Online Resources and Exhibits

BABN Co. and the Small Queens
Moved from Ottawa to Montréal in October 1871

Christopher D. Ryan

October 2023


The British American Bank Note Company moved its production facilities from Ottawa to Montréal in October of 1871 with the permission of the Canadian government. The 1873 date given elsewhere, including Canada’s Postage Stamps of the Small Queen Era 1870-1897, is wrong. The “First Ottawa Period” of the Small Queens Issue is 1870-1871.

The incorrect 1873 date had been surmised from changes in the papers and inks found on the stamps. However, a change in printing location would not have necessarily produced or required any change in the materials as the Company transferred its supplies and personnel from Ottawa.

The changes in papers and inks could be connected to some degree with a fire of 27 March 1873 that severely damaged or destroyed the ink-shop of the Company in Montréal. A previous fire of 30 November 1869 in the Company’s secondary building in Ottawa had destroyed two of the three perforating machines located there, as well as damaged its printing presses. One perforating machine was quickly reconstructed. Two new perforating machines were purchased in March-June 1870.

Details together with supporting citations and sources can be found in the Second Quarter 2023 issue of BNA Topics (Vol. 80, No. 2, pp. 11-20).

Additional Reference:
- J. Hillson, J.E. Nixon. Canada’s Postage Stamps of the Small Queen Era 1870-1897. Toronto: Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, 2008.


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This page was last modified on 2023-10-08