First U.S. Joint Issue

First U.S. Joint Issue

U.S. #1131 – The U.S. stamp from the joint issue.

On June 26, 1959, the U.S. issued its first of many joint issue stamps with another nation.

America’s first joint issue stamp was created to honor the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The U.S. and Canada worked together to create the seaway to connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

Producing a joint issue was unheard of in both the U.S. and Canada at the time, and it posed a number of logistical issues. For starters, postal officials from both nations had to agree on a design, as the final stamps would be similar in appearance aside from their country designations and denominations. They also had to consider each nation’s postal laws and the procedures for producing First Day Covers.

Canada #387 – The Canada stamp from the joint issue.

But in the end, the postal officials worked well together and created a stamp that honored the seaway (with a map) and represented both nations with a maple leaf and bald eagle. Each nation then printed its own stamps, which is another interesting part of the story.

The U.S. stamps were printed on the Giori press, which could print up to three colors at the same time. But the Canada stamps were printed from two engraved plates that had to be run through the press separately. Between printings, some of the sheets were rotated, resulting in an inverted center error. The errors were discovered two months after the stamps were issued and eventually became Canada’s most famous stamp error.

Item #M11468 – a 2014 reproduction of the St. Lawrence Seaway error stamp.

Both St. Lawrence Seaway stamps were issued on June 26, 1959, the day the seaway was officially dedicated by President Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II.

In the years since, the U.S. has issued more than 40 joint issues with other countries.

See more U.S.-Canada joint issues below:

U.S. #1690
Canada #691
U.S. #1721
Canada #737
U.S. #2091
Canada #1015
U.S. #4074
Canada #2156

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9 responses to "First U.S. Joint Issue"

9 thoughts on “First U.S. Joint Issue”

  1. That was interesting. I forgot about the stamps and what they looked like. I wish they would put
    some of them out to use again. Maybe it would get kids into saving postage stamps again.

    Reply
    • Audre, that’s a nice thought; however, youth often emulate adults, and when their role models rarely make the effort to sit down and actually write a letter to send through the mail, (finding it easier to e-mail or Facebook a message), then it is very difficult to develop interest in a hobby such as stamp collecting. Maybe if we all at least start sending post cards or Birthday cards through the mail with some of our colorful stamps, we can provide some opportunities… or just stay in touch.

      Reply
  2. I have always found our neighbor to the north to be most cordial, both in academic contacts and in personal ones. When trading color slides via the mails, we would both make sure we used interesting stamps for one another; it was great when we had some like those featured in this article.

    Reply
  3. The St Lawrence Seaway project was funded equally by both Canada and the USA. Both nations use it for a very close trading relationship. Why can’t the rest of the world get along like the USA and Canada? Anyone know why this partnership works so well?

    Reply
  4. PERHAPS IF THE POST OFFICE WOULD OFFER NEW ISSUES THAT COULD BE BOUGHT AS A SINGLE STAMP VERSES HAVING TO BUY A WHOLE SHEET WOULD HELP GET KIDS STARTED TO COLLECT AND TEACH THEM HOW TO SPEND THEIR MONEY PRUDENTLY

    Reply
    • I agree. I remember saving my allowance (25 cents) in the 1960’s and buying 5ct issues put aside for the young collectors by our postmaster.

      Reply
    • Canada is America’s largest state. The entire population of Canada lives pressed against the fence at the American border. They do leave the fence for hockey games. But that’s why….

      Reply

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