First Christmas Map Stamp

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     George R. Parkin published The British Empire Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection in 1893 to further the cause of imperial unity. Parkin was then perhaps the most influential advocate of a united British Empire; not surprisingly, his map was a crystallization of the perceived physical and geopolitical unity of the Empire onto a single sheet. By the conscious choice of size, projection, and coloring, and by the judicious marking of naval and coaling bases, railways and telegraph and steamer routes, Parkin attempted to demonstrate the reconstruction of the world which modern technology had produced and which in turn had made the scattered British Empire an organic unity.
     In 1898 in anticipation of the imperial penny post, the Canadian Postmaster General, Sir William Mulock, consulted Parkin for a suitable subject for a stamp intended to emphasize the unity of the Empire, and accepted his recommendation of the map as an appropriate subject. Parkin told a friend, “It will be a miniature reproduction of my map of the empire with Canada in the centre, with a strong Imperial Motto, and various other Imperial embellishments.” The motto “We Hold a Vaster Empire Than Has Been” is from a poem by Sir Lew Morris, 1887.

SCN 85

     The red color indicates parts of the British Empire. However, the empire it indicates is "vaster" than reality. German South Africa, Portuguese East Africa and the Republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State, and Borneo are colored red, but were not British.

The Cartophilatelist, 34(1989)55.

SCN 86

     In 1998, 100 years after The Map Stamp was issued, that occasion was commemorated by the issuing of a stamp-on-stamp of The Map Stamp.

SCN 1722

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