Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition (CAPEX - 1978)


UPU Congress, Ottawa, 1957

Map of Canada encircled by a post horn.

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) includes most postal administrations. Canada became a member in 1878 and hosted the UPU Executive Committee Meeting in Ottawa in 1933. In 1957, the 14th UPU Congress was held in Ottawa, with its proceedings occurring in the House of Commons. CAPEX 78 International Philatelic Exhibition, held from 9 to 18 June 1978 in the Automotive Building, Exhibition Place, Toronto, was the occasion to commemorate the centenary of Canada joining the Union. The acronym CAPEX stands for CAnadian Philatelic EXhibition.


Show imprint

developed by the UNPA

Sponsored by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, under the patronage of the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP) and under the auspices of the Federación Interamericana de Filatelia (FIAF), the CAPEX-78 show was at that date the largest and most important in Canadian postal history. This was the nation's second international stamp exhibition, the first having been held in 1951. For the design of the CAPEX 78 commemorative issue of three stamps, Canada Post has gone to a stamp-on-stamp format which uses imperforate pairs of each of three of Canada's classics, a pair for each denomination. Carl Brett of Toronto designed these stamps. The engravings were executed by Robert Couture from original, which may be seen in the National Postal Museum, Ottawa. The 14-cent first class letter-rate stamp reproduces a pair of the 10-penny blue Jacques Cartier stamps issued in December 1854. François Riss originally engraved the portrait shown after a painting of Cartier, which is now in the Hôtel de Ville of St. Malo in France.


As participant in the exhibition, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) in cooperation with ICAO designed the special blue show imprint for this exhibition; the flight paths of the UN Geneva stamps (Scott #77-78) are reproduced on this hand-stamp.


Several philatelic items released in relation with the United Nations issue ICAO Safety in the Air (12 June 1978) were stamped with the special show imprint as noted hereafter. Some countries represented at the exhibition had their own cancels.


United Nations Geneva - First Day Cover - 12 June 1978

Official Geneva cachet; Cover designed by Brazilian Artist J.C. Pirralho in a competition organized by the Art Museum of São Paulo


United Nations - 12 June 1978 - Safety in the Air

The quotation on the cover is from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s response on behalf of her late husband (Charles Lindbergh), to the presentation of the Edward Warner Award from ICAO on 6 November 1975: The early flyers loved flying for itself – for the freedom and beauty of the sky, the adventure of life in the air … They wanted flying to be safer and faster … My husband believed that aviation would be one of the great forces of the future to bring nations together.

On the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic solo Atlantic flight (1977), a meticulously accurate reproduction of The Spirit of St. Louis was built in the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Aviation Foundation's restoration shop by American aviator and aircraft designer Paul Poberezny of Oshkosh, WI, and embarked on commemorative tours. The EAA reproduction was registered under the original's N-X-211 number.

In 1977, a Stinson SM-8A Junior was repainted in a black and orange scheme (with Spirit of EAA incription) and became known as the Chase Plane for the 50th Anniversary Lindbergh Tour. In July and September 1978, the Stinson and the replica of the Spirit of St. Louis visited 25 cities on two Canadian tours. The aircraft were piloted by retired American Airlines pilot Capt. Jim Barton and retired United Airlines Captain Verne Jobst (1929—1992) respectively. Jobst autographed the above cover.

The replica had visited more than 200 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico to keep alive the memory of Lindbergh's achievement and rekindle America's interest in its aviation history.  




ICAO Safety in the Air card issued by the UNPA. This souvenir card illustrates the various stamps issued by the United Nations in honour of ICAO (1955 and 1978 issues), for its outstanding work over three decades. Statement by the Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. Facsimile signature of the Secretary General. The pictures show New York and Geneva cancels.


This card was issued in 1978 to pay tribute to ICAO’s work in promoting safety in the air.

It provides a large retrospective of aviation history and development from 1903.

Four stamps were reproduced on this card, as follows:

  1. USA – 12 December 1928 - International Civil Aviation Conference;
  2. United Nations – 9 February 1955 - 10th Anniversary of ICAO;
  3. Canada – 11 March 1964 - Douglas DC-9 taking off and Uplands Airport, Ottawa (now Macdonald–Cartier International Airport). During the 1950s, the airport was a joint-use civilian/military field and was the busiest airport in Canada by takeoffs and landings.
  4. France – 3 March 1969 – Concorde First Flight.

Two stamps of the United Nations issue (12 June 1978) were affixed, along with the blue show imprint developed by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) for the CAPEX Philatelic Exhibition (9 to 18 June 1978).


ICAO Safety in the Air card issued by the UNPA.

Joint cancellation Canada (Canadian stamp issued on 10 June 1978, 14-cent 10d Jacques Cartier) and USA (US Stamp issued on 22 May 1978, 15-cent Eagle “A”, orange in coil stamp).


Hungary - Emblems of CAPEX 78 and the UPU.

Hungarian stamp issued on 4 June 1950, brown and mauve; Children’s Day – Physical Culture.

CAPEX 78 special Circular Date Stamp for the Hungarian Philately.


CAPEX 78 – Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition – Toronto 9 to 18 June 1978.

Card 1: A 7.5" x 5.5" Ashton-Potter Limited souvenir card featuring a colour progression of the Canada 12¢ Tom Thompson stamp (demonstrating the colour progression in the production of postage stamps by offset lithography).


CAPEX 78 – Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition – Toronto 9 to 18 June 1978.

Card 2: A 6" x 8" British American Bank Note Company souvenir card featuring the Canadian 3¢ Jacques Cartier stamp (Cartier Quadricentenary Stamp issued 1 July 1934) and a copy of the steel engraved design used on the stamp (The original drawing and engraving was made in 1885). The lower left inscription reads: Designed, engraved and printed by British American Bank Note, Ottawa.


CAPEX 78 – Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition – Toronto 9 to 18 June 1978.

Card 3: A 6.5" x 8.5" Canadian Bank Note Company Limited souvenir sheet (thin stock) featuring the Canadian 20-cent special delivery express stamp, issued on 1 June 1935 and an engraving below entitled "Progress", used on the stamp, with inscription: "The engraved vignette symbolic of progress was hand cut in steel in 1926. It was re-engraved in 1935 in reduced size to form part of the 20-cent special delivery stamps printed for the Canada Post by the Canadian Bank Note Company Limited". The lower left inscription reads: Designed, engraved and printed by British American Bank Note, Ottawa.


The above displays a set of the 3 printers miniature sheets (non-postal official CAPEX 78 philatelic exhibition cards engraved by Canadian Bank Note Company Limited; limited edition) issued for the 1978 CAPEX stamp show, each one "first day cancelled" with the appropriate United Nations and Canadian stamps.

A rare group as only 15 sets were prepared. The set consists of 3 cards (matched set #07370 in this case), each cancelled at the show on 12/06/78 on a Canadian CAPEX stamp (issued on 10 June 1978) and with the first day of issue cancel for the 25c ICAO/UN stamp (issued on 12 June 1978) and the scarce Capex 78 UNPA blue show cancel with the flight paths. All feature the CAPEX 78 insignia.




Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition – Toronto 9 to 18 June 1978.

With the two U.N. SAFETY IN THE AIR sets and U.N. New York First Day of Issue. Also Ottawa Postal Museum cancel.

The back of the cover shows the Capex 14-cent stamp cancelled CAPEX 12.VI.78.

The logo of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is shown on the front of the above cover. This cover was addressed to Mr. Richard K. Malott, who was, in 1978, the Advertising Manager of the Canadian Philatelist Journal issued by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada.