5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.

Three Pence Beaver

The Province of Canada issued its first postage stamp, the Three Pence Beaver, on 23 April 1851. Printed in red ink, on laid paper, by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson in New York, it was the first stamp in the world to depict an (non human) animal and not a head of state. The 26th stamp issued in the world since 1840, it was printed without perforations to separate the stamps, and had to be cut out of the printed sheet. It was designed by Sir Sandford Fleming to speed up service at the post office. Fleming apparently sketched out the design on a Toronto restaurant napkin after getting tired of waiting in line for his letters to be rated at the local post office. He had a thing about time. Fleming engineered many of the railways in Canada, invented standard time, and laid the transatlantic telegraph cable.

Canada's first stamp was valid for payment of inland letters up to 1/2oz to Canada (Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island. It was reissued in 1852 on wove paper so it would stick to mailings, and take a cancel, better. Today it is valued at $400. to $1600. in used (cancelled) condition, and $10,000 to $120,000 in unused condition. Damaged examples sell for less. An image of a nice used example we sold on 16 April for $880. is shown below.

Lot 22	Canada #1 VF Used 1851 3d Red First Issue


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5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.
Vancouver, BC, V6N 1W7

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