Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Stamp

1998-05-09: BRC Press Release #2

Canada Post and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) have introduced the first Canadian stamps to be made available for sale through automated teller machines (ATMs). Since April 20, CIBC customers in south-central Ontario have been able to purchase the stamps at 22 non-branch ATM locations, such as malls and convenience stores. The program is on a one-year trial basis. Customers can purchase the stamps the same way they make deposits, withdrawals and bill payments. The cost of the stamp pane, which is dispensed through the cash slot, is debited from their accounts.

The stamps were produced in sheets of 18, in self-adhesive format. The pane size is exactly the same size and thickness of the Canadian paper currency in order to allow it to be dispensed properly. The center gutter can be removed, to allow the pane to be folded in half, creating a wallet sized booklet. Grottschalk + Ash International produced the stylized maple leaf design, and the American firm of Avery-Dennison printed the stamps with four-colour photogravure. A security feature is incorporated on the red maple leaf, consisting of the word CANADA repetitively in purple microlettering.

The official first day of sale, at philatelic counters only, was 14 April 1998. Canada Post has classified the stamp as a definitive issue, despite producing it in limited quantities. 4,500,00 stamps were produced, which equates to only 250,000 panes. This seems rather low, considering the appeal it will have to collectors, including those who specialize in definitive stamp, self-adhesives, and experimental issues. Covers posted from the ATM areas would be desirable acquisitions, especially those posted on the CIBC envelopes available at the machines, normally used for deposits.

The United States produced the world's first ATM stamps. They were first introduced in Seattle, Washington, on May 18, 1990. They were also printed by Avery, and consisted of panes of twelve 25c stamps, printed on thin plastic. The United States continues to issue ATM stamps to this day.

Brian Cannon



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