The Maple Leaf Issue of 1897-1898
The new set design was to be simple: a three-quarter face portrait of the Queen in her Widow's Weeds, surrounded by an oval with the inscription and value and adorned with a single maple leaf in each corner. The portrait was based on a photograph by W&D Downey and the engraving was done by Charles Skinner. The American Bank Note Company was to continue their fine work in printing the stamps. The denominations were to be restricted to the half-cent through 10 cents only, as it was decided that there was no need to replace the 20c and 50c Widow's Weeds, as they portrayed the older Queen. The dollar value Jubilees had not proven to be popular with the public, so it was decided not to continue them and to maintain the 50c stamp as the top denomination for general use. The colour scheme was to mirror the Jubilee Issue for the equivalent denominations, the only change being made to make the 8c orange instead of dark violet. The stamps were printed in sheets of 200 that were cut into two post office panes of 100 stamps each.
The result was a most beautiful set. The beauty lay in the exquisite nature of the engraving, the richness of the colours and the balanced symmetry of the design:
2,000,000 issued 34,000,000 issued
This is the smooth light creamy white gum found on the stamps printed on horizontal wove paper. The gum found on the vertical wove stamps is shown below: