I have a classic airmail for you. Canada’s last airmail stamp, issued 73 years ago on Sept 16, 1946.
It was part of the post WW2 issues highlighting various peacetime scenes from around Canada. The set (all released Sept 16) included:
- 8c Farm Scene of Eastern Canada
- 10c Great Bear Lake in NWT
- 14c Quebec Hydro-Electric Station
- 20c Tractor Drawn Thresher
- 50c Loggin in BC
- $1 PEI Train Ferry
- 7c Canada Geese near Sudbury, On (airmail)
Herman Herbert Schwartz (1885-1962)
The set was designed by artist Herman Herbert Schwartz (1885-1962), the same man who designed one of Canada’s great classic stamps, the 1929 Bluenose. He was one of the first Canadian artists hired by Canada to design stamps. Prior to 1920, American artists were generally used. Schwartz was also responsible for the design of all Canada’s airmail stamps. I tried to find information on him but came up embarrassingly short on details. One sparse entry popped up in Archives Canada:
Herman Herbert Schwartz (1885-1962)
Herman Schwartz, who was of Dutch origin, showed little interest in the family spice business founded by his grandfather in Halifax in 1841, W.H. Schwartz & Sons. He was more interested in art and, in August 1909, he was hired as an apprentice by the American Bank Note Company of Ottawa.
He is credited with the design of many Canadian stamps issued between 1927 and 1954. The most famous work of this Nova Scotian artist continues to be the Bluenose issued in 1929. As well, he designed all the cachets used for the first postal flights made between 1929 and 1941. He also designed foreign postage stamps and Canadian bank notes.1
I found one photo of Schwartz in the Canadian archives.
And that’s about all I was able to source. For someone who played such an important part in Canadian postal history, it’s shocking to find so little about him.
Canada airmail C9 goose in flight
The Canada goose airmail was the last airmail stamp issued by Canada. Cancel collectors will be richly rewarded in their search with hundreds of different ones used over the years. I have about 40 so far but am always on the look out for new city or slogan cancels. I find the used stamps far more interesting than the mint.
Covers with interesting cachets are also another fun area to collect. I was a bit surprised to realise I have many C1s and 2s but only 1 decent C9 in my collection. No idea how I slipped up so badly. This is a nice cover, but i dislike the boring wavy line cancel across the stamp. Give me a good slogan cancel anytime.
The stamp remained in use for many years, so the chance for finding interesting cancels and markings is huge.
Collectors have 2 plate (1& 2) to acquire, as well as OHMS and G varieties. The first airmail official stamp (Scott #CO1), overprinted “O.H.M.S.” (On His Majesty’s Service), was issued in 1949. And last, but not least – booklet panes.
I get a kick out of sellers who label them “rare” and “rarely seen”. I have about 50 I picked up for a song at an auction years ago. Not particularly rare but delightful to own. Alas, not one has an error despite looking over and over for any. Error collectors should be happy with C9. A couple of major re-entries in plate 2 UR blocks can be looked for. If you have a few interesting airmails you want to swap for a pane, drop me a line in the comments below.
I’m going to keep looking for more info on Herman Schwartz. If I dig up anything, it’ll make a great addition to this page. Happy collecting everyone – one small stamp and tons of collectible material.
1 – Postal Archives @ Collections Canada https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/postal-archives/08060203_e.html and https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/postal-archives/08060203_e.html
2. Image courtesy Archives Canada, National Postal Museum (Canada) philatelic collections