Online Resources and Exhibits

Censuses of Early Covers and Cancels

Wayne Smith


Wayne Smith has compiled the following:

  • Canada Pence Issue 1851 – 1859 Cover Census
  • 1859 Cents Issue Used on Cover after April 1, 1868
  • Census of Large Queen Covers by Rates
  • Early Use of Two-ring Numeral Cancels on the Large Queen Issue
  • British Columbia numeral grid cancels

This page provides a link to the latest version of each census. The Censuses will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. The author invites comments, corrections, and updates. His email address is:
Waynesmithtor@yahoo.ca.

Canada Pence Issue 1851 – 1859 Cover Census

This census encompasses over 4,300 Pence Issue covers. It is presented in two ways:

  • By stamp/paper variety – lists the number of covers known for each rate paid by the stamp.
  • By rate – lists the number of covers known for each way to pay the rate.

March 2020 update

  • Covers with perforated Pence stamps added.
  • About 200 covers added.

1851 3 pence wove paper times 2 on cover from Pembina to Ottawa

Courtesy Eastern Auctions Ltd.

1859 Cents Issue Used on Cover after April 1, 1868

This is a census of covers with 1859 Cents Issue stamps used after the Large Queen stamps were issued on April 1, 1868.

May 2020 update

  • New covers added.
  • Comments added to existing covers.
  • Format changed from web page to PDF file

1859 5 cent Beaver on cover dated 10 April 1868

Courtesy Ron Majors

Census of Large Queen Covers by Rates

This is a census of 1868 Large Queen covers, almost 7,600 of them, sorted by postal rate and destination. It begins with domestic mail (4,700 plus covers), and then lists foreign mail to Newfoundland and PEI (86 covers), United States (1,450 covers), Great Britain (over 1,000 covers), and other foreign destinations broken down by country (almost 250 covers).

End-of-2019 update

  • 144 more covers than the 2018 census.
  • Covers to PEI split out into a separate table.

1868 Large Queen cover franked with 1, 2, and 3 cent stamps paying the rate to the
                         United States

Author's collection

Early Use of Two-ring Numeral Cancels on the Large Queen Issue

The Large Queen definitives were issued on 1 April 1868. Two-ring numeral cancels began appearing almost a year later in late March 1869, and continued into the Small Queen period. The obliterators were issued to 60 post offices.

This list of the earliest recorded dates updates Table IV-14 in the book by H. E. and H. W. Duckworth, The Large Queen Stamps of Canada and Their Use.

3 cent Large Queen with two-ring numeral cancel 15 issued to Brantford, Ontario

British Columbia Numeral Grid Cancel Census

In 1860, the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island received a set of hammers with a grid design numbered from 1 to 36. The earliest recorded use is New Westminster’s “1” in bars in blue ink used on cover mailed about 1 Sept 1860. The cover has no dispatch date but has a SEP 10/60 receiver in San Francisco.

There is no known official documentation on the distribution of the hammers. The post offices to which some were sent are still unknown today. For four hammers, 6, 11, 17, and 25, not a single strike is known.

This is a census of the known use of these grid hammers.

Sept. 2020 initial release

  • 399 covers listed.

British Columbia numeral grid cancels 1 and 26
British Columbia numeral grid cancel 35

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This page was last modified on 2020-09-08