2003-2004 Rate Definitives Wind Down
December 30, 2004
BRC

As the January 17, 2005 date that the new postal rates become effective approaches, the life of the stamps issued for the previous rates in 2003-2004 are coming to and end. Five basic rate designs, with three different values, were issued on December 19, 2003 to accommodate new postal rates that were to come effective in early January, 2004. In addition, a $5 stamp with a moose was issued to replace the $5 library stamp, issued in 1996.

The illustration at the left is what Canada Post used on it's website and in it's catalog Details, depicting the basic designs. A caption stated they "may not be exactly as shown". This held true for the 80c and $1.40 coil stamps - the die cut perforations were actually on the vertical sides rather than the horizontal sides as illustrated. Ironically, reprints later in the year had the perforations on the horizontal sides! These two attractive stamps were also issued straight-cut all around, in panes of six. Single stamps are shown below.

In 2004, there were one or more reprints for all values, which led to many collecting varieties. Following is an itemized list of all known printings for each design, in order of availability. The printer, paper and other differences are noted.


49c Flag Over Edmonton

  1. Pane of 10, straight die cut on 4 sides

    1. Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
      Date Issued: December 19, 2003
    2. Printer: Canadian Bank Note, Fasson paper (F)
      Date Issued: July, 2004
    3. Printer: Canadian Bank Note, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
      Date Issued: September, 2004

49c Queen Elizabeth

  1. Pane of 10, straight die cut on 4 sides

    1. Printer: Canadian Bank Note, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
      Date Issued: December 19, 2003
    2. Printer: Canadian Bank Note, Fasson paper (F)
      Date Issued: July, 2004

49c Maple Leaf

  1. Rolls of 100, simulated horizontal perforations, rouletted backing paper
    Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
    Date Issued: December 19, 2003

    Note: Shade varieties exist for the colouring of the leaf, varying from orange to orange red.
     

  2. Rolls of 100, straight cut on 4 sides, no rouletting on backing paper;
    Blue sky; green seed shading extends close to right edge; full die cut of paper on vertical edges where stamps join each other.
    Printer: Canadian Bank Note, Fasson paper (F)
    Date Issued: September, 2004

Note: Shade varieties exist, mainly with the colour of the sky. There is evidence on a second printing, but more information is needed.


80c Maple Leaf


 

 

 

  1. Pane of 6, straight die cut on 4 sides
     
    1. Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
      Date Issued: December 19, 2003
    2. Printer: Lowe-Martin, Fasson paper (F)
      Date Issued: July, 2004
       
  2. Coil Roll of 50, simulated perforations vertically
    Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
    Date Issued: December 19, 2003
     
  3. Coil Roll of 50, simulated perforations horizontally
    Printer: Lowe-Martin, Fasson paper (F)
    Date Issued: July, 2004

$1.40 Maple Leaf

  1. Pane of 6, straight die cut on 4 sides
     
    1. Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
      Date Issued: December 19, 2003
    2. Printer: Lowe-Martin, Fasson paper (F)
      Date Issued: July, 2004
       
  2. Coil Roll of 50, simulated perforations vertically
    Printer: Ashton Potter, Tullis Russell Coatings paper (C)
    Date Issued: December 19, 2003
     
  3. Coil Roll of 50, simulated perforations horizontally
    Printer: Lowe-Martin, Fasson paper (F)
    Date Issued: July, 2004

Panes can be distinguished by marginal inscriptions, but can each printing be distinguished from each other as single stamps?  In most cases, yes!

Link: Identifying the different printings of the 2003-04 rate definitives. <coming soon>


Postal Rate Usage:

  • 49c
    First class letter rate up to 30 grams in Canada
     
  • 80c
    First class letter rate up to 30 grams to the United States
    First class letter rate up to 50 grams in Canada
     
  • $1.45
    First class letter rate to all other countries
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email: briancannon@shaw.ca