Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Canada Post Puts Stamp on 50 Years of Canadian Formula 1 Racing

Photo Credit: Canada Post

Race fans visiting a Canada Post outlet in recent weeks enjoyed both a reminder of the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix (or also known as the Formula 1 Grand Prix Du Canada) as well as a celebration referencing 50 years since the first Formula 1-sanctioned event was held on our soil. A tribute to five decades of Formula 1 action that occurred almost annually (excluding 1975, 1987 and 2009 seasons), races at Mosport Park, Circuit Mont-Tremblant and at the present home on the track now-known as Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is recalled with a special postal collection. Entitled simply as "F1 in Canada", Canada Post's stamp set commemorating the 2017 milestone features the artistry of Paprika of Montreal in detailing five of Formula 1's most brilliant personalities who ever sat behind a steering wheel for the grand prix.

The official unveiling of the F1 in Canada stamps was made on May 15th with Sir Jackie Stewart and Joann Villeneuve (Gilles Villeneuve's widow). Representing different eras for the sport competing over 50 years, the F1 in Canada stamp set features four past legends as well as one driver who is actively building on his already remarkable 11 seasons in Formula 1.

Three-time World Driving Champion and 55-time race winner Lewis Hamilton scored his initial career win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as a rookie in 2007 driving for McLaren. Winning five Canadian Grand Prix events including the previous two with Mercedes AMG, Hamilton is second only on the total victory chart to Michael Schumacher. Standing at the top of the podium on seven occasions, the record-setting German also earned a spot in the Canada Post stamp set. One record broken by Schumacher was all-time pole positions set by another F1 in Canada stamp image. An iconic Brazilian who won 65 career poles and inspired an entire generation of racers, Ayrton Senna claimed the Canadian Grand Prix in 1988 and 1990 en route to two of his three championship seasons. Popularly remembered as the "Flying Scot" during the 1960s and 1970s, Sir Jackie Stewart competed in the first Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park in 1967. Stewart would go on to win the race in Canada during the 1971 and 1972 season.

The fifth and most befitting inclusion on Canada Post's F1 in Canada stamp release is Gilles Villeneuve. A Canadian Formula 1 competitor fondly remembered for his aggression on the race track, one of six career victories captured by Villeneuve was the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix. This 2017 stamp set is the second time the late Gilles Villeneuve is honoured on a Canadian postage paper. Villeneuve was previously celebrated individually by Canada Post in 1997 with a two-stamp offering featuring his likeness wearing a helmet along with his Ferrari 312T3 and 312T4 race cars. Applied to permanent domestic stamps, the pressing of five driver images is also joined by the artwork of a white coloured modern Formula 1 car rushing on track on front of a grandstand and the former American Pavilion seen at the current track on Notre Dame Island.

Being a motorsport enthusiast as well as a person who appreciates philately, I am ashamed to say the stamp set came as a complete surprise to me when it appeared in late May. Generally Canada Post announces many of their planned collector stamp series heading into a new year but did not recall any advance notice on a pressing saluting 50 Years of Formula 1 in Canada. Saying that, I do not mean to express anything other than pleasant surprise for the five-stamp set's release.

Available Releases for the F1 in Canada Stamps and Cost

Pane of 5 Stamps: $4.25
Booklets of 10 featuring two of each stamp design: $8.50
Set of Five First Day of Issue Special Envelopes: $9.25
Uncut Press Sheet Measuring 14.125" by 23.937": $21.25

There is also a very limited edition framed print version of each stamp design available. With between 250 and 750 examples being prepared as a charming framed item, Hamilton, Schumacher, Stewart and Villeneuve ones cost $99.95. 500 Jackie Stewart framed prints will feature an authentic autograph from the three-time Formula 1 champion and will cost $199.95.

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