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Canada gets early start on Chinese New Year by issuing dragon stamps

01-11-2012 09:13 BJT Special Report:2012 New Year |

VANCOUVER, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Canada Post began selling its Year of the Dragon stamps Tuesday and officials with the national carrier expect the latest release from the popular Chinese Lunar New Year series to sell out quickly following the success of 2011' s sold-out Year of the Rabbit issue.

At a ceremony in Vancouver, one of several held across the country on the same day, Canada Post unveiled its two dragon offerings in a 61-Canadian-cent (about 60 U.S. cents) domestic stamp, and a 1.8 Canadian dollar international stamp. Altogether, 5.25 million domestic stamps are being issued, along with 500,000 international stamps.

The stamps are expected to be snapped up by collectors and the public alike within two weeks. Greg Kabatoff, Canada Post's director of retail sales for Western Canada, said every year the carrier's stamp program issues stamps that attempt to capture the country and what it means to be Canadian and showcase that to the world.

The Year of the Dragon stamps is the fourth issue of the carrier's second Chinese Lunar New Year series. It also includes first day covers, greetings cards, uncut sheets, souvenir sheets, coins and framed collectibles.

"The stamps are designed to celebrate our country, our history, our heroes and our leading personalities and the achievements and passions of our people," Kabatoff said.

"The stamps we are unveiling here today do just that. They celebrate the Lunar New Year and capture the importance of this world festival to many Canadian communities, families and individuals across our great nation," he added.

The new issue, designed by artists Louis Fishauf and Charles Vinh with calligraphy by James Tan, features a black and gold animated dragon on the domestic stamp set against a red background and a border of Chinese swirls. Calligraphy at the top right corner of the stamp reads "dragon."

The international stamp is particularly striking as a gold- embossed dragon bursts from the water with touches of foil added for vibrancy. A red background is again added, symbolizing good fortune and joy.

Shawn Wade, president emeritus of the University of British Columbia Coin and Stamp Club, was among the first in line at the Vancouver post office. With the auspicious nature of the dragon in Chinese culture, he expected the international edition to be in demand among philatelists.

"It is probably one of their (Canada Post's) better foreign- selling series. Some of the people here today buy stamps to send them to their relatives in the Far East. So I think a lot of people around the world like it and the key is good design. If you have a good design people will buy," Shawn Wade told Xinhua.

Fellow philatelist Daniel Wong purchased 700 Canadian dollars ( 688 U.S. dollars) worth of dragon stamps, both for collecting and as investment.

"With stamps, the first thing I can see is the culture, the design, and I can meet people. If I want to talk to people I have something to talk about, at least," he said. "When you see the stamp you see the history too. There's a lot of information in a stamp."

The lunar Chinese New Year for 2012 falls on Jan. 23. It is the most important traditional festival for Chinese across the world.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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