Map of the World Stamp from Canada


Map of the World Stamp from Canada, a large one is too bulky for very general use, so it must be admitted that Canada has the distinction of issuing the only postage stamp which pictures at a glance the world.

This particular stamp was to mark the opening of the British Penny Postage scheme which was advocated from the days of Sir Rowland Hill. New Zealand, Transvaal, etc., issued a special type and Canada did likewise. The designing of this stamp also had another meaning. The Ottawa Evening Journal has it in these lines: “When Postmaster General of Canada Sir William Mulock, was in Britain he as surprised to notice that the great mass of people (of Britain) did not appreciate the vastness of the British possessions abroad. This was especially true of Canada”. When it was time to prepare a suitable design for the 1898 issue, he suggested a map of the world showing the British possessions in a striking color. He called for designs, but none suited. Then he drew a rough sketch and submitted it to an artist to finish. The Journal also states that “Mr. Mulock is giving the public the cheapest map of the world ever made”.

The British possessions were in red while the countries of other powers are not so noticeable.

At the top the Crown is displayed and at the bottom the legende “We hold a vaster Empire than has been” appears.

The legende is taken from the Jubilee ode of Sir Lewis Morris, entitled “Song of the Empire”.

This remarkable stamp caused no end of criticism at home and abroad, not only because of its startling design, but (quoting C.A. Howe’s “Canada”) also because of the bombastic legende which appeared.

Before the section of Philately of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, John N. Luff, on February 24th 1899, mentioned this issue in a lecture delivered in the interests of the hobby. He observes, “The motto is a trifle bombastic and suggests the Teutonic superlative “So bigger as never was”, and “Xmas 1898” reads like the advertisement of a department store: “Gents pants for Xmas gifts”.

So great was the public demand for this stamp that it was put on sale the sixth day of December, although the intercolonial reduced postage did not become effective until Christmas Day. The value of the stamp was two cents and the colors, originally red and lavender, but within a short time copies appeared with Neptune’s realm in light green and Prussian blue.

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