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EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB EXAMPLE OF THE CANADA 12-PENCE BLACK ON LAID PAPER. ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST DESIRABLE CLASSIC STAMPS AND ONE OF THE FINEST KNOWN.
The first Pence Issues of Canada were printed by the New York firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, the same firm that printed the New York Postmaster's Provisional and United States 5c and 10c 1847 Issue. The Pence issues, and particularly the 12-pence, show the same fine quality of engraving that distinguishes the U.S. 1847 Issue. The stamps were printed early in 1851 (12p issued June 14), at the same time that RWH&E's contract for providing United States stamps was coming to an end. The 12-pence plate proved difficult for RWH&E. Faulty impressions were laid out twice before the third and final entries, resulting in many positions showing re-entries.
The 1851 12-pence stamp was issued for prepayment of the basic letter rate to Newfoundland, Bermuda and the West Indies, but its value -- stated in pence rather than "one shilling" to avoid confusion -- also corresponded to the double 6p rate to the United States and certain other countries. However, its use was very limited and, according to Boggs, only 1,450 were sold. The balance of the 51,000 printed was destroyed.