Like most other countries Canada managed to collect the postage due on insufficiently prepaid mail matter for many years without the use of special stamps for the purpose. About 1906 it dawned on the Post Office Department that the use of special stamps would simplify matters and place the collection of monies due on a more systematic basis. Consequently a circular was issued to postmasters, under date of June 1st, 1906, advising them that postage due stamps would be issued and must, for the future, be used in collecting insufficient postage. The salient points from this circular are given by Mr. Howes as follows:—
Commencing on the 1st July, 1906, the present system of collecting unpaid postage will be discontinued and thereafter the following arrangements will supersede the regulations now in force:—
The Department will issue a special stamp which will be known as the “POSTAGE DUE” stamp and on delivery of any article of mail matter on which unpaid or additional postage is to be collected the Postmaster will affix and cancel as ordinary stamps are cancelled, postage due stamps to the amount of the extra postage charged on such article.
The short paid postage must be collected from the addressee before postage due stamps are affixed; otherwise the Postmaster is liable to lose the amount of such postage.
Postmasters will obtain postage due stamps on requisition to the Department but the initial supply will be furnished without requisition, so that the new system may go into operation on the date above mentioned. When a new form is ordered “postage due” stamps will be included in the printed list, but it is proposed to use the stock on hand at present which would otherwise have to be destroyed. The denominations of the new stamps will be 1, 2 and 5 cents.
In his Report for 1906 the Postmaster-General refers to the new innovation as follows:—
A system of accounting for short paid postage collected by Postmasters, by means of special stamps known as “Postage Due” stamps, has been adopted by the Department. These stamps are to be affixed to shortpaid mail matter and cancelled by Postmasters when such matter is delivered to the addressee, and are not to be used for any other purpose. They cannot be used for the payment of ordinary postage, nor are they to be sold to the public.
These stamps are of special design and though of the same size as the regular postage stamps the design is printed the longer way so that in general appearance they are greatly different. The design has, as its centerpiece, a large uncolored numeral on an eight-sided tablet. Above is CANADA and below is the word CENT while at the sides are elaborate scroll ornaments. Across the base the words POSTAGE DUE are shown in bold uncolored capitals while the balance of the design consists of an engine-turned groundwork.
They are printed from line-engraved plates in sheets of one hundred, as usual. In the centre of the top margin is the imprint, “OTTAWA”, followed by the plate number. Mr. Howes states that plate 1 is known for all three values and plate 2 for the 2 cent only.
1906. Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Co., Ottawa. No wmk. Perf. 12.