The Newfoundland dog holds many distinctions. One of these distinctions involves stamps. The Newfoundland dog has the distinction of being the first animal to be commemorated on a postage stamp. Appropriately, this honour was accorded to the Newf by its native country, Newfoundland, which issued its own stamps until it became a province of Canada in 1949. This first stamp, originally issued in 1887, was a ½ cent denomination and had a head shot of a Landseer Newfoundland. Different versions were produced, some in orange and others in black. According to the Scott catalogue, the orange version would now cost $40.00 and the black version, $12.00.
Newfoundland issued two more stamps featuring the Newfoundland dog, in 1931 and again in 1937. This last stamp also accorded another distinction to the Newf, as the only dog to have shared a stamp with a monarch (King George VI).
The neighbouring islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon (a colony of France) issued two Newf stamp designs each used in multiple denominations. These stamps were issued in 1932 and 1938 – 40; they were also re-issued during World War II for Free France.
In 1988, in celebration of the centennial of the Canadian Kennel Club, the Canadian Post Office issued a set of stamps commemorating native Canadian breeds. Of course, one of these was of the Newfoundland dog.
Just as the Newfoundland dog has moved from its place of origin to now be found all over the world, so too has its commemoration on stamps. In fact there are Newfie stamps to be found on every continent on Earth except for Australia.
The African countries of Tanzania and Zaire have stamps with Newf head shots. Mali, Angola and Gambia produced stamps with full bodied pictures of a Newfoundland. The latter two stamps are thought by some to be ugly. It would seem that they have portrayed the Newf from its earlier days; in fact, Angola uses the term “St. John Water Dog”. Uganda’s Newfie stamp is an action shot of a Newf diving to save a drowning human.
The Caribbean is represented by Grenada with a souvenir sheet featuring six dogs, one of which is a Newf. Paraguay, in South America, put out a head shot stamp in 1986 and in Europe, Monaco issued a full bodied Newfoundland stamp in 1993.
Yakutz, a state in the Asian part of Russia, produced a souvenir sheet of stamps which included a Newfoundland. If you would like this Newfie stamp, you’ll have to buy the whole sheet as they managed to run a perforation line through nearly every dog on the sheet and the Newfie has both vertical and horizontal lines through his body.
When you consider the variations (different denominations and over printing) in some of the above issues (St. Pierre et Miquelon alone has 38 different stamps), you could make a whole collection out of Newfoundland dog stamps.
Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979. In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada. When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.
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