Stevenson, Michelle. 2005. $2 high value definitives – Sable Island horse and peregrine falcon. Details Magazine, Oct-Dec 2005, pages 20-21.

Note (ZL): Canada Post’s $2 definitive stamps featuring the Sable Island horse and the Peregrine Falcon were issued December 19, 2005. These were two of four high value definitives issued in autumn 2005 as part of Canada Post’s ongoing wildlife series. The other two (both $1 definitives) featured the White-tailed Deer and the Atlantic Walrus. (A “definitive” is a postage stamp that is a regular issue of a country’s postal service, available for sale by the post office for an extended period of time and designed to serve citizens’ routine postal needs.)

The images for all four stamps were steel engraved by Jorge Peral, master engraver and wildlife photographer (now Vice-President of Design, Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited). The stamps were produced by intaglio and offset lithography printing processes. Referring to the Sable Island horse image, Peral explains “The sense of volume comes from lines moving over the horses’ bodies, revealing more and less light, to create a three-dimensional effect. Heavier lines are cut deeper–they hold more ink, so they appear darker. Finer lines are shallow−they hold less ink, so they look lighter. Working this way, you actually gain another tone with the same colour of ink.”

Intaglio was one of the first techniques used for security printing—the very fine lines and precise details can be reproduced so exactly that the engraver’s technique serves as a security feature. Peral continues to design and engrave, using traditional techniques to create steel engravings for intaglio printing, as well as developing and using processes in digital software and hardware technology. His many award-winning works include designs and engravings for stamps and currencies in Canada and beyond.

The Sable Island horse definitive shows an adult and a foal standing in a field—a composite based on several photos. The adult is derived from a photograph by Paul Illsley, one that is frequently reproduced in websites, posters, and other media. The Sable Island horse and Peregrine stamps replaced the $2 Polar Bear definitive issued in 1998.