The 10th anniversary commemorated by Canada


The Canadian stamp issue commemorating the 10th anniversary of ICAO takes its roots back in the discussions and negotiations related to ICAO’s franking and postal privileges.


At its 5th Session of the Assembly, held in Montreal from 5 to 18 June 1951, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted resolution A5-13 by which the Council, the governing body of ICAO composed of 21 Member States at that time, was invited to try to reach an agreement with the Government of Canada for the granting of franking or other postal privileges, expecting some economy in the cost of mailing official correspondence.


Compli­mentary folder presenting Canada Scott #354 des­igned by Walter Lohse.


Prior to that, a suggestion for a similar arrangement had been made in the first draft of the Headquarters agree­ment presented on 24 March 1948 by ICAO to the Canadian Government.  Section 13 of that draft reads as follows: "Pending any general arrangement concerning the establish­ment of a postal service of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies, the appropriate Canadian Authorities shall issue special stamps for the use of the Organization."


The above suggestion was based on the experience gained prior to the Second World War by the League of Nations and the International Labour Office (ILO) in Switzerland. Arran­gements had also been concluded between the Govern­ment of Switzerland and a few Agencies concerning the use of stamps with an overprint corresponding to the Organization concerned.


After the adoption of Resolution 454(V) by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 16 November 1950, the signing of an agreement between the USA and the UN on 28 March 1951 permitted the United Nations Postal Administration to go into operation; the first stamp was released on United Nations Day, i.e. 24 October 1951.


On 7 August 1951, ICAO's Assembly resolution was sub­mitted to the Canadian Post Office Department, which felt that it could not undertake to extend franking privileges to ICAO, as the postal law and regulations restricted such privileges to senators, members of parliament and to federal government departments.


Canada – 1 June 1955

10th Anniversary of ICAO

Lower-left block of 4 stamps

with marginal inscriptions

On 12 December 1951, as it was felt that the original submission had not been clearly stipulated, ICAO requested that the question be reconsidered by the Post Office Department, along the lines of arrangements between the Swiss Government and various international or­ganizations, i.e. the use of national stamps with an overprin­t, stamps to be sold, used or unused, to philatelists for their collec­tions exclusively. Again, the Post Office ex­pressed serious objections to the proposed arran­gements and recalled that the primary object of producing postage stamps was to prepay postage and that philatelic use should be merely incidental.


In the meantime, a resolution was adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) requesting the Specialized Agencies to submit any proposal which may be made by them concerning postal activities to the Secretary General of the UN for consultation with the Universal Postal Union (UPU). As this resolution did not prohibit ICAO from concluding an agreement with the Canadian Authorities, discussions were taken up in 1953 with them on re-examining the question of issuing stamps with an ICAO overprint or special stamps.  In November 1953, the Canadian Post Office indicated that it could not turn over any portion of the proceeds resulting from the sale of ICAO stamps issued for purely philatelic purposes; it was nevertheless prepared to overprint stamps of its normal issues for ICAO pre-payment of postage and was also ready to mark special dates such as the tenth anniversary of the Organization's existence in Canada by the issue of a special stamp for general use which could be overprinted for use by ICAO or philatelic interests.


On 12 January 1954, a specific committee on postal matters was created at ICAO to make recommendations on the above issues.  This committee felt that the estimate of the revenue that might be expected by ICAO from philatelic sales might not be sufficient to make the project worthwhile. The committee assessed the probable philatelic demand for ICAO service stamps taking into consideration the main factors affecting this demand, i.e. the selling price, the number of different denominations, the introduction of new issues, the philatelic interest and the marketing channels. Moreover, it was felt that the issue of an ICAO com­memorative stamp might provide a suitable opportunity for stimulating philatelic interest, as well as appraising the results of philatelic sales for an overprinted commemorative stamp (trial scheme); ICAO would act as a stamp dealer to sell the overprinted stamps at prices it considered suitable. In considering this matter, the ICAO Council did not accept the offer of the Postmaster General to arrange for overprin­ting of regular issues of Canadian postage stamps, as it should not engage in philatelic sales as an accessory means of financing; this recommendation brought an end to the discussions related to stamp overprinting and franking privileges for ICAO.


First draft submitted

by Maurice St.Onge

However, as compensation, the suggestion made by the Post Office to issue a commemorative stamp was positively received at ICAO; a stamp could be considered for the 10th anniversary of the inception of the Organization in August 1955, rather than the tenth anniversary of the Provisional Organization's installation in Canada (June 1945). It was later suggested that the first day of issue coincide with the second day of ICAO's 9th Session of the Assembly, i.e. 1 June 1955.


In April 1954, the ICAO Secretary General invited staff members to submit suitable suggestions and designs (for the United Nations Postal Administration and the Canadian Post Office). 


Second draft submitted

by Maurice St.Onge

The ICAO special committee on postal matters evaluated twelve designs submitted by five competitors; Mr. Maurice St.Onge, a Cartographic Draftsman in the Aeronautical Charts Section of ICAO, was granted the first prize of $50 for the design (see first draft). On the basis on the three best designs submitted by ICAO, the Post Office commissioned an artist to submit his ideas on how the subject should be handled.


The resulting design was re-drafted by Mr. St.Onge (see second draft), to avoid presenting too many similarities with the Canadian stamp Scott #343 (Northern Gannet in flight); it is to be noted that the word organisation was spelled in English with the letter S (British spelling), which was an error as ICAO's official name had always been spelled with the letter Z.

Canada – 1 April 1954

Northern Gannet

Scott #343



On the initiative of Mr. Karl Lohse, the Chief of ICAO's Aeronautical Charts Section, his brother Walter Lohse, Art Director of the Gazette Printing Company Limited in Montréal, reworked the draft and completed the design for the final issue.  Born in Liège, Bel­gium in Janu­ary 1897, Walter Lohse began his career as a civil en­gineer, but discovered later that he was a better artist than an engineer.  He came to Canada in 1930 and joined in 1942, as Assistant Art Director, The Gazette, a large printing company in Montréal, Canada. The design of the stamp was submitted as a solution to reconcile several requirements that had proven difficult to blend harmoniously in the earlier stage of its development.


Draft submitted

by Walter Lohse

30 December 1954

It is to be noted that, in the draft designs, the dove carries a branch of olive tree (not retained in the final design). The symbol of peace carried by the olive tree goes back to the Greek mythology. Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, created the olive tree that remained sacred to her. In a contest for patron ship of Athens with Poseidon, the god of sea, she gave the olive as the most profitable gift to the inhabitants of the city, while Poseidon gave the horse. The gods decreed unanimously that peace was more profitable than war, and awarded Athena the prize; hence, the olive tree became Athena’s tree for the Greeks. As a symbol of peace, a wreath of crossed olive branches is part of the UN and ICAO emblems. Moreover, oil extracted from the olive is well known for its smoothing properties.


Neat autograph by Walter Lohse, Designer of the stamp

The message conveyed by the Canadian stamp is in perfect har­mony with the aims and objectives outlined in the Chicago Convention (i.e. ICAO's Charter), stating that ICAO would be the world's aviation regulatory authority creating and pres­erving friendship and understan­ding among nations and peoples. Finally, this Canadian stamp paid tribute to ICAO's work towards improvement of safety and regula­rity in inter­national air trans­port during the first ten years of its existence. First Day Covers for this issue were cancelled by mechanical cancellation with Pitney Bowes equipment. More information about the stamp can be found by clicking on the following link: Canada - 10th Anniversary of ICAO.


The designers of the Canadian stamp most likely found also their inspiration from the maximum card and the stamp issued for the Peace Conference held in Paris, France, from 29 July to 15 October 1946. The stamp (Prussian green, issued on 29 July 1946) shows woman’s hands releasing a dove that holds an olive branch in its beak. The same symbol of the peace dove with an olive branch had already been used on Scott #294 from France, 1F50 ultramarine, issued on 20 February 1934, designed by Daragnès. The symbolism of the dove with the olive branch was reproduced on the preliminary designs of the Canadian stamp. It is to be noted that the olive branch was not retained in the final draw of the stamp.


Maximum card and stamp issued for the Peace Conference held in Paris, France, from 29 July to 15 October 1946

Dove of Peace – France

20 February 1934


Private designers issued over fifty different first day covers with the Canadian stamp. Several of those covers are shown hereafter; the cachet makers are provided whenever identified.


Caneco Envelopes Company cachet; Two shades of blue; Back view of the International Aviation Building, 1080 University Street, occupied by ICAO from 1947 to 1975

(See footnote 1)


Insert printed by Caneco Envelopes

Company presenting the stamp issue and first day cover

Logo of Caneco Envelopes Company, printed on the back. It is to be noted that some of the covers with the above cachet do not have the Caneco logo printed on the back.

Grover Thermal cachet (raised printing); Red and Black


Grover Litho (flat) printing cachet; Red and Black

JCR (Joseph C. Rosenbaum) cachet; Blue and Brown

American cachet maker Cachet Craft; Ken Boll designer


Sanders cachet; Blue and red; Torch and dove (See footnote 6)


Sanders cachet; Green, red, and blue; Map of Canada; Torch and dove

(See footnote 6)


Philatelic Supply multicolored cachet

Philatelic Supply multicolored cachet, with red sunlight added

Personal cachet; Red and Blue; Lockheed Constellation


Fluck cachet, Black; Lockheed 18-10 Lodestar delivered to TransCanada Air Lines (TCA) in January 1941 and converted to model 18-08A in 1942; registered

CF-TCV in Canada; Map with border between USA and Canada


Fluck cachet, Blue; Lockheed 18-10 Lodestar delivered to TransCanada Air Lines (TCA) in January 1941 and converted to model 18-08A in 1942; registered CF-TCV in Canada; Map with border between USA and Canada

Overseas Mailers cachet (Hand-painted), multicolored; Convair B-36. This design is symbolic of the conversion of military aircraft to civilian transport use after WWII.

Maple Leaf cachet; Blue and Red


Middlesex Stamp Circle cachet; Coat of Arms; Map of Canada; Peace Tower in Ottawa; Brown and Green


C. George Junior III type B cachet; Blue and Red

Canada Post Office Replacement Cover. The Post Office traditionally supplied these to collectors or dealers who supplied their own cachets for first day cancellations; whenever such covers were damaged in servicing, the Post Office substituted them with replacement covers as a souvenir of the first day of issue event (hence the replacement designation).


Cachet Craft cachet (Ken Boll design); Douglas DC-3; Magenta and Blue; Initial UN emblem as used for the lapel pin designed for the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) held in San Francisco in 1945

Van Dahl General Purpose cachet (Type 3); Blue and gold; Crown of covers surrounding the earth centered on North America

Velvatone flocked cachet (Type 1); Designed by A.W. Dargis; Purple and Apple Green

(See footnote 2)


Velvatone flocked cachet (Type 1); Designed by A.W. Dargis; Purple and Dark Green

(See footnote 2)


Velvatone flocked cachet (Type 2); Designed by A.W. Dargis; Red/Brown and Apple Green (See footnote 2)


H&E type A with logo cachet (thermal ink, raised cachet); Designed by Hearl Grasiadei; Green and Brown

(See footnote 3)


H&E type B no logo cachet (thermal ink, raised cachet). The H. & E. logo that is usually printed below the lines at the bottom is missing. Green and Brown

(See footnote 3)


H&E raised cachet (thermal ink, raised cachet), Green and Brown; Variety with colour shifting during printing

(See footnote 3)

Jacobi type A cachet;

Blue/turquoise and Red; Designer: R.K. Smith; Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation; Northern Gannet or Morus Bassanus in flight

(See footnote 4)


Jacobi type A cachet;

Blue/turquoise and Red; Autographed by Designer: R.K. Smith; Lockheed L-1049C

Super Constellation; Northern Gannet or Morus Bassanus in flight

(See footnote 4)


Jacobi Type B cachet; Gray & Red-brown; Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation; Northern Gannet or Morus Bassanus in flight

(See footnote 4)


Jacobi cachet; Medium Turquoise and Red; Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation; Northern Gannet or Morus Bassanus in flight

(See footnote 4)


H&E / UEL Calgary (Universal Engravers Limited) cachet; Blue; Sketch of an airplane with ICA acronym, the last letter of ICAO is to be found from the concentric circles. Note that the letters H E are printed on the rudder of the aircraft.


H&E / UEL Calgary (Universal  Engravers Limited) cachet;  Blue; Variety: Missing UEL logo; Sketch of an airplane with ICA acronym, the last letter of ICAO is to be found from the concentric circles. Note that the letters H E are printed on the rudder of the aircraft.


ArtCraft General Purpose Industry cachet (type A); Black; Shield bearing the quartered arms of  Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; Maple leaf; Industrial view of Canada

ArtCraft General Purpose

Hand-Tinted Industry cachet (type A); Coloured (maple leaf in light green and coat of arms in rose); Shield bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova

Scotia and New Brunswick; Maple leaf; Industrial view of Canada


ArtCraft General Purpose Parliament cachet (type B); Parliament Hill in Ottawa with the distinctive Peace Tower; The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Union Jack in the

upper-right corner; Shield bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

ArtCraft Type 2 Black cachet; Pictures  of  meteorological station and communications  service; ICAO emblem; ConvairCV-240

(See footnote 5)


Chateau  Laurier cachet; Hotel in Ottawa, ONT, part of the Hotel System of the Canadian National Railways

Roessler General Purpose Black Coat of Arms Cachet. The cachet illustrates the coat of arms of Canada, as per Canada Special Delivery Stamp (10-cent green), issued on 16 September 1946. The laurel and olive branches symbolize Victory and Peace.


ArtCraft Type 1A black cachet; ICAO Council in Session, on 10th floor of the International Aviation Building, 1080 University Street


ArtCraft Type 1B blue Cachet; ICAO Council in Session, on 10th floor of the International Aviation Building, 1080 University Street

ArtCraft Cachet showing the United Nations Council in Session

Ottawa Philatelic Society General Purpose cachet (stamped)

House of Commons green stamp; Slogan postmark

Colorart Maxi-Card cachet; illustration designed by Artist F. Amele, depicting a dove, and titled: Levelling Off for a Landing


Stanley Stamp Co. General Purpose  cachet (light blue), illustrating the arms of Canada

Stanley Stamp Co. General Purpose  cachet (light brown), illustrating the arms of Canada


Unknown cachet illustrating the coat of arms of Canada (a little flattened).

Unknown cachet

Unknown cachet; Red eagle and aircraft, blue elks

C. George Type A cachet; Douglas DC-6, Blue and Red raised print


Unknown cachet; Green Maple Leave

First day issue on service cover sent by the Canadian Bank Note Company, Ottawa. The latter company printed the stamp of this issue.


ArtCraft cachet – Honoring UNESCO (Picture showing people Listening to UNESCO Educational Radio Broadcast)


Gray cachet. A.W. Gray & Associates Inc. is a surety insurance agency located in British Columbia.

Unknown cachet; Blue and Red



In additional to the above covers with cachets printed in large runs, some designers made their own hand-drawn and painted covers, which are scarce pieces:



Ralph Dyer cachets. One of these covers was addressed to Dr. Ross Knoble in Sandusky, Ohio. Note the spelling error in the last name (i.e. Noble). As Ralph Dyer, Dr. Ross M. Knoble produced many colorful hand-painted cachets.


First Day Cover with cachet by Jack Follows. One-of-a-kind cover.

On this totally awesome masterfully hand-drawn and lavishing hand-painted cachet, Jack Follows reminds us of the early days of air travel with his depiction of different vintage aircraft, single-wing and double-wing varieties, as they soar in the bountiful sky, which is punctuated with cotton-white clouds.

The add-on cachets by Englishman, Jack Follows (1927-1997) are very popular with collectors. They do not appear in the marketplace very often. Follows was known for his cartoonlike cachets which combined the themes of women, aviation, and comic characters. Each cachet was unique in design.


Unknown cachet


(1) Note on the Caneco covers:

ICAO prepared a special cachet (Caneco Envelopes Company design) and first day cover with the stamp issued by Canada.

The then-ICAO Secretary General, Carl Ljungberg, individually signed the printed note sent along with this FDC. There were at least two official distribution lists, with different printed letters made for each.

The ICAO Public Information Office (Mr. Léon Boussard) sent covers to UN officials, diplomats, airline executives, newspapers and other media.

The 9th Session of ICAO Assembly was held in Montréal from 31 May to 13 June 1955.






(2) Note on the Velvatone covers:

Velvatone cachets were produced by August W. Dargis. The design is applied by a silk-screen printing process. Before the ink dries, a "flocking" material is added, which give the design a "fuzzy" look and feel. Dargis produced his first Velvatone cachet in 1951, and continued to make them until shortly before his death in 2001 at age 87.


(3) Note on the above H&E covers:

The text in the cachet (INT. CIVIL AVIATION Organization Conference) is confusing; it seems to refer to the Chicago Conference, for which 1955 would not be a major anniversary. So, it could be considered as an error in the dates. However, it would have been more appropriate not to print the word Conference in this cachet.

Watermarked paper for these covers, with the text on three lines: EARNSCLIFFE / TINEN BOND / - BAG CONTENT CANADA – (the last part is in smaller letters) and an emblem (some sort of shield with the letter B in the centre, at the bottom: three leaves and an arrow, and in the upper part three Lorraine crosses).

The symbol with two horizontal bars on the cross is said to have been used during the First Crusade. However, the standard of Jerusalem with a single bar appears in paintings and sculptures. The Cross of Lorraine was used as a rallying symbol during the siege of the Lorraine town of Nancy in 1477. It became an icon of Joan of Arc (1412-1431). When a part of Lorraine was ceded to Germany after the 1870 war, the cross became a symbol of resistance. During World War II, General Charles de Gaulle (1870-1970) adopted the cross as a symbol of the Free French Forces. The Cross of Lorraine has also been used in the international struggle against tuberculosis.


(4) It is to be noted that the design of the Gannet was taken from the Canadian stamp Sc343 (15-cent Grey, Northern Gannet or Morus Bassanus in flight, issued on 1 April 1954, see picture here at the left-side).


(5) Note on the ArtCraft Type 2 cachet:

The upper picture in the cachet depicts a meteorological station in Switzerland taken in the early 1950s, with a Convair CV-240 in the background. Built in 1937 3,571 metres up in the Jungfraujoch, the Sphinx Observatory, is maintained by the Swiss Aeronautical Meteorological Service and symbolizes the vigilance of the world’s aviation meteorology networks over international air transport. Observations were made at that time between 6 in the morning and 7 at night. The Sphinx observatory at Swiss Alps is the highest-altitude construction in Europe.

The lower picture in the cachet shows a Monitor Control Unit (Communications Service), which provides facilities for an instructor to monitor any selected or all operating circuits in the complete trainer; a tape recorder either records any one selected circuit or may inject any prefabricated instructional material into any selected or all circuits in the system. The Monitor Control Unit was part of a Synthetic Air Traffic Communications Trainer, displayed at ICAO headquarters during the Personnel Licensing Division (held from 22 January to 14 February 1952) and designed by the US Civil Aeronautics Administration and ICAO, could be shipped to any section of the world where ICAO training assistance teams (within the framework of the UN Expanded Programme for Technical Assistance) would train local personnel in the operation of modern aerodrome equipment.


(6) Note on the Sanders cachet:

The torch that is depicted on the Sanders cachet was already used on a prior design (see here-below) commemorating the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) held at San Francisco, CA on 25 April 1945. Delegates from fifty nations, representing over eighty per cent of the world's population, people of every race, religion and continent, gathered at the City of the Golden Gate; all determined to set up an organization which would preserve peace and help build a better world. The United Nations Organization carries the torch for maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.


25 April 1945 - United Nations Conference. United States First Day Cover.

First Day of Issue postal cover with stamp and San Francisco postmark.