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Admiral Stamps of Canada
The first Canadian stamp for King George V has a portrait of him in a full dress uniform. He is shown as an Admiral of the fleet of the Royal Navy. Thus the stamps are known as Admirals.
To create a life like portrait, the central vignette is a composite. The head was taken from a photograph by W. & D Downey and the chest and uniform from a photograph by W. Barnett. The vignette was engraved by Robert Savage.
The stamps were printed in Ottawa by the American Bank Note Company. The Ottawa facility became a subsidiary of the American Bank Note Company in 1923. It was called the Canadian Bank Note Company.
King George V ascended to the throne on May 6, 1910. The 1 cent dark green and the 2 cent carmine were the first stamps of the Admiral set to be issued. They were issued Dec 22, 1911. Over the years many other denominations were needed; the highest being one dollar. These stamps were in use for 17 years, until 1928.
Canada joined the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1878. There was an agreed standardization of postal rates throughout the UPU. Changes in Postal Rates and UPU Conventions required new denominations and colour changes to the stamps of the member nations, including the Admiral stamps of Canada.
The Post Office also issued the Admiral stamp in coil format because of the increased use of the stamp vending and affixing machines. In Dec. 1922 the dry printing process for some Canadian stamps began. Initially the wet process was used to print all Canadian postage stamps. The gum was applied after the sheets had dried. The dry printing process was faster, using pre-gummed dry paper. This increased production.
Over 15 billion of these classic Canadian stamps were printed. Because of the large production numbers some of the most common stamps are easy to find. There are others that are rare and expensive. There are many variations a collector can look for in Admiral stamps. As such, an in depth study of these stamps can be a true philatelic challenge.