Arago: Exhibits

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Canada - Diamond Jubilee

When Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, Canada decided it was the perfect opportunity to issue its first commemorative postage stamps. That was a suitable response to the big occasion, you might think. But the postal authority went on to baffle the public by releasing too many high values, and too few low values!

The set was to be made up of sixteen stamps with face values ranging from half a cent to five dollars. Recess-printed by the American Banknote Company in Ottawa, the sixteen stamps would share a common design. The design included facing portraits of the Queen as a young woman in 1837 and one of her in middle age from 1867, over the dates ‘1837’ and ‘1897’, the years of her accession to the throne and jubilee. In between were the initials ‘VRI’ (for ‘Victoria Regina et Imperatrix’) below a crown. Although the design is recognised as a classic today, the issue attracted controversy from the start.

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1c orange Queen Victoria single

The 1-cent Queen Victoria Jubilee Issue stamp was released to the public June 19, 1897.