By Denise McCarty
Canada Post’s commemorative stamp for the 65th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II features a photographic portrait by Armenian-Canada photographer Yousuf Karsh.
The nondenominated permanent-rate stamp (currently 85¢) is being issued April 20 in booklets of 10.
Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth was 25 when she assumed the throne Feb. 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI.
Her formal coronation was held the next year, on June 2, 1952, in Westminster Abbey. The coronation was the first to be televised, with more than 26 million people watching in the United Kingdom alone; the worldwide audience has been estimated at more than 250 million.
Queen Elizabeth is the head of state of 15 Commonwealth realms, including Canada, in addition to the United Kingdom.
In announcing the new stamp in its Details magazine for collectors, Canada Post said of the design: “The portrait on the new stamp is from a famous sitting in July 1951, when the Queen was still known as her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth. Over a period of more than 40 years, Karsh photographed Her Majesty on five occasions, two of them before she became Queen.”
According to information on the Karsh website, this official portrait of Princess Elizabeth was taken at Clarence House in London.
The website said: “It shows the young Princess happy and relaxed, only a short six months before the death of her father, King George VI, when she suddenly became the future Queen of England, with all the weighty responsibilities that would bring … ”
The cover of the booklet shows another Karsh photograph from the same session. That photograph was the basis of the designs for Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamps issued May 1, 1953 (Scott 325-329).
Photographs taken by Karsh (1908-2002) have appeared on several other Canadian stamps, including a self-portrait on a 2008 stamp marking the 100th anniversary of his birth (Scott 2270). Karsh’s photographic portraits of Audrey Hepburn and Winston Churchill also were included in that issue.
Paprika, a graphic design and strategic marketing firm based in Montreal, Quebec, designed the new commemorative for the 65th anniversary of the queen’s coronation. Lowe-Martin printed it by offset in a quantity of 300,000 booklets of 10.
The stamp measures 33.5 millimeters by 26.5mm.
Canada Post also is offering a first-day cover and an uncut press sheet for this issue.
The FDC is canceled April 20 in Ottawa, Ontario. The cachet shows an outline drawing of the queen’s royal cypher in gold. The “EIIR’” under the crown stands for “Elizabeth II Regina.”
According to Canada Post, the uncut press sheet is its first to feature stamp booklets, adding that it “showcases the front, back and inside panels of 12 self-adhesive stamp booklets celebrating the 65th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” The print quantity is 1,000.
The Canada Post product numbers are 414083111 for the booklet of 10; 414083131 for the FDC; and 414083149 for the press sheet, which is priced at $102, the face value of the 120 stamps it includes.
These items are available online. Stamps and FDCs are available by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
Canada’s stamps and stamp products also are available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.