The 5-cent Canoe of the Transportation Coil Series features a birch bark canoe of the sort made by the Chippewa or Ojibwa Indians of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The 5-cent Canoe stamp, along with 10-cent Tractor Trailer, reflects the new post office policy of covering all categories of first-class presort and bulk third-class mailings with just two stamps. The 5-cent Canoe was intended for all rate categories for nonprofit and bulk third-class mail. It was inscribed “Additional Nonprofit Postage Paid” to indicate that the necessary additional postage had been paid at the post office.
The stamp was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the C press with a plate number every forty-eight stamps. It was issued in untagged coils of five hundred and 3,000 stamps. Without regard to the origin of the design, the stamp was issued on May 25, 1991, at Secaucus, New Jersey, and 108,634 first day covers were cancelled.
A new version of the 5-cent Canoe with the vignette printed in red and the service inscription in black was issued on October 22, 1991, again at Secaucus, New Jersey. It was printed by J. W. Fergusson and Sons, Richmond, Virginia, for Stamp Venturers on the Champlain with a plate number at intervals of thirty-three stamps. It was issued only in untagged coils of 10,000 stamps with water-activated, shiny gum and Lo-Gloss Gum. The number of first day covers is unknown.
The stamp was designed by Paul Calle of Stamford, Connecticut. Kenneth Kipperman engraved the vignette, and the letters and numerals were engraved by Gary Slaught. Both engravers worked for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.