Like little mirrors, U.S. and world stamps chronicle world history and culture. Stamps are more than just a tool to show prepayment for mail delivery service, stamps also tell a story – and each one has a tale of its own.
On July 1, 1859, this Canadian stamp was issued to commerate the day Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec on August 23, 1541, during his third voyage to North America. The portrait of Jacques Cartier is from a painting by François Riss who is said to have copied it from another portrait. Some art authorities believe that the portrait is entirely spurious. Monsieur Riss, a Russian painter who moved to Paris, copied a picture reported to be the likeness of Cartier some three hundred years after Cartier’s first voyage. The historic chateau de Ramezay on Notre-Dame Street East in Montreal owns a similar 48(h) x 36(w) painting . A note appearing in the thirtieth edition of the gallery catalogue states that no genuine portrait of Cartier exists. The nearest is in Ramusio’s engraving of his visit to Hochelaga (now Montreal). Unused Stamp values are currently $1,396 USD (unused) and $93.10 (postmarked).