National Symbols on Stamps and Coins

Postal History
Faeroese Postal History 
Hungarian Hyperinflation
Soviet-Lithuania 1947-90
Encased Stamps
Dutch Silver Stamp 
A Jewel on a Stamp
TPG Post 
Azad Hind 
Christmas Island 
Nordic Swans

Kaulbach Island 
Canadian Nat. Symbols
Barcelos Rooster
Private - Personalized 
Swarovski Crystals 
St. Zeno 
St. George
St. Patrick 
St. Valentine 
Mother's Day  
Father's Day  
Seven Wonders 
Four Seasons

Hidden Messages
Gothic Alphabet

Philatelic Art Mews
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
National Portrait Gallery
Bjørn Wiinblad


The Canadian National Pride is very profound, and for good reasons.  The country has a dramatic beauty, is rich in natural resources, as well as the wildlife is second to none.  Not many other countries have depicted their national symbols on both coins and stamps.  I find the idea very original, and also charming, so here are images of the national symbols of Canada, as depicted on both postage stamps and coins.  The Maple Leaf also appears in the Canadian national flag.  

The coins are shown on the reverse side.  On the face side of all Canadian coins appears a bust of Queen Elizabeth II.   All coins shown here were minted 1998.  All coins shown belong to my own collection.  

1 cent
maple leaf

5 cents 

10 cents
schooner "Bluenose"

25 cents

Canada 1992.  
National Flag -- Maple Leaf 
Scott # 1388a 

Canada 1982.  "The Beaver" 
(Canada # 1)
Scott # 900

Canada 1982.  "Bluenose"
(Canada # 158)
Scott # 913

Canada 1956.  
Caribou (Reindeer)
Scott # 360

  • There are many impressive stamps depicting the Maple Leaf-theme.  This modest self-adhesive definitive is the one I personally like best, as it shows the flag clearly without any "disturbing" background image.  
  • In 1982 Canada held the International Philatelic Youth Exhibition in Toronto.  A set of five stamps was issued, among those a stamp featuring the original stamp of "Bluenose" (Scott # 913), and the "Beaver" (Scott # 909). 
  • The Caribou-stamp (definitive) issued 1956 comes also in ultramarine, 5c face value.  It is part of Canada Post's Wildlife Series 1953-1957.  Sample by courtesy of Canadian Postal Archives.  

The caribou, (Rangifer), Rendeer, Arctic deer, family Cervidae (order Artiodactyla), domesticated in some polar regions. Reindeer until recently ranged from Spitsbergen and Scandinavia to eastern Siberia. They are also native to North America and are divisible into two types: the northern, or barren ground, caribou of the tundra and taiga, and the woodland caribou of Canadian forests. Both types of reindeer are game animals valued for meat, hide, and antlers. Sportsmen recognize a third type, mountain caribou. Some authorities consider all reindeer to be a single species, R. tarandus; others assign them to several separate species. 

Reindeer differ from all other living deer in that both sexes have antlers; those of the females are smaller and simpler. The antlers themselves are long, with moderate branching on both the main beams and forwardly pointing brow tines. Reindeer stand 0.7–1.4 m (2.3–4.6 feet) at the shoulder and weigh as much as 300 kg (660 pounds). Small, domesticated races are about the size of donkeys. Stockily built animals, reindeer have large lateral hooves that allow the feet to spread on snow or soft ground. Colour varies from whitish to nearly black but in general is grayish or brownish with lighter underparts; the coat is thick and consists of hard, brittle outer hairs covering a dense underfur. 

Reindeer are strong swimmers and are always found in herds, famous for their seasonal migration between summer and winter ranges. Their numbers are now greatly reduced. They breed in fall, and males fight fiercely for harems. One or two calves are born after gestation of seven and one half months. The staple winter food is a lichen (Cladonia), popularly called reindeer moss, which the animals reach by scraping the snow away with their feet. In summer the diet also includes grasses and saplings. The main enemies of reindeer are humans, wolves, lynx, and wolverines. The reindeer herded by the Sami (Lapps) of northern Scandinavia and Russia are used as draft and pack animals. They are also a source of meat and milk, and their skins are used in the production of tents, boots, and clothing. In Siberia reindeer are also used as pack animals and as mounts.  

Finally the reindeer is featured in the famous Christmas song "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer".  

50 cents
 "half dollar" - coat of arms

1 dollar
"loonie" - loon

2 dollar
"toonie" - polar bear

Canada 1938.  Coat of Arms 
Scott E7

Canada 1998.  The Loon
Scott # 1697 

Canada 1998.  The Polar Bear 
Scott # 1698 

  • The 1938-issue "Special Delivery Express" shows the Canadian Coat of Arms. The same stamp was also issued in dark carmine colour, 20c. 
  • The loon-stamp issued 1998 has the face value of 1 Canadian dollar (colloquially called a loonie), corresponding to the 1-dollar coin. 

The Loon (Gavia), also called Diver, is any of four species of diving birds constituting the family Gaviidae (order Gaviiformes). These birds were formerly included, along with the grebes, to which they bear a superficial resemblance, in the order Colymbiformes (q.v.). Loons range in length from 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet). Characteristics include a strong, tapered bill; small pointed wings; webs between the front three toes; and legs placed far back on the body, making walking awkward. Loons have thick plumage, mainly black or gray above and white below. During the breeding season the dorsal plumage is patterned with white markings, except in the red-throated loon (species Gavia stellata), which, during the summer, is distinguished by a reddish brown throat patch. In winter the red-throated loon develops white speckling on the back, while the other species lose these markings. 

Almost wholly aquatic, loons can swim long distances underwater and can dive from the surface to a depth of 60 m (200 feet). They are generally found singly or in pairs, but some species, especially the Arctic loon, or black-throated diver (G. arctica), winter or migrate in flocks. The voice is distinctive, including guttural sounds and the eerie, wailing cries, which in North America gave rise to the common name loon. They feed mainly on fishes, crustaceans, and insects. The nest is usually a heap of vegetation at the water's edge, in which two (or rarely three) olive-brown, spotted eggs are laid. The parents share the task of incubation. The chicks hatch in about 30 days and, as soon as their down is dry, enter the water with the parents. Although loons are strong fliers, all but the small red-throated loon need a broad expanse of water for takeoff. Thus, except for G. stellata, they are limited to large lakes. 

The common loon, or great northern diver (G. immer), is the most abundant loon in North America; its counterpart across Eurasia is the similar white- (or yellow-) billed diver (G. adamsii). The red-throated and arctic loons are virtually circumpolar in distribution, the latter being most abundant on the Pacific coast of North America.

  • Equally the polar bear stamp issued 1998 has the face value of 2 Canadian dollars (colloquially called a toonie), corresponding to the 2-dollar coin.

The rhyme between loonie and toonie is good, and one is not mistaken about one-dollar and two-dollar.  :-)  

In 2003 Canada Post issued its 4th high value stamp in the wildlife series, depicting the moose.  Please note that the moose is not part of the national symbols on coins.  Although closely related, a moose is different from the caribou (reindeer).  

  • Canada 2003. Pane of moose.  

Moose inhabit the northern parts of North America and Eurasia. They prefer being near water and often wade into forest-edged lakes and streams to feed on submerged aquatic plants. They also eat a variety of grasses, herbs, and bark. Usually solitary, moose in North America often assemble in small bands in winter and tramp the snow firm in a small area to form a “moose yard.” Their normal gait is a stiff-legged, shuffling walk that enables them to cover ground with surprising speed. They sometimes trot but seldom run. Moose are usually shy, but they tend to be unpredictable and belligerent. During the breeding season, in autumn, the males will fight fiercely for mates. One to three ungainly young are born after gestation of about eight months. The female cares for the calf until the birth of another is imminent. 

Moose generally are hunted both for trophies -- their huge antlers and head -- as well as for their flesh, which is beeflike but somewhat dry and with strong-tasting fat. The pressure of unrestricted hunting substantially reduced the numbers of moose and virtually eliminated them from the southern parts of their range, especially in the United States. They are now generally protected by law, both in North America and in Europe, and hunting is closely controlled.

Sources and links: 

Revised 02 nov 2006 
Copyright © by Ann Mette Heindorff
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