Postal History and Postal Stationery of the Wilding Issue 1954-1967

This will be my last post on the 1954-67 Wilding Issue. In this post I will talk about the collecting of postal history including first day covers and postal stationery. As we will see this is yet again a field that contains ample scope to keep you busy for quite some time.

Postal History

15c airmail cover to Germany with 1c-4c plus 1959 St Lawrence Seaway commemorative paying the first class airmail rate. 

25c domestic forwarded registered letter with a complete booklet pane of 5 of the 5c blue paying 5c postage, plus the 20c registration fee.

The collecting of covers to various destinations, paying various rates offers many different opportunities for specialization, which are basically as follows:

1. Collecting by postage rate
2. Collecting by destination
3. Collecting unintentional first day covers
4. Collecting covers addressed to significant individuals
5. Collecting covers that document significant historical events
6. Collecting business advertising covers

Collecting By Postage Rate:

As was the case with the Karsh Issue the airmail rate to the UK and Commonwealth countries and most of Europe was 15c per ounce and that it was 25c to non-Commonwealth countries outside Europe. The surface rate to the UK was the same as the domestic forwarded rate which was 5c per ounce. The local city rate for first class mail was 4c per ounce and third class and postcards were 3c. Registration rates continued to be 20c per ounce, while special delivery was 10c. So you can organize a collection of covers along the lines of these rates. The more interesting ones will be those where the rates were paid through an unusual combination of lower value stamps, as customary practice was generally to use as few stamps as possible to make up the rate.

Below is a link to the Canadian Postal History Corner website that lists all of the Canadian postage rates for this period:

Quite frequently, you will see mixed frankings of this issue and the earlier Karsh Issue or the later Cameo issue, as the stamps of the definitive issues were often not replaced all at once. For example the current 50c stamp during this period was the 50c textile industry stamp of the Karsh Issue. The current 10c stamp did not replace the 1950 Fur Resources stamp until February 21 1955. Likewise the $1 totem pole stamp from the Karsh Issue was not replaced during the entire period of this issue.

Collecting by Destination

Collecting by destination is a popular way to collect postal history, and there are plenty of destinations that would be rare and unusual for stamps of this issue. US and UK covers will be quite common, as will covers to most western European countries. However covers to:

  • South America
  • Oceania
  • Asia
  • Africa
will all be relatively scarce, and many will have required the payment of the higher postage rates, which can make for some interesting stamp combinations.

Collecting Unintentional First Day Covers

First day covers that are not philatelic and were created through simple happenstance are the most sought after by philatelists. Unfortunately, I do not have an example of such a cover to show in this post, but I will add one with an update if one turns up.

It will be helpful to learn and memorize the dates of issue for the commemorative stamps that were released during the period of this set, as well as the dates of issue for the definitive stamps as well. Quite often you will find that commemoratives were often used in combination with definitives on commercial covers to make up the required rates.

The issue dates for the relevant stamps are;

#337-343 - 1c-15c - June 10, 1954 for all values except the 5c and 15c, which were April 1, 1954
#337a, 340a - 1c and 4c booklet stamps - January 1, 1956
#341a - 5c booklet stamp - July 14, 1954
#345 - 2c coil - September 9, 1954
#347 - 4c coil - August 23, 1954
#348 - 5c coil - July 6, 1954
#349-50 4c Thompson and 5c Bowell - November 1, 1954
#351 10c Inuk and Kayak - February 21, 1955
#352-353 - 4c Musk ox and 5c Whooping cranes - April 4, 1955
#354 5c ICAO - June 1, 1955
#355 5c Alberta and Sasatchewan - June 30, 1955
#356 5c Boy scouts - August 20, 1955
#357-358 4c Bennett and 5c Tupper - November 8, 1955
#359 5c Hockey - January 23, 1956
#360-361 4c Caribou and 5c Mountain goat - April 12, 1956
#362-363 20c Paper industry and 25c Chemical industry - June 7, 1956
#364 5c Fire prevention - October 9, 1956
#365-368 - Recreation sports - March 7, 1957
#369 5c Loon - April 10, 1957
#370 5c David Thompson - June 5, 1957
#371-372 UPU congress - August 14, 1957
#373 5c Mining - September 5, 1957
#374 5c Royal visit - October 10, 1957
#375 5c Freedom of the press - January 22, 1958
#376 5c International Geophysical Year - March 5, 1958
#377 5c British Columbia Centennial - May 8, 1958
#378 5c La Verendrye - June 4, 1958
#379 5c Champlain - June 26, 1958
#380 5c Health - July 30, 1958
#381 5c Oil Industry - September 10, 1958
#382 5c First elected assembly - October 2, 1958
#383 5c First flight in Canada - February 23, 1959
#384 5c Nato - April 2, 1959
#385 5c Country women - May 13, 1959
#386 5c Royal visit - June 18, 1959
#387 5c St. Lawrence Seaway - June 26, 1959
#388 5c Plains of Abraham - September 10, 1959
#389 5c Girl guides - April 20, 1960
#390 5c Battle of Long Sault - May 19, 1960
#391 5c Northern development - February 8, 1961
#392 5c Pauline Johnson - March 10, 1961
#393 5c Prime minister - April 19, 1961
#394 5c Colombo plan - June 28, 1961
#395 5c Resources for tomorrow - October 12, 1961
#396 5c Education  - February 28, 1962
#397 5c Red River Settlement - May 3, 1962
#398 5c Jean Talon - June 13, 1962
#399 5c Victoria Centenary - August 22, 1962
#400 5c Trans Canada Highway - August 31, 1962
#410 5c Casimir Gzowski - March 5, 1963

I don't have exact issue dates for the G overprints, but I assume that they would have been the same dates as the basic unoverprinted stamps.

Collecting by Addressee or Historical Event

This is yet another very interesting way to collect this issue. It is useful to familiarize yourself with the names of prominent politicians and personalities from these years, as well as all the major historical events of the period that a cover could relate to.

Below are two useful links that will take you to pages listing all the world leaders between 1954 and 1963:

Then we have two links taking you to pages listing significant historical events between 1954 and 1963:

You could also consider researching a list of Canadian politicians active during these years as well as prominent entertainers and business leaders and trying to look for mail addressed to them. Google makes it possible now to research names and places easily, so that a seemingly random name on the front of a cover can turn out to be quite significant.

Business Advertising Covers

Businesses did not generally do entire frontal and back advertising they way that they did in the 1880's until the early 1900's. However, there are still a variety of interesting and colourful motifs and corner cards on business covers of this period that can be quite interesting to collect.

First Day Covers

Collecting of first day covers during this period focuses on the different cover designs, also known as cachets. Some Cachet makers, such as Art Craft  and Rosecraft were very active and their cachets are the most common. The above cover has no cachet, which is much less common during this period than it was in the 1920's and 1930's. However, there were also a number of private cachet makers operating during this period, some of which produced lovely, hand painted cachets. These were often done in very minute quantity and are quite rare now. In addition to the different cachet makers, there are often varieties within the same cachet maker that have gone overlooked over the years, such as the wrong cachet used for a particular cover, or a spelling mistake that was later corrected. These are things to watch carefully for.

First day cover collecting is much less popular than it was at one time, so you can often find accumulations of first day covers for not a lot of money.

Postal Stationery

2c green postcard with no inscription

There was only one series of postal stationery issued during this period, which used the same design as the issued stamps. As with the Karsh Issue, mint postal stationery from this period is not expensive and most used stationery can be acquired for very reasonable prices. The only envelope in use that was available to the public for this issue was the #8 envelope, which was 165 mm x 99 mm. Watch for private order envelopes which were of different dimensions to these, as many of these will be quite scarce.  On this issue there were two different kinds of backflap, called a knife. One was 20 mm deep and the other was 16 mm deep. The envelopes issued were all on white wove paper and were:

  • 2c green  #8 with 20 mm knife
  • 2c green #8 with 16 mm knife
Unitrade notes that gum varieties exist on these envelopes, although it does not state which varieties exist. 

Unitrade lists the following special order and election envelopes:

  • 2c green
  • 4c purple
  • 5c blue
  • 2c green + 1c brown
  • 4c purple precancel + 2c green
  • 5c blue election envelope

However Unitrade notes that the basic listing is for the most common type. No attempt is made to list every type of envelope that may exist. So this is a ripe field for more detailed study. 

There were no post bands or wrappers from this issue.

There were eight Aerogrammes issued during the period of this issue. Five employed the basic airplane over globe design that was introduced with the Karsh issue, while three featured a jet flying straight with "Canada" and a maple leaf above it. The varieties of aerogramme listed in Unitrade are:

  • 10c blue with solid address lines and "first fold here" to the left of the guideline.
  • 10c blue with solid address lines and "first fold here" to the right of the guideline.
  • 10c blue as above but unwatermarked.
  • 10c blue with dotted address lines, unwatermarked.
  • 10c blue with dotted address lines, watermarked.
  • 10c red, black and grey, 4 dotted address lines.
  • 10c red, black and grey, 5 dotted address lines with rounded flap joint.
  • 10c red, black and grey, 5 dotted address lines with square flap joint. 

Several varieties of postcard were issued from this series. Most were on a thin card stock, although the soft, porous "mimeo" stock is found on the 2c postcard. Two very similar designs were employed. The 1954 issues had a coarse design that had the original 1954 date, while the 1955 issue had clearwe impressions and 1955 in the lower right corner. The cards issued were:

  • 2c green with no inscription - 1954 in lower right corner
  • 2c green with no inscription - 1955 in lower right corner
  • 2c green mimeo, also known rouletted - 1954 in lower right corner
  • 2c green mimeo, also known rouletted - 1955 in lower right corner
  • 4c purple with no inscription - 1954 in lower right corner
  • 4c purple with no inscription - 1955 in lower right corner
Generally the postal stationery was issued for the prepayment of local first class, domestic first class, second class and printed matter rates. They were not intended to be used for foreign mail. So one challenging and interesting avenue to pursue in collecting the postal stationery involves collecting pieces that have been uprated by adding additional postage.

That concludes my coverage of the Wilding Issue. I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts and can begin to see this set in a new light after having read them. There really is much more to Canadian philately than most collectors know and much that remains to be studied. 


  1. That sure is a lot of issue dates to memorize! I think this post will come in handy, thank you.


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