Canadian Beavers

The first animal on stamps thematic, the first allegorical representation of a national identity and one of the finest engraved stamps of the nineteenth century are all found in the first issue of Canada. Canada was a somewhat late player in the early stamp game with its first stamp issued in 1851. The first issue of Canada was on laid paper. Laid paper is a paper produced by a process where the screen that the paper fibers are placed on has a vertical or horizontal mesh rather than a woven mesh. It is the way the earliest papers were made and is more difficult and hence more expensive to produce. It is the paper that today is used pretty much only for fancy wedding invitations and the like and when the paper is held up to the light you can see the telltale vertical or horizontal lines in the paper pattern. Laid paper is expensive and was used on the early stamps of a few counties mainly as an anti-counterfeiting device. The problem with laid paper is that it is difficult to print on using the line engraved method. The paper essentially is ridged and unless strong pressure is applied when printing, the impressions are apt to alternate dark and light within a single stamp. It was because of this that the first issue of Canada was so short lived. The second issue came a year later, in 1852, and was the same Canadian Beaver this time printed on wove paper, a paper much easier to print on and these stamps have much more consistency of impression.

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