How to Collect the Squared Circles of Canada
First of all, the Squared Circles of Canada which I will soon abbreviate to “SC’s”, are a rich and wonderful opportunity for the collector who wishes to specialize. They fit into one of those areas that offer specialists many great challenges and opportunities.
Here are a few of the high points from my perspective and some of the ‘Why’s” of collecting SC’s.
- They have been out of use for many years.
- They were used during a fairly limited window of time, basically 1893 – 1920’s (though there were some later usages).
- They offer focused and somewhat limited collecting areas with definite boundaries.
- They appeared during an era of some of Canada’s most wonderful stamp issues, the Small Queens, The Numerals and Leafs, The Jubilees, The Map Issue of 1898, Edward VII, and the Admirals.
- There were only a few hundred towns to use this canceller.
- The squared circles appeared on a lot of wonderful printed advertising covers and on some lovely postal stationary.
- They are a visually appealing cancel.
- If minutia appeals to you there is certainly plenty of that.
- And there are many rarities; in fact even the more common material is relatively scarce.
- Lastly, they have investment value, though this is the last criteria of importance to the serious collector.
I can only express that these are some of my reasons for enjoying this specialty. As you become more advanced in this hobby it becomes more difficult to find good material to add to your collection.
Here are some of the ways that different collectors choose to approach these cancels.
- Squared Circles on Stamps – finding all the different hammers (towns).
- Squared Circles on cover – same as above but with sub categories.
- Squared Circles on certain stamps, some can offer advanced collections of just one stamp issues. These may include, Large Queens, Small Queens, Leaves, Numerals, Jubilees, Map Stamp, Edwards, Registration Stamps, Admirals. (And sub collections of covers on these etc.)
- Town collections, some folks collect the more common towns to make calendar collections or reference collections of multiple material from one town.
- Indicia collections, time marks, ornaments, and errors.
- Squared circles on as many stamp issues as can be found.
- Late uses of SC’s, some exist up into the 40’s and a few beyond.
- Multiple SC towns on one cover.
- Squared circles of a specific province, region or category (Type one or Type Two)
And there are more twists or sub categories for the specialist.
All of the above categories are fodder for future articles so keep you eyes peeled.
I have always seen squared circles as a ‘Treasure Hunt” , the search for philatelic gold!
Why? Because you can’t just go out and buy any squared circle you want. Some of this material is so limited it only exists in collections and only comes on the market once in a generation.
Guess what, if you wanted 20 copies of $2.00 Jubilee mint you could probably have them within a day or a few days (if you have the money)!
Show me where I can buy a Coleman or a Revelstoke on short notice? Right!… it isn’t going to happen. You may get one chance in a lifetime to pick up one of the great rarities.
Enough rambling for this post, there are many ways for a collector to approach How to Collect the Squared Circles of Canada and we hope over time to discuss most of them. I look forward to our next conversation! And… in one of my next posts we will talk about where to find squared circle material.
Paul H Grimm
Oct 8th, 2011