Signs of the Zodiac: Cancer, the crab

Posted on June 22, 2011 by CPO in Latest Stamps

In the months of April, May and June, Canada Post will launch three more Signs of the Zodiac stamp issues, each one on the day in which each particular constellation takes its place of prominence in the zodiac calendar.

Signs of the Zodiac: Cancer, the crab
Our ancestors had to look closely to find this constellation they named for the crab—it’s very small and faint, with few stars. Even the brightest among them are relatively dim in comparison to other stars—so much so that Cancer has been considered a dark star, sometimes described as black and without eyes. Often it can be found only by looking to its heavenly neighbours—it lies between Gemini to the west, Leo to the east, Lynx to the north, and Canis Minor and Hydra to the south.

“Then a light among them brightened, So that, if Cancer one such crystal had, Winter would have a month of one sole day.” Dante, The Paradiso

Cancer is the fourth astrological sign in the zodiac. A water sign ruled by the changeable moon, the qualities of the Cancer personality are the least decisive of all of the signs of the signs of the zodiac. The strongest instincts in those born under this very emotional and highly dramatic sign are an intense home-loving nature and the need to seek a refuge from the stresses in life.

While not anti-social, Cancer is one of the most happily solitary signs. Cancers can appear tough and uncompromising. They need to balance their desire to be outgoing with their natural reserve. They have an air of purposefulness, a philosophical nature and frequently inspire others. Cancer individuals often possess considerable literary, artistic or oratorical talent—and many are drawn to the stage. They are also overly emotional; they cling to idealistic fantasies and while they give the impression that they are down to earth, they are often fascinated by the occult and tend to be more open to psychic influence than most. Cancers have a retentive memory of emotional events and tend to avoid the present, preferring to live in the past via memory and in the future through imagination.

In these three stamp issues, Paprika Design of Montreal continues the multi faceted design themes they first revealed in the Signs of the Zodiac: Aries issue, which became available this past March. According to Paprika Design’s Creative Director and Associate Louis Gagnon, “as more stamps in the series are released, the layering of the various thematic elements becomes more and more apparent. For example, when we add the OFDCs of these stamps to the one issued in March for the Aries stamp—we see the wheel of the zodiac begin to emerge. One gets a stronger understanding of the totality of the design.”

Getting creative with the cancel locations

With a dozen stamps in this series—and a highly integrated overall design with a strong thematic influence—Stamp Program Manager Elia Anoia and Stamp Services Writer/Researcher Joy Parks wanted to ensure that the cancel locations would add yet another layer of “theme,” one that was sufficiently broad that it could be adapted to the entire series. By combing list after list of the country’s post offices, the two assembled a dozen locations that provided one more element of wit to the issue.

Signs of the Zodiac: Cancer
Moonbeam, Ontario, named for the moon that rules the changeable emotions of those born under this sign.

Stamp Specifications

  • Product #: 413794111
  • Layout: Booklet of 10 stamps
  • Date of Issue: June 22, 2011
  • Price: $5.90
  • Denomination: PERMANENT™ domestic rate
  • Design/Illustration: Paprika
  • Dimensions: 32 mm x 32 mm (square)
  • Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
  • Paper Type: Tullis Russell
  • Perforations: Simulated perforation
  • Printer: Lowe-Martin
  • Printing Process: Lithography in 7 colours
  • Tagging: General, 4 sides
  • Quantity: 4,000,000 per booklet
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  • Product #: 403794145
  • Layout: Souvenir sheet of 4 stamps
  • Price: $2.36
  • Dimensions: 128 mm x 128 mm (square)
  • Gum Type: P.V.A.
  • Perforations: 13+
  • Quantity: 205,000
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  • Product #: 403794108
  • Layout: Gutter Product (set of 2)
  • Price: $14.16
  • Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
  • Perforations: Simulated perforation
  • Quantity: 4,500
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