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604-684-4613

Canada 2004 Year of the Monkey Stamps and FDC's

Canada Year of the Monkey StampsThere's something new under the moon. Canada Post's very popular Lunar New Year stamp series celebrates its eighth year with a difference. This year's stamps illustrate a narrative - two scenes from the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West.

Journey to the West is the fabulous and funny 16th century tale of Sun Wu-k'ung, the Monkey King, a troublemaking trickster who relentlessly defies authority but is redeemed in the end.

Because he is well-known and loved in Asia as a spirited rebel, Canada Post has chosen this clever character to represent the Year of the Monkey in 2004. In Chinese tradition, each year is believed to have the characteristics of one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In this year's spirit of simian mischief, one stamp design at the domestic rate (49¢, pane of 25) and one stamp design in a souvenir sheet at the international rate ($1.40) honour the mythical monkey whose antics define the term "monkey business."

Souvenir sheet, $1.40 International rate

$2.95 CDN

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Canada Year of the Monkey StampsA very limited and hard to find overprint of 200,000 have also been made for the Hong Kong Stamp Expo.

This is similar to the first Lunar New Year issue for the Year of the Rabbit in 1997, now worth three times what they were sold for.

We have some!

$3.95 CDN

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Canada Year of the Monkey StampsThe stamps tell the Monkey King's story through their design as well as their imagery.

Impossible to reproduce here, there is an applied clear holographic foil to the monkey's image, because the shifting colour represents so well the monkey's transforming character." Being the attention-seeker he is, Monkey also appears in the foreground of both images, embossed to ensure he stands out.

On the collectible press sheet, Monkey's eventual enlightenment is suggested by a background sunburst design in pearlescent ink. And while images of all 12 zodiac animals appear along the press sheet's border, only Monkey's image is outlined in gold metallic foil, representing enlightenment achieved.

Gold foil was also applied to the stamps to highlight typographic elements and Chinese characters, attracting the eye in a way that gold ink would not. In total, nine colours were used in printing the stamps, including custom shades of red and green to add intensity, and a special shade of beige that matches the background colour of the original watercolour paintings.

applied clear holographic foil to the monkey's image, because the shifting colour represents so well the monkey's transforming character." Being the attention-seeker he is, Monkey also appears in the foreground of both images, embossed to ensure he stands out. On the collectible press sheet, Monkey's eventual enlightenment is suggested by a background sunburst design in pearlescent ink. And while images of all 12 zodiac animals appear along the press sheet's border, only Monkey's image is outlined in gold metallic foil, representing enlightenment achieved. Gold foil was also applied to the stamps to highlight typographic elements and Chinese characters, attracting the eye in a way that gold ink would not. In total, nine colours were used in printing the stamps, including custom shades of red and green to add intensity, and a special shade of beige that matches the background colour of the original watercolour paintings. The stamps are based on two richly detailed watercolour illustrations by Anita Kunz, which appear in their entirety on the souvenir sheet.The stamps are based on two richly detailed watercolour illustrations by Anita Kunz, which appear in their entirety on the souvenir sheet.

On the domestic rate stamp, Monkey is shown in confrontation with the Jade Emperor, whose throne he has tried to usurp. According to the tale, Monkey was king of an Earthly land, but was determined to join the immortals in heaven. He mastered some supernatural tricks, such as shape-changing and cloud-leaping, before arriving in heaven, where he was made the Jade Emperor's stable-keeper.

When he discovered this post was a dubious honour, he destroyed the royal banquet in a rage, eating all the immortal peaches, one of which he still clutches in the stamp image. He then battled the Emperor's soldiers to a draw, and we see him on the stamp in his moment of defiance, declaring himself ruler of the universe. Shortly afterwards, he is chastened by Buddha, who pins him under a mountain for 500 years.

Here's a newsletter about it.

See all 9 Lunar New Year stamps here.

Domestic rate 49¢ sheet of 25

$24.95 CDN

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year of the monkey

The First Day Covers of the 2004 Year of the Monkey stamps, both the 49¢ domestic rate and $1.40 International rate, have an interesting error. On the back of the envelope, there is a description of the stamp in both English and Chinese. However, the date of the Lunar New Year is incorrect in the English version. The actual date is January 21, 2004.
Domestic rate 49¢ First Day Cover

$3.95 CDN

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year of the monkey

International rate $1.40 First Day Cover

$4.95 CDN

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