5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.
604-684-4613

Canada Post recalls and reissues 2017 Hanukkah stamps

On November 14, 2017, Canada Post released a 10-stamp regular issue, permanent postage booklet for Hanukkah.  The stamps were recalled the same day for as yet unknown reasons, and postal outlets were requested to withdraw their stocks from sale, and remove any promotional material and literature showing the new issues.  A rumoured recall sent speculators on a wild goose chase to acquire any of the original Hanukkah stamps and first day covers before they went off sale.  The stamps were widely written up in the national and global Jewish media, and their was some bemusement when Canada Post announced a delay in their release, but not the recall.  In the meantime, there was much speculation on social media, and in stamp collecting circles, as to the reason for the stamps being recalled.  Because the recall was secretive, it was not picked up by mainstream media.  The collecting community guessed five different reasons for it:

The number of candles was wrong.
The French version of Hanukkah was spelled oddly.
The micro dates 2017 and Canada 150 should have been written in Hebrew.
The wording about the Jewish Temple on the back of the booklet, or the way the old date was written could be offensive.
Religious symbols should not be used on Canadian stamps.

(Image explanation) The original recalled booklet cover included the Star of David.  For reasons not yet revealed, Canada Post removed the star from the booklet cover of the rush-released replacement issue.
The original recalled booklet cover included the Star of David.  For reasons not yet revealed, Canada Post removed the star from the booklet cover of the rush-released replacement issue.

Canada Post has a problem recovering stamp stocks from postal outlets as their network is large, spread out, and many outlets are privately operated. Postal outlets are busy, so not everyone reads the memo. There is no management team going from outlet to outlet to ensure compliance.  Private operators make little revenue from stamp sales so the opportunity to sell them over the counter, or for more money as errors, might tempt some postal outlet operators to not comply in a timely manner.

Canada Post could have said, we made this mistake, here is what we are doing to fix it, and here is what we are doing to ensure that it does not happen again. Instead, they ignored stamp media requests for an explanation and said that the stamps would be available on 20 November.  I was still able to obtain some of the original printing on November 17. Amazingly, the reprints showed up in some postal outlets on 23 November. It is a minor miracle that Canada Post could recall and reprint the booklets in such a short time frame.  The first day covers will take longer. Hanukkah stamps are saved.

It looks like the original first day covers, printed in smaller quantities, and not always available at postal outlets, will be the most difficult of the original Hanukkah issues to find.

The printing change on the booklet removes the Star of David from the booklet cover, and from the margins where the colour printing dots were originally in star form.  Because the stamps were unchanged, as far as we know, it will be interesting to see where collector and dealer demand takes prices to.  A birthplace error on a recently recalled and replaced Formula 1 Canada Post first day cover is valued at $75. in the Unitrade Canadian Stamp Catalogue.  Kudos to Canada Post for getting Hanukkah stamps back into postal outlets in time for the hoiday season.

 

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