Canada United States Plans Provinces Blog About

Sir Winston Churchill - Yousuf Karsh

Art Canada

Stamp Info

Name Value
Date of Issue May 21, 2008
Year 2008
Quantity 1,925,000
Perforation or Dimension kiss cut = découpage par effleurement, 13+
Series Art Canada
Series Time Span 2004 - 2012
Printer Lowe-Martin Company Inc..
Postal Administration Canada

Buy on ebay

Sorry, our call to ebay returned no results. Click on the button below to search ebay directly.
More Results

Stamp Price Values

Condition Name Avg Value
Mint - Never Hinged - Very Fine Only available to paid users
Used - Very Fine Only available to paid users
* Notes about these prices:
  • They are not based on catalogue values but on current dealer and auction listings. The reason for this is that catalogues tend to over-value stamps.
  • They are average prices. The actual value of your stamp may be slightly above or below the listed value, depending on the overall condition of your stamp. Use these prices as a guide to determine the approximate value of your stamps.

Stamp Supplies on Amazon


Self-adhesive booklets of 8

Quantity Produced - 200,000
Current Purchase Price: Only available to paid users
Original Purchase Price: $12.80
Perforation: Simulated perforation
Dimension: 32.25 x 39.75 (vertical)
Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus varnish
Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
Tagging: General, 4 sides
Paper: Tullis Russell
Add to

Souvenir sheet of 3 stamps

Quantity Produced - 325,000
Current Purchase Price: Only available to paid users
Original Purchase Price: $3.08
Perforation: 13+
Dimension: 150 mm x 87 mm (horizontal)
Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus varnish
Gum Type: P.V.A.
Tagging: General, 4 sides
Paper: Tullis Russell
Add to

Signed uncut press sheet

Quantity Produced - 3,000
Original Purchase Price: $35.12
Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus varnish
Tagging: General, 4 sides
Paper: Tullis Russell
Add to

Gutter product

Quantity Produced - 10,000
Original Purchase Price: $10.24
Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus varnish
Tagging: General, 4 sides
Paper: Tullis Russell
Add to

Official First Day Cover - Souvenir sheet

Quantity Produced - 23,000
Current Purchase Price: Only available to paid users
Original Purchase Price: $4.08
Cancellation Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Printing Process: Lithography in 6 colours plus varnish
Tagging: General, 4 sides
Paper: Tullis Russell
Add to

About Stamp

Karsh made a roaring lion stand still to be photographed, as Winston Churchill famously said of his own photo session. The Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh captured the many colours of individual personality in complex tones of black and white. Over a sixty-year career, working from his Ottawa studio, he photographed the people who defined the 20th century in a way that explained them to the world.

"Karsh was a legend-he developed a style of portrait photography distinctly his own," says Alain Leduc, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. Dramatic lighting and inventive composition were key elements of this style, but these elements presented challenges when it came to reproducing his work at stamp size.

This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, Canada Post is issuing a set of three stamps honouring Karsh and his work. "Yousuf would regard this as the ultimate honour-that the country that took him in and nurtured him is now featuring the work of his life," says his widow, Estrellita Karsh. "It's one more tribute in his unending love and affection for Canada."

Karsh passed away in 2002 at the age of 93, after a life dedicated to his art. Born in Armenia-in-Turkey in 1908, he arrived in Canada in 1925 to begin an apprenticeship, first with his uncle in Sherbrooke, Quebec, then with an acclaimed portrait photographer in Boston. By 1932, he had opened a studio of his own in Ottawa, determined to photograph those he considered people of consequence.

An international rate ($1.60) stamp features the photograph that made Karsh famous. In 1941, when British prime minister Winston Churchill visited Ottawa to address the House of Commons, Karsh was asked to photograph him. Taken by surprise, Churchill was not inclined to co-operate-he refused to pose without his customary lit cigar. Karsh politely removed it, and captured the resulting expression on film. The photo appeared on the cover of Life magazine as an embodiment of British wartime resolve. Karsh of Ottawa had become an international name.

The Churchill photograph was an obvious choice for the stamp because it's so well known. For the U.S. rate (96¢) stamp, designer Hélène L'Heureux chose an entirely different mood in Karsh's tranquil portrait of the film actress Audrey Hepburn. "Her peaceful and serene expression makes an excellent contrast to Mr. Churchill," she says. Finally, to ensure we don't lose sight of the artist behind the camera lens, a self-portrait of Karsh at work was chosen for the domestic rate (52¢) stamp.

These three stamps are part of the Art Canada series, and their simple, asymmetrical frames, white to evoke a framing mat, are integral to the series' design. The Karsh portraits have been reproduced from photographs in the collection of Library and Archives Canada. As with all artwork featured in the series, they have been reduced in size but not cropped. "These portraits appear as taken," says Leduc. "Throughout the series, we've tried to show the work as created, so the stamp sizes are always different." For designer L'Heureux, this meant selecting three portraits that would work well as a set, while representing aspects of the artist's style.

"There is a deceptively simple look to Karsh's portraits, which we hoped to capture," says Leduc. "These three stamps represent well the elements of composition he often used-an extreme close-up, in profile, for Audrey Hepburn; an artist in action, positioned in the middle ground, in his self-portrait; and in the Churchill portrait, a fairly direct, front view, shot from further back."

Reproducing these dramatic, black-and-white compositions at stamp size, however, was no easy matter. "If we'd printed them with just one shade of black, we'd have lost a lot of detail," says Leduc. "We had to use several shades of black to achieve a sense of depth and contrast. For example, in order to add strength to the dark blacks, we used a dense black on top of grey. We printed the lighter details in a lighter shade of black. It was very interesting technically-this is a simple look, but it's not simple to execute."

The three stamps offer a glimpse of the many diverse personalities Karsh photographed over his long career. A larger sampling of his portraits appears in miniature on the souvenir sheet and in the centre strip of the stamp pane. Aligned like photos on a negative strip, this panorama of famous faces includes Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Ernest Hemingway, Sophia Loren and Walt Disney, among many others. Even The Queen sat for Karsh as a young woman. Like the stamp images, L'Heureux says, she chose these images with care from among the thousands of Karsh photographs in the Library and Archives Canada collection. "When you look at these photographs, you see that each one represents part of the history of the 20th century."

In addition to the souvenir sheet with all three stamps, Canada Post is issuing two other booklets, one featuring the U.S. rate (96¢) stamp and the international rate ($1.60) stamp. "We expect these stamps will be very popular, and not just among collectors," says Leduc. "Imagine how interesting it will be for letter writers to mail Ms. Hepburn to the U.S., or Churchill to the world." What an appropriate tribute to Karsh of Ottawa, who built a career exploring extraordinary people and the humanity that binds us.

Additional information about the artist is available at


Designed by Hélène L'Heureux. Based on a photograph by Yousuf Karsh.

Original Artwork

Yousuf Karsh, "Sir Winston Churchill", 1941 Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Similar Stamps


Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2008, p. 18-20.

Improve Stamp Information

Did you notice an error in this stamp's information?
Do you have any interesting information about this stamp that you would like to share?
Please click here to send us an email with the details.