January 04, 2008 11:20 ET

The Rat Wraps up Canada Post's Lunar Stamp Series

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 4, 2008) - The wealth of legends that account for the naming of the years in the Chinese Lunar Calendar's 12-year cycle lend an imaginative quality to what has been deemed the oldest surviving calendar system in the world. And on January 8, Canada Post will issue a stamp and souvenir sheet celebrating The Year of the Rat, the final year of a 12-year series.

Canada Post issued its first Lunar New Year stamp in 1997 with the Year of the Ox, followed by the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Ram, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and the Pig. The Year of the Rat begins on February 7, 2008 and ends January 25, 2009.

With this sharp-witted schemer as an emblem, it's no wonder that Rat People are hailed as the resourceful masterminds of the Zodiac and that the Year of the Rat, the first in the lunar cycle, is a time of industry and prosperity. It is said that people born in the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm and for being thrifty, hard working and perfectionists. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.

You are a "Rat Person" if you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008. Famous Rats are William Shakespeare, David Suzuki and Bobby Orr.

While exploring the wealth of imagery relating to this issue, Naomi Broudo, Creative Director, and Violet Finvers, Art Director of BC's Tandem Design Associates Ltd., came across "The Mouse Bride," a peculiar Chinese folk tale that embodied and brought to life the key characteristics of the Rat year. Central to the stamps and souvenir sheet are three themes: Love, Skill and New Beginnings. "It was up to illustrator Harvey Chan to bring the tale to life", said Broudo. "He brought a wealth of artistic experience: his Chinese heritage, combined with the intense research he undertook, lent a high degree of authenticity to the design." The emboss-deboss techniques, along with the gold and pearl foil on the stamps and souvenir sheet, add to the sense of celebration around which the concept is built. In the light, flecks of gold seem to flicker thanks to the multi-layered embossing.

The domestic rate stamps, which measures 30 mm x 40 mm (vertical) will be avilable in panes of 25 stamps priced at $13. The international rate souvenir sheet, priced at $1.60, measures 135 mm x 102 mm (horizontal). The uncut press sheet of 12 souvenir sheets, will sell for $26.95. Lowe-Martin printed 8 million single stamps, 750,000 souvenir sheets and 15,000 uncut press sheets, with P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell paper. They are general tagged on all sides with 13+ perforations. The Official First Day Cover will read VANCOUVER BC.

More information on these commemorative stamps is available in the Newsroom section of the Canada Post Web site; and photos of the stamps are available in the Photo Centre of the Newsroom. The stamps and Official First Day Cover will be available at participating post offices, online through the links on the Canada Post Web site ( or by mail from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada or the United States, call toll-free 1 800 565-4362; from other countries call 902-863-6550.

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