Before joining the Dominion of Canada in 1949, the province of Newfoundland issued its own stamps. Of all the provinces, Newfoundland was by far the most prolific stamp issuer. In total, over 300 different stamps were issued from 1857-1947, including airmail, postage due stamps and postal stationery. A complete collection of Newfoundland stamps easily traces the province’s history and notable events, and can be a valuable educational tool.
Some of the most valuable Newfoundland stamps are the early pence issues, since so few of these were issued. However, one of the attractive features of collecting Newfoundland stamps is the fact that they are generally within the reach of most collectors.
Obviously, the Royal family featured prominently on stamps from Newfoundland, but as early as 1868, the province began issuing stamps depicting other subjects as well. On that year, we see the first stamps with an image of a codfish, and another depicting a harp seal. These are important symbols of Newfoundland heritage as they are a part of its fishing industry. Products derived from each are significant contributors of its economy. Let’s not forget the English crew who claimed that Newfoundland waters were so thick with codfish they could barely get a boat through! In 1897, a stamp was issued with mining as its subject. The 5¢ violet stamp was the first stamp ever issued to feature a mining theme. Appropriate, since mining contributes billions of dollars to the province’s economy.
Other stamps feature Newfoundland’s landscape, different scenic locations, buildings and various other aspects of life there. Of course, we cannot forget the Newfoundland’s issue of the trail of the caribou (Scott #115 to 126). The caribou is an important symbol of Newfoundland; it was even the symbol of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Some estimate that there are over 100,000 of these noble beasts on the rock. Newfoundland also marked important events in its development on stamps. For example, there are stamps depicting the establishment of Newfoundland as a British colony by Humphrey Gilbert, transatlantic flights which took off from the island, and war memorials.
On June 23, 1947 the last Newfoundland postage stamp was issued before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. Newfoundland postage stamps remain valid for mail posted anywhere in Canada, although they are rarely used for that purpose.
Why not make Newfoundland stamps, or other Canada provinces stamps a part of your collection!