of Ghent was also a a design that was adopted by the BEP.

There are two more BEP designs and so there are four all together from the west side that were prepared, very similar in size to the current ones that you see, but also one of them showing the Treaty of Ghent, the other one showed President James Madison who was the president at the time.

The stamps were never issued as you well know.

And they weren't issued because it was deemed inappropriate to celebrate peace amongst the English-speaking people when we were at World War I, during World War I.

And so that's why the stamps were never issued.

But they had planned some kind of joint issue.

Now had it been planned to be issued on the same day? The archives don't say. But it was planned to be issued in December of 1914 which was the anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent.

The Canada one-cent stamp as an aside was used, the design for that was used for another series or it was used for a 50-cent value in another series which was not issued either, to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the first Canadian Prime Minister Johnny MacDonald.

And that was again because the war intervened and paper was better used for something else.

And it was used, the design was used again for a third time or for a special delivery stamp, you know, it was rejected again so nobody tried to try a fourth time.

This man Lloyd J. Merryman who was born in 1890 and died in 1986, is the man responsible for the joint issues.

He is to blame, for those of you who don't think we should have had joint issues, because there are people who didn't believe we should have joint issues in 1959.

There were people writing letters to the editors and to politicians for all kinds of reasons, saying that, and most of them more nationalistic, for reasons of national pride or whatever, in Canada, they thought it was because if we did that then we'd have, we would be looked at from the rest of the world as the 51st state in the United States, that they didn't like because the eagle was below the maple leaf on the design and the reason for that is quite simple the U.S. is below Canada in geography.

But Merryman, that photo comes from the Canton repository, he was a very, very good promoter, a bit like Allen Kane, he always went selling things.

And he served in World War I in France.

He was a reporter for the American Expeditionary Force newspaper called Stars and Stripes.

And he spent a fair amount of time on the editorial staff of the Marian Star when President Harding was its publisher.

But he spent most of his career from 1921 to 1955 working as editor of various publications of the Hoover Company.

And what's shown here is the captain when he received from the Postmaster General Summerfield, a sheet of signed stamps by Summerfield.

He went straight to the Canton Repository which was a local newspaper and had them write him up, and had them take a photo of him with his stamps because for him it was extremely important to be recognized as the person who was responsible.

The US Post Office and the Canadian Post Office do not normally recognize an individual as the originator of the idea.

They say they received the idea from many people but for him it was extremely important to be recognized.

Summerfield never officially recognized them.

And in the book you'll see why but also in the book you'll see that he did finally get recognition but he got it from the Canadian government.

What he did is he wrote a letter and in it, it says, I would like to go on record with the suggestion that when an appropriate time arrives in connection with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway a commemorative postage stamp be issued jointly by the United States and Canada.

He wrote that letter on June 1st, 1955.

And in that letter, he wrote it to his congressman a Republican, and in that letter he says, do you remember that in the fall of 1954 at a rally at the American Legion in Canton, Ohio, I suggested this? Well he suggested this at this rally which was in September of 1954 a couple of weeks after they first put the shovel into the ground on August the 10th for the groundbreaking.

So he was quite at the forefront by his letter to Congressman Bow to get the the idea going.

In 1956 it was confirmed that the Queen would come and open the St. Lawrence Seaway.

And the Canadian government had planned to issue three stamps for the visit and for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

One stamp would be the Queen, one stamp would show the St. Lawrence Seaway opening, and a third would be hydroelectric.

Because at the time the St. Lawrence Seaway was more than just an important waterway to carry goods, it was also going to create a lot of electricity by different dams it was going to have.

The design chosen for the Queen was, this is an essay by Tom Prosser based on engraving by George Gundersen from a painting by Pietro Annigoni, and it is basically the stamp that was issued.

And the idea though that because it was going to be associated with the Seaway, they put little waves in the back of the design. It's more evident on this one.

And as an aside we were talking at brunch this morning with Allen about the idea that museums think about items as each individual stamp is a separate item.

The Canadian Postal Museum has that view as well.

So below each of them there's an entry number for each individual stamp rather than the whole item which as philatelists we consider to be the more important thing.

So they don't have an identification number for the item.

They have an identification number for each of the different stamps on the item.

And I feel that that is, you know, a crime to have written those numbers on that document because it changes the nature of the original document.

The cover beside it it's basically a usage of the stamp.

The Queen arrived in Canada on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

And the Royal Yacht Britannia was used as the vehicle to carry her and President Eisenhower across the Saint-Lambert locks to open the St. Lawrence Seaway.

But after that was done President Eisenhower went back to Washington.

She kept sailing up to Massena and she opened the US side of the St. Lawrence Seaway with Vice President Nixon.

She then got off the ship later on. She took the ship all the way up the Great Lakes and then she got off the ship and kept on going across Canada on the Royal Train.

So this was posted sometime in July from the Royal Train with the flag officers of the Royal Yacht Britannia's cancelling device.

As I said earlier, the the Canadian Post Office had decided to have three stamps.

And the one that for the St. Lawrence Seaway, what they wanted to do is do construction.

And they were going to have this design by Ellen Pollock changed slightly to include Seaway marine kind of construction.

And then the other one was going to be the Queen which we saw earlier.

And the third one was going to be a hydroelectric. And I particularly like this stamp.

I think it's a beautiful stamp design. It's unfortunate we've never used it.

Because as you will see later on, as a joint issue, the three stamps went by the wayside.

The Postmaster General William Hamilton sent the third design by Pollock to Summerfield after Summerfield wrote to William Hamilton and said, okay we'd like to do a joint issue.

Joint issue was something that the Americans supported from the very outset.

They negotiated with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has two branches one in Canada, one in the US.

The Canadian one went to the Canadian Post Office and the Canadian Post Office said, no we're not interested in joint issues at all, at all, at all.

In June of 1957 the government changed in Canada from a liberal government to a conservative government and William Hamilton became Postmaster General and he was all for it.

And so the Canadian Post Office officials had to reverse track.

So they sent this design to Summerfield as an idea of what could be done and had already been developed by Canadian designers.

They had meetings with the Saint Lawrence Seaway Authority and the St. Lawrence Seaway authorities representative, a man called Barrio said, you know we should have this competition you know, countrywide competition for the design.

The post office said no we don't do that, and he gave all kinds of ideas and suggestions and finally the post office after being harassed by him for months decided to agree that they would use one of his designers from the St. Lawrence Seaway a guy called Haye, who came up with that design which looks exactly like Pollock's design.

But the post office did not want to use Haye. And so they went to the National Gallery of Canada and they got the creator of the National Gallery of Canada to really just destroy Haye's stamp really, really destroy it with a whole list of reasons why it shouldn't be chosen.

When you look at it, and you look at Pollock's design which was sent to Summerfield, there is very, very little difference. So why would one be good and one not? Politics comes to play. The stamp that Pollock had done had been drawn in '57.

In '58, he sent this new design to the Postmaster General and said this is a revised version of what I did a year earlier.

But the Deputy Postmaster General had also sent him a letter earlier and said you know could you incorporate these elements of the design? Now this is what I call the design by committee.

The Postmaster General wanted the stamp to show the globe from the North Pole and include all the Canadian Arctic Islands. Why did he want to do that? Well because we could assumed responsibility, our sovereignty on the on the Arctic Islands.

He wanted a map of eastern Canada. He wanted the Atlantic and Western European shipping lanes and at the time the government of Canada was developing Frobisher Bay in the Arctic as an international airport for the trans shipping of commercial goods. So he wanted to show that as well.

And so it was just a hogwash of design. And thank God it wasn't ever accepted.

It would never have gone through anyway as a joint issue.

The P at the bottom in the 1950s and late 40s, 1950s and early '60s, designers in Canada were allowed to put their initial on the stamp. So that's Pollock's initial.

Now we come to real hard work in negotiations. On July 10th, 1958, the Postmasters General agreed that there would be a meeting. And the meeting was held in Ottawa and these are the people, let's be honest, these are the men who got involved in the joint issue.

As you can see there's not a woman in there. They're important for a lot of reasons because you will see that none of them or diplomats. There was no involvement of the Foreign Affairs or the Secretary of State's office in this in this business of joint issues.

It was left up to the two post offices.

The man, I'll start with the people who are sitting.

The one on the left is Bernard Davis who was the Director of the National Postal Museum in Philadelphia.

The second is Donald Macleod. He was a Superintendent of Engraving and Plating at the Bureau of Engraving and printing.

The third is a man called Rohe Walter and we'll talk about him, he was a Special Assistant to the Postmaster General and he was Chairman of the American stamp Advisory committee or the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

The next of the Canadian Postmaster General Will Hamilton and his Deputy to his left, G.A. Boyle who was the guy who did the design by committee.

The five men at the top left are the designers that were involved in a different design process for these stamps. They are always quoted as a group as being responsible for the stamp that was finally issued.

There was never any one of them given credit for the design as we'll see one of them should get the credit.

The five of them, there are two Canadians and three Americans.

So you have Copeland on the left. The shorter man in front of him is Irvin Metzel.

The two men in the back are A. L. Pollock with gray hair and Gerald Trottier.

And then the other one in front of Trottier is a man called Buckley.

And beside them is D. M. Coolican who was the President of the Canadian Banknote Company who were going to print the stamps.

J. R. Carpenter who's of Philatelic Section for the Canadian Post Office Superintendent.

H. L. Linquist who was a member of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

Sol Glass who was also a member of the United States Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

The very, very tall man is a guy called Malcolm and he was the Director of Administration for the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority which is the Canadian arm.

Beside him is Frank Bruns who was at the time between his two stints as Museum Director, he was the Director of the Philatelic Service at the U.S.P.O.D.

And the last man is Donald Buchanan the Assistant Director of the National Gallery of Canada who was part of the Canadian stamp Advisory Committee and the one who trashed the Haye design.

Rohe Walter and William Hamilton were the two main people involved in the negotiations for this joint issue.

Rohe Walter was born in 1899 and died in 1966.

And he was an advertising manager and ended up being the President of the Direct Mail Advertising Association.

And he then went on to teach at Columbia but he spent the Eisenhower years as a special assistant for public relations to the Postmaster General from 1953 to 1961.

He was the first Chairman of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee from 1957 to 1961.

He and William Hamilton, had it not been for those two men I don't think that there would have been as much cooperation because they were both very interested in stamps, extremely interested in stamps.

And so William Hamilton Faraz is the probably the second most important Postmaster General for philatelic reasons in Canada after Sir William Mulock in the 1890s, who created, you know who was really a man who brought us the Jubilee issues and brought us all kinds of things, and the map stamp which we were very famous for as the first Canadian as the first Christmas stamp.

Hamilton was a business administrator and Montreal City Councilor before being elected to the Parliament of Canada in 1953.

And he lost his seat in 1962. He was a Postmaster General from '57 to '62.

He annoyed a number of his colleagues with a passion because prior to his becoming Postmaster General, postmasterships were rewards for party supporters and if you were a postmaster you'd get kicked out when the government changed.

He stopped that.

He also drew the ire which most Postmasters General would still get today because he started closing inefficient and small post offices.

So he was not a very popular man with his colleagues in government.

The other problem, the other reason, you can look at him, physically he's not very attractive, a bigger head than his body, was a very small man, but he also had cerebral palsy, and he had a brain disorder, and he walked with great difficulty, and his arm was atrophied to a certain extent.

But he had quite a mind apparently even with this cerebral palsy.

At that meeting on the 10th of July 1958, it was decided that three elements would be used for the design and that would be the trident, the eagle, and the maple leaf.

This is the crest of St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation which is the American side of the coin.

At the end of that meeting Pollock went back home and created this design.

His loops are supposed to be the trident and you see the the maple leaf and the eagle.

He refined that, made it look like a real design and that was sent to the US Post Office.

But it's a quite an original design because if you take the wording United States Post Office, St. Lawrence Seaway, and four cents away you get this.

And then you get the Canadian version.

And so that was to be the joint issue based on Pollack's view of what the conversation was in October.

The post office didn't like anything that came out of the October meeting and so it decided to come out with another set of designs that were produced by Philip Weiss who was an artist at the Trade and Commerce office.

And those were, this one was sent to the US Post Office Department and these two which were again similar models were kept in Canada.

They were never seen. They have never been seen together until I put them in the book because the top one is still here in the USPS and the other two are in Canada.

Buckley used the July 10th meeting to show his proposed designs on the left and Copeland used the October meeting to show these.

Buckley came back on October 17th and he came back with which is now the, more the design that was accepted.

And so we now know that Buckley is the one responsible for the design.

There was a number of design issues and they're all related to the maple leaf and they the eagle.

And as you saw in the previous one the maple leaf looks a little weird.

And so the Canadian government sent the US Post Office a, they tore, they cut out a piece of a military promotion and recruitment poster and sent that to the post office. The post office used that leaf to design these.

But you'll see the eagle at the top has lower shoulders and he's sitting on a piece of wood.

And the eagle at the bottom has higher shoulders and is sitting on an olive branch which is the design that was selected, but it was rather interesting.

People think that the eagle looks more militaristic when the wings are up.

The reason is a design reason. It has nothing to do with militaristic.

It's just that if you look at the other one, his wings fell into the lakes, the Great Lakes.

And so they wanted something that would put the eagle apart.

Pollock was a Canadian designer. Trottier was another one. This is an envelope signed by both of them.

Privacy to information didn't exist at the time. So if you wrote to the post office and said I want the address of the designers they give you the address of the designers and you could write to them and say, can I have your signatures on covers? They would never do that today.

And Yves Baril is the guy who engraved the the vignette.

Metzel as I showed you, is one of them. The modeler was Charles Chickering.

The engraver of the vignette was a guy called Bauer, Richard Bauer.

The letterer engraving was George Pain.

I don't have other pictures of Copeland and Buckley except the ones I showed you as a group photograph.

This is the accepted artwork by both post offices.

And Rohe Walter requested that they play with colors, that Buckley play with colors.

At the time, at the outset the stamp was to be blue, both stamps were to be blue, not a single color stamp as it was done at the time.

And then there was a decision to make the the US stamp blue with red lettering and Canadian snap red with blue lettering.

And so Buckley went around playing with different possibilities of colors.

And the Canadian government with that red decided to have a different number of essays to show different reds and you know, color is in the eyes of the beholders.

But these were the six essays that for me not only were important to them to choose the red but were important for me to see of the printer had done the right thing with my book.

Because those are the six images I used in the book, to make sure that I had the right color for everything else.

The approved design was signed on April the 6th by our Postmaster General.

But it already had been signed three weeks earlier by Summerfield on March 17th.

The reason for the delay is that the American post office had forgotten to tell the Canadian post office they'd changed the eagle, and they had changed the eagle sitting on an olive branch.

So it is only when McLeod came with the final design approved that the engraver realized that there had been a change and had to re-engrave a Canadian version of the stamp.

First day of issue, June 26, 1959.

This is the Ottawa Post Office and this is where they processed the first day covers.

They were all processed in Ottawa.

Contrary to the US where Messina was the only site for first day covers, in Canada you could buy the stamps anywhere.

There's only one official site but you could buy the stamps anywhere so there are first day covers from all over the country available from any post office.

There's a film that Summerfield made about this stamp and its production.

And in the film, which was rescued by Daniel Piazza for me, it shows all the mail being sorted by men and all the first day covers being prepared by women.

And in the documents it does say, to the postmaster in Messina, Frank Bruns wrights to the postmaster in Messina and says, please hire women to prepare the first day covers, they're much more meticulous.

I thought that was quite interesting.

But there's not a woman sorter in the place.

These are examples of first day covers, different cancellations, the official cancellation at the top from Canada, from the Ottawa Post Office.

This is the one complaint I got about the book, there's not enough information and not of examples of first day covers.

The first day cover collecting group really, really wanted a lot more.

They wanted me to put a whole list of cachets.

These are the American examples.

Now one of the important things about the American examples that I want to talk about is the two lower ones.

The US had machine cancels which is the one on the left, lower left, and had seven hand cancels which are the cancels on the on the right.

The problems that arose with first day covers go on, and on, and on, and on, but both post offices would not recognize the fact that a stamp was canceled in another country.

If a stamp was cancelled in another country, they would not cancel it again.

The Canadians were very adamant that you could not cancel both stamps with the Canadian cancel.

The Americans said we don't care.

We will cancel them both from the different countries together but it either has to be at the left of the US which is the one on the lower left or below the one in the US which is the one on the lower right.

There are 10% of the covers prepared this way, look like the one on the left.

90% look like the one on the right.

People preferred putting it below then to the left.

And I think that has to do more with the fact that the cancel, if he put it to the left the cancel was hidden.

This was totally legal.

This was not something that because one country had canceled before the other it was totally illegal.

And it's not easy.

You had to go in 1959, buy the stamps in Massena, New York and then go up to Ottawa or vice versa buy the stamps because each post office did not sell the other's postage stamps.

This is fascinating because a man called Gilbert Hubbard of Susie's Service in Brooklyn, New York got his covers confiscated by the Postmaster in Massena, New York because he had tried to do this, put both cancels like we saw in the previous one, and then later on in the fall he discovered that some of the ones, like his, that had been confiscated wore on sale in New York.

So he made a complaint to the UPOD who sent two inspectors called Bader and Kelly.

And they wrote a five page report in November of 1959.

What's interesting in that report is that the gentleman, that a woman called Gladys Jackson who was a wholesaler of first day covers in New York, told the inspectors that they were very, very jealous when they found out that this guy could figure out how to do the trick of folding these things so that the post office would not notice that it had been previously canceled.

And she identified the man as being a man from Ohio.

Well it turns out that I have never found a cover from a man from Ohio.

The two covers on the left are from a guy called Walsh who lived in Detroit and he produced these.

The one on the right I never knew who it was until I started looking at the back of these things and there were at least four them with the same name in the back Neville Spence who was a government official who worked at Agriculture Canada and lived in Ottawa.

So these are some of the more difficult to acquire first day covers of the issue.

There was a second day of issue.

This is common in the United States but doesn't exist in Canada.

And Alfred Borger who is the cachet maker for the one at the bottom was a friend of Frank Bruns and convinced Frank Brunz that the second day of issue should be in Toledo, Ohio.

The top right corner is a cachet unadopted prepared by the Post Office stamps staff in Toledo.

And this is the program.

Now the program is the original program, the first program of a second day program.

There's never been a second day program before this one.

I'm going to have to go quicker, I guess.

The inverted Seaway It's the best thing that ever happened Canadian philately according to Dr. Geldard who was president of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada at the time.

It was better than the Queen visiting. How did it happen? We'll go through these different things. So we go quickly.

The Canadian stamp was printed through two passes and so it had to move the blue first, and then the red first, to get the double colors.

In the U.S. it could not happen because they use the Giori Press and the Giori could print two colors at the same time.

And that's what they did and that's why it happened in Canada.

Here's a slide that shows how many inverted Seaways were discovered.

One of the problems, as you can see for the last one, there's a lot more than people think, 4,275 of them, which is a lot of panes of stamps.

3,800 of those were found by the printer before they got to the public and they were destroyed.

And here's the destruction order.

It was really a hunt in Canada once Valesky who was on the top right decided to advertise the fact that these inverted Seaways came around.

The guy on the left is a man called Ernest Slutchuk, at the top. He was 18 years old.

He was a messenger for a company in Winnipeg and he was sent by the woman Mildred Mason who's with all the huge bundles of one dollar bills, to buy stamps at the post office.

And she was putting them on the envelopes and discovered the inverted Seaway.

They brought Valesky and the rest is history.

The people on the left at the bottom are Fred and Lucy Hubbard.

And she bought a half sheet of the stamps and became very famous in the sense that she was very wise and how she sold them but she managed to sell them in a way such that she had enough money to put both of her kids and all three her grandchildren through university.

So she waited and bided her time.

The three men at the bottom with their stamp dealer at the top Jean les Pins are very important in the, they're very important the story because they're sheet became an extremely important, Winnipeg was the original find.

A couple of weeks later the Postmaster General said there were 600, we know where they all are, and there were sheets of 200 so only three sheets had been printed inverted.

There were six in private hands, one in Winnipeg, one in Southampton, two in Picton, one in Ottawa, one in Smiths Falls, and one had been returned from Winnipeg by the postal officials, one had been returned by Peterborough and they had found four in the Canadian banknotes depository where they were mailing them out.

So for the Postmaster General there were only three hundred only three sheets of 200.

However, up comes Joliette which is another 50, which does no longer allow.

So there are three more sheets. There has to be three more panes of the stamps.

So instead of 600 there are now at 800.

Where are they? Dr. Geldert who we talked about earlier, Illustrated two corner blocks in two different articles in 1959 and are not the same.

So there has to have been access by him to two different sheets in Ottawa.

There's a mere rumor that the Postmaster General Mr. Hamilton may have had a sheet and it was still intact in the 1980s, but nobody knows what has happened to it.

The one that is more verifiable is the Postmaster outside Winnipeg who started selling, never returned his sheet, and started selling the stamps when he needed money to go on holidays and all of the stamps that come from that find are all sold through Harmer's.

So they have never had another provenance, they just appear.

All of a sudden there's a block of six one night in 2006 at Harmer's that comes from the same sheet that Harmer's sold singles from 20 years ago.

So that one has more credibility.

There's a story that the Royal Philatelic Collection may have gotten half the sheet of 25 that came from Winnipeg.

So much work has been done by three previous keepers, the current keeper and others, and no she didn't get it.

Then there was a rumor that we sent them a block of four in 1977 for her 25th anniversary on the throne.

That's not true either. So she has no Inverted Seaways.

The post office kept them.

And so they had two sheets, one from Winnipeg, one from Peterborough.

The sheet from Peterborough is still intact. They broke the sheets from Winnipeg into two.

Twenty five of them, a block of 25 was put on a card and stolen at a stamp show, and their whereabouts are now unknown.

This is the sheet of 50 that it currently is in Library and Archives Canada.

This is the 25 that have been stolen. And, low and behold, the corner one appeared at a stamp dealers auction in 2004.

The archives went back and said, hey, that's ours, and they got it back.

The value of the stamps really depends on their condition and the market and I'm not getting getting into that.

But it really depends on how good the condition, the condition, most of them it's not that good.

The centering is not that good either.

Most of them have difficulty with their gums and the quality because people kept them in their pockets when they found them.

There are 16 known on cover which includes, but the one postcard which is uprated and six on piece.

They're all documented. We know exactly where they are, who's got them and it's all mentioned in the book.

Is there a US rarity of the issue? Yep, there is.

There are two recorded and there should be six more because again the U.S. stamps were printed in plates, or sheets of 200.

And this is it. It is a plate block that had, there's the number 26 343, that should not exist.

On February 27, 1963 George Brett wrote to the United States Post Office and said this is not recorded.

The BEP and the Post Office responded that they printed 669 sheets from this, and they were all destroyed because they were damaged and the plate was too small.

How these came into the public domain, God knows.

But Brett assumed that postal inspectors saw a couple of the sheets when they were looking at them to be in good enough condition to sell and so they let them go through.

That's the only explanation they could come up with.

But if you can find another one of these plate blocks, the two upper left are known so there should be you know the two upper right and the two upper the lower left and the two lower rights as well.

But they have never appeared within the 1960s. Brett knew the two in the 1960s.

So that's it. There's a lot more in the book, a lot more social interests, a lot more social information about who found them, where they, you know, where they are.

A lot more details about the listing of the covers, stories about the covers, and also the large multiples that are still in existence and where they come from.

Because many of the larger multiples have been broken down into smaller sizes.

Dr. Ganz? Well, thank you.


So we're going to have a little time for Q&A;.

And remember this is recorded so we're going to ask that you speak into a microphone.

Kate over here we'll have a microphone and I have one, depending on where you are in the room.

So we'll open the floor to questions and don't be shy.

While you're thinking of the question to ask...

Our museum is lucky enough to own one invert.

We did have it on view in the Alphabetilately exhibit which is still up but we've replaced it with a facsimile because of light protection purposes.

A lot of you know that if you expose stamps to too much light the ink can fade.

So we only left it up for about a year.

That stamp was donated to the museum by a man called George Ludlow Lee whose picture is up in the new exhibition by the way.

And he was the owner of the largest number of inverted Seaways at the time in 1961.

The other thing that was important about this National Postal Museum is they have a plate proof sheet that shows which plates were pulled and which weren't.

It's indicated at the bottom, including the fact that this very rare plate was in fact printed but was never pulled.

So they don't have a copy of the rare plate pull here.

And that's a good moment for me to segue into a plug for Arago, that's part of our website.

It's our online database and if you go on and search Seaway, or any other keyword, up will come all the stamps and everything we have related to that stamp.

And you can enlarge them. And it's a great website, if you've never been on it.

Now I know you're just all eager to put your hand up any other any thoughts? Yes, Bill? Was there an investigation of how this error occurred, and was blame placed on somebody, or heads roll? Investigations definitely.

Hamilton really, really wanted to know how it happened.

Nobody's head rolled, that I know of, because the files have disappeared.

And so there's no proof that anybody got blamed for it, except the printers.

And that didn't change Coolican's life because he was still around for another five years as President of the Canadian Bank Note.

But from that point on the post office was much more vigilant about sending its own inspectors into the printing plant.

The other thing that was interesting, this was the first issue of Canada that was not distributed by the post office to local post offices.

It was the first issue to have been distributed directly from the printers to the depots across the country as per the agreement that the government had made with the printers.

That agreement continued after but the postal department sent inspectors to look at the material before to do the quality control.

It still does today. The Canadian post office still does today but on an ad hoc basis.

It doesn't do it on a regular basis.

It does it mainly for our, it does it regularly for the annual Lunar New Year souvenir sheet and the stamp simply because it's printed in over ten colors, and it's got embossing, and it's got foil, and it's got so many possibilities of errors so they do that.

Anyone else with a question? Yes? I am not a philatelist and my very untrained eye may be in error here but, I'm wondering if the invert shown on the screen is an example of a poorly centered invert? I say that simply because the tops of the letters of the word Canada kiss the the blue image...

They all do. the middle, whereas the right side up ones, they don't.

If they don't, it's a forgery. They all kiss the image.

And that's because, that's how the design was done.

So if you reverse the lettering, as you notice the lettering at the top is smaller on a regular stamp.

The other thing I wanted to mention is, it doesn't look like it on the cover of the book, but the Canadian stamp and the U.S. stamp are not the same size.

The US stamp is slightly wider.

And the blue on the Canadian stamp and the blue on the U.S. stamp are of different hues.

And the reason for that is because originally the choice was to use a blue that was more a sea blue, or an ocean blue, which was conceived to be an ocean blue not an ocean green.

But Rohe Walter, at the last minute, decided he wanted the blue on a US stamp to be the same blue as on the US flag.

Okay one last question? Then I'll ask it.

So were there many forgeries? No. It was very, very difficult to create the forgeries.

There was an attempt by a couple of people in Vancouver.

It was very, very difficult to attempt to do that. They couldn't get the color right.

They couldn't get the paper right.

And they exist in the Canadian Postal Museum but they don't exist in the market.

What people are doing however is they're cutting the inside blue part and reversing it.

Now believe it or not, there are first day covers like that, except that when you look at them very closely they chose the proper lines so the lines wouldn't touch the blue part and would only touch the white and the red lettering.

They cut the inside and they put a new one on top of the other one. It's, that is what's very, very common.

I remember going, and this story is in the book, I went to a stamp show to judge and a local stamp show in Kingston, Ontario and a man had in his exhibit an inverted Seaway.

And it was evident that he had cut out, or somebody had cut out, the middle and reversed the thing.

He kept insisting that it was genuine. He kept insisting that it was genuine.

Even if I found out later, that I was the third judge in a row, and three years in a row to tell him that it was a fake.

He died recently and his estate was given to a dealer to sell.

And the dealer sends me an email, and he says, do you know about this inverted Seaway fake? Yes But he still till the day he died, still had his sheet saying it was a genuine one.

Well, thank you very much.

About Charles Verge

Charles Verge headshot

Historian Charles Verge, is past-president of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada and the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, curator of the Canadian National Stamp Collection, a prolific writer, exhibitor, and judge. He has written three books and over 200 articles related to philately in newspapers, specialized magazines, and general publications. He is a member of many local, national, and international philatelic organizations. Verge has been honored as a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for his philatelic achievements