Canada 1912 Definitives - Admirals

From Stamps of the World
  • Date of Issue : 1911-22
  • Perforation : 12, except coil stamps
  • Design : Robert Savage
  • Printer : American Bank Note Company

The Admirals Of the three countries that issued postage stamps portraying King George in his Admiral uniform, The Admirals, Canada by far, has issued the most examples, issuing several different series over a period of more than eighteen years.

George V succeeded Edward VII as King of England and the British Dominions on 6 May 1910, however postage stamps bearing his image were not issued until late in 1911. The ensuing period, lasting until 1928, has become one of the most studied areas of Canadian philately which is somewhat unusual because only one basic stamp design was in use. There were several reasons for this, one of which was Canada's involvement in World War I from 1914 to 1918. This resulted in a scarcity of both engravers and the basic resources and materials needed to design and print postage stamps. Changes in currency exchange rates and international postal rates after World War One resulted in the Canadian Post Office issuing new denominations, as well as a change in the stamp's colors. The unusually long issuing period required new dies and several plates to be struck, resulting in a large range of flaws and other varieties for a stamp collector to study. Philatelists have also studied the Admirals in great depth due to the large numbers of varieties of the stamps.

On December 22, 1911 the first Canadian definitive stamps, the 1-cent and 2-cent denominations with a portrait of King George V, were issued and saw postal use for about 16 years, which was longer than any other definitives except for the Small Queens. The Admiral series is renowned for its multitude of re-entries and re-touches and like the Small Queen issue has the distinction of being one of the most extensively researched stamps issues by the Canadian government.

The first series of the King George V definitive stamp issues depict the monarch in profile, facing the viewers left, and were issued from 1911 to 1931 with 11 different denominations ranging from 1-cent to 1-dollar. The engraving of King George is modeled after two photographs by H. Walter Barnettby and the other by W. & D. Downey. The engraving was mastered by Robert Savage of the American Bank Note Company whose main base of operation was in New York but which also had printing facilities in Ottawa, Canada. These issues are perforated 12 x 12. The 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 cent denominations were reprinted at later dates with different colors. Every denomination of the King George V issue were printed in panes of 200 and 400 stamps and cut into and issued in sheets of 100 stamps, or in booklet form with pages of 4 or 6 stamps. They were also released in coil form with three different perforation varieties and were first released in November, 1912. The last stamp issue of this series to be released was the 2-cent carmine issue which had the unusual perforations of 12 x 8 and was issued on June 24, 1931.