Canada : 10th Anniversary of ICAO


Issue date: 01/06/1955



A guiding torch over a white dove flying to the right and upwards, with the maple leaf underneath, representing ICAO and Canada respectively.                                       


Back-printed stamp.


Stamp with strong offset on reverse, resulting from the transfer of part of the stamp design from one sheet to the back of another.



Perforated initials (Perfin) of Canadian General Electric Company Limited, Toronto, ON.

Characteristics of this perfin: catalogue pattern C16 (Die: C GE) (position 1).

Rarity of this perfin: F (301-1,000 reported copies).

Pattern C16 was used from 07/05/1953 (earliest postmark) until 22/07/1971 (latest postmark).

See footnote (*).



Perforated initials (Perfin) of Canadian National Railways, Winnipeg, MB.

Characteristics of this perfin: catalogue pattern C28 (Die: CNR) (position 4).

Rarity of this perfin: I (10,001 and more reported copies).

Pattern C28 was used from 25/07/1923 (earliest postmark) until 15/10/1993 (latest postmark).

See footnote (*).



Perforated initials (Perfin) of Canadian Pacific Railway Co., Vancouver, BC.

Characteristics of this perfin: catalogue pattern C36 (Die: CPR) (position 2).

Rarity of this perfin: H (3,001-10,000 reported copies).

All of the postmarks with this Perfin are from the Province of British Columbia. The Perfin approval was given on 01/12/1910. Pattern C36 was used from 16/02/1913 (earliest postmark) until 18/08/1968 (latest postmark).

See footnote (*).



Perforated initials (Perfin) of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario.

Characteristics of this perfin: catalogue pattern L1 (Die: LA) (position 4).

Rarity of this perfin: H (3,001-10,000 reported copies).

The Perfin approval was given on 26/10/1931. Pattern L1 was used from 26/01/1932 (earliest postmark) until 08/05/1990 (latest postmark).

See footnote (*).





Matching set of Plate Blocks with full printer’s marks in the selvage: -No 1 847 / Canadian Bank Note Co., Limited / Ottawa No 1.

Note that there had been only one print run of this issue, showing No 1 in the selvage of the corners of each pane.  This issue was printed with one plate Plate Number 1 (plate/sheet of 200 stamps, in 4 panes of 50 for distribution to the post offices), which means that only half the usual number of stamps was run off (quantity: 25 000 000); this would not clutter up the post offices that, by and large, did not favour at that time large size commemorative stamps, nor did the business houses. 

Four full sheets of 50 stamps.





Bottom of sheet autographed by Edward Warner, President of the ICAO Council in 1955.



Die Proof – Dated 20 January 1955.



Progressive Die Proofs – Dated 21 February 1955 and 24 February 1955 respectively.


Approved model.


Neat autograph by Walter Lohse, Designer of the stamp, on the first day cancel.

Background: This issue commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the interim Agreement and the first PICAO meeting, and honours the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 1955. At the time the stamp was issued, it was the only United Nations Agency with headquarters in Canada.

The oval form of the stamp design made it possible to obliterate the letters Z (in English) and S (in French) of the word organization on the top of oval. Repeating this word had not seemed desirable as the English and French texts of the Organization’s full name differed in length that would have made it necessary to off-centre the text.

This detail having been resolved, it was a question of achieving an aesthetic balance between the elements of the shield itself and the inscription underneath it, and at the same time ensuring a clear symbolism.

The flame of a torch, centred at the top of the oval and placed over the missing letter, represents the guiding light of the Organization. A dove, symbolic bird of peace, is flying to the right and upward, symbolizing a progressive development of civil aviation in the right direction.

The underlined word CANADA forms the base stability. A branch of three maple leaves, taken from the Canadian Coat of Arms, forms a link between the base (Canada) and the Organization. The corners of the stamp have purposely been left blank to give air to the design. The blue colour of the stamp is a normal association with the sky.

Flight has always represented freedom from physical restrictions of earth-bound life. Because birds come from the skies, they can also assume roles of messengers from higher power; they are usually linked with three symbolism. Among the birds, the dove is particularly present in the Greek tradition and the Bible (Chapter eight of Genesis). Noah released a dove after the flood. Since the dove brought an olive branch back to the ark of Noah at the end of the great flood, the dove suggests a retreat of water and new vegetation, and that God had made His peace with mankind. By extension, the dove became the classic representation of peace, quietness and understanding. Through the symbolic representation of the dove, the pictures of the Canadian stamp and the related first day covers echo explicitly the close relationship between flight and peace for promoting the understanding among nations of the world. Many stamps pay tribute to the homing ability of both the dove and the pigeon by showing these birds either carrying a message in the beaks or slung around their necks.

More background information on this issue can be found by clicking on: The 10th anniversary commemorated by Canada. First Day Covers for this issue were cancelled by mechanical cancellation with Pitney Bowes equipment.


The Post Office Department of Canada announced this stamp with the following News Releases and glossy publicity photo of the stamp (die proof, demonetized with a diagonal white line).




Canadian Post Office in-store advertising poster for the June 1955 International Civil Aviation Organization commemorative stamp.


Copy of the notice found in the ICAO Bulletin, April 1955.


Notice from The Canadian Philatelist, May 1955, page 5.



(*) Note on the above Perforated Initials (Perfin):

In Canada, stamps were perforated for identification as early as 1887. The Canadian Post Office acknowledged the existence of perfins in 1895, stating that it had no objection to the practice of perforating stamps with initials of the individual firm using them. It was not until 1910 that the Post Office ordered that the perforations must be approved prior to their use, and that the perforations not exceed specified limits. Thus, the Canadian Post Office authorized companies, government departments or provincial governments to perforate stamps to identify the source. It was felt that, if the company could somehow "mark" their stamps with some distinctive sign, employees would be hesitant to take them. The designs of the perforated marks (company initials or other) were for identification, and not for advertising. A machine was capable of perforating the stamps without destroying them from postal use. There are two general types of perfin: private and official; private perfins were used by commercial enterprises. Perfins are no longer widely used since the introduction of franking machines or postage meters. The DIE is a set of pins to make one complete design or set of initials, including a code hole if applicable; each die is unique.

A non-exhaustive list of companies using perfins with the ICAO stamp is given hereafter (with the abbreviation of their perfins between brackets): Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canadian General Electric Company (C GE), Canadian National Railways (CNR), Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR), Codville Co. Ltd. (C(co)), The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. of Canada Ltd. (CMS), Dennison Manufacturing Company (DM/Co), Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario (LA), New York Life Insurance Co. (NLY), and Swift Canadian Co. Ltd. (S).

The characteristics of the perfins are provided according to Jon C. Johnson & Gary Tomasson catalogue on Canadian Stamps with Perforated Initials.

When the perfins are punched, the sheets of stamps are often folded in halves or in quarters along the perforations; in that way, two or four stamps can be punched at the same time, thus resulting in perfins shown at different positions. The perfin insignia is readable as normal looking at the stamp. Position 1 is the commonest position; each position (from 2 to 4) is a 90-degree clockwise rotation from the previous position. Up to eight positions are possible.

The PERFIN FACTOR (or rarity) is an attempt to indicate the relative number of stamps reported with each insignia in the surveys; it is also an indication of the length of time the pattern was in use, as that determines the number of issues upon which the pattern can be found.