Dec. 31st, 1963 – The Day The “G” Stamp Died

On June 29th, 1939, a number of Canada’s stamp issues were centrally perforated with the initials O H M S, the vertical leg of each letter consisting of five holes.

These were later replaced by a variety consisting of four holes. In 1949 – 50, stamps appeared overprinted black. Finally, in September 1950, Canada’s bi-lingual policy caused these issues to be overprinted “G”.

Of course, we all know what these stamps were used for – they were specially prepared for use on Government mail, and overprinted (or perforated) O.H.M.S. (for “On His/Her Majesty’s Service”) and “G” (for “Government”) so as to discourage pilferage or theft for personal use.

Old age overtakes everything, and in December 1963, these official overprints expired. In the interim period, before a common policy was determined, different government offices ran amok, and the variety of replacements creates a veritable topical subject in itself, with many sizes, styles, and configurations of type face, wording, and layout. These imprints occurred in the upper right corner of envelopes containing mail from many different government offices, and a few examples follow:

First published in The Guideline, Journal of the VIPS, May 1988
by Lester Small

About Lester Small
From 1984 to 1988, there were a number of articles about Canadian postal history (most of them about British Columbia) in The Guideline, the newsletter of the Vancouver Island Philatelic Society. Almost all of these were written by Lester Small (Member #341). Lester – a clerk at the Victoria Post Office – was also active in the Greater Victoria Philatelic Society. He organized the junior programme of the GVPS, and looked after the junior stamp club for 35 years.

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