________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 30 . . . . April 10, 2015


Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Canada & Provinces. 5th ed.

London, UK: Stanley Gibbons Ltd., 2014.
186 pp., trade pbk., 24.95 pounds
ISBN 978-0-85259-912-9.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

**** /4


1. These notes reflect current practice in compiling the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth Catalogues. The Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue has a very long history and the vast quantity of information it contains has been carefully built up by successive generations through the work of countless of individuals. Philately is never static and the Catalogue has evolved and developed over the years. These notes relate to the current criteria upon which a stamp may be listed or priced.

2. Separate stamp issues appeared for British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Canada, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island before these colonies joined the Dominion of Canada.
New Brunswick previously part of Nova Scotia became a separate colony in June 1784. The colony became responsible for its postal service on 6 July 1851.

Organized postal services in Nova Scotia date from April 1754 when the first of a series of Deputy Postmasters was appointed, under the authority of the British G.P.O (General Post Office). This arrangement continued until 6 July 1851 when the colony assumed responsibility for its postal affairs.

Prince Edward Island, previously administered as part of Nova Scotia, became a separate colony in 1769.


This priced listing of Canadian stamps is a conveniently sized volume of 186 pages that provides easy portability as well as the scholarship of Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps Catalogue 1840-1970 from which the information has been extracted. As such, it provides an affordable and comprehensive alternative for collectors of Canadian stamps. The catalogue lists early colonial stamps of Canada 1851-64, British Columbia & Vancouver Island 1860-71, New Brunswick 1851-63, Newfoundland 1857-1949, Nova Scotia 1851-63 and Prince Edward Island 1861-72. These are followed by the issues of the Dominion of Canada to date and those issued from 1970 until the present.

      Since the last edition of this particular volume, the information, including prices, has been updated throughout, and several new varieties of stamps have been listed for the first time. Serious collectors will be interested to see these new listings which include two re entries on the 6 cent ‘Small Queens’, along with the ‘Neck Flaw’ on the 1873 6 cent and the Vampire Bite on the 1889 3 cent. There are four new varieties of the 1935 definitives, including the ‘Moulting Wing’ on the 6 cent airmail stamp. Listings of the 1967 definitives and contemporary postage dies have been revised and extended.

     As per the standard employed by Stanley Gibbons, stamps are listed in date order with any special features and variations included. These specifics include the listing of all watermark and perforation varieties, major errors, discernable colour shades, plate flaws and many other details. The prolific illustrations are in full colour making this volume a delight to the eye as well as providing a wealth of information. This is a British publication, and, therefore, prices are listed in pounds and pence sterling. There are also multiplier tables provided to help collectors assess the value of cover stamps up to 1945 and a handy Design Index which assists with the identification of stamps from 1942. For each province, a brief history prefaces the stamp descriptions, providing not only a history of Canada's stamps but also a small parallel history of the country's evolution.

     The highly respected British Stanley Gibbons company produced its first stamp catalogue in 1865 and has been in the forefront of stamp collecting for over 150 years. This volume, published every three years or so, is easily affordable and a useful addition to library and personal collections. It will appeal to both individual stamp enthusiasts, both novices and specialists aged fourteen and up.

Highly Recommended.

Aileen Wortley, a retired librarian, lives in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)