Arms of Canada + Letterpress

My friend Ian Scott dropped round the Reinventorium yesterday with an early Christmas gift: the loan of another set of cigar boxes filled with old letterpress cuts. By far and away the most brilliant one of the bunch is the Arms of Canada. From the look of it, this is the 1920s version — the telltale sign being the tails on the animals on the right and left, which are reserved in this version and wild and bushy in later ones.

Arms of Canada

It’s such a delicious cut that I couldn’t wait another day to get it on the letterpress, so I ran a quick test print this afternoon, which showed just how lovely it is (and how high-quality the craftsmanship of the cut itself is; it hasn’t deteriorated at all):

Arms of Canada Print

You can see some black dots around the edges, which were the impression of inked tiny nails that are holding the cut to its wooden base. I took the cut off the press and tapped those in so they lay flush, and ran another print, which I then scanned on my Doxie scanner; it is (perhaps in a way that only I can appreciate) positively dreamy.

Arms of Canada


Ian Scott's picture
Ian Scott on December 13, 2012 - 00:39 Permalink

Amazing to see this item turned into a working letterpress cut once again. I picked it up in the late 1970’s when The Guardian, our local daily went offset and old press items sold for scrap value — boxed at pennies a pound. Nice to know there is an appreciation for the craftsmenship that went into creating these items, and in keeping the traditional techniques of the printer’s craft alive.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on December 13, 2012 - 01:45 Permalink

I wonder if you needed a license to use that when it was current. It could have been a means to counterfeit authority back in the day.

Chuck's picture
Chuck on December 13, 2012 - 06:49 Permalink

That IS gorgeous. Nice work!

westcoastcrandall's picture
westcoastcrandall on December 15, 2012 - 17:46 Permalink

That is beautiful! What a find.

Ellen MacPhail's picture
Ellen MacPhail on December 19, 2012 - 04:33 Permalink

Dreamy and delicious! Please, please, please tell me you will be selling a ‘notebook’ with this on it?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 19, 2012 - 14:54 Permalink

Alas, no: Crown Copyright says:

All Government of Canada symbols are protected under the Trade-marks Act. The Arms of Canada, the Government of Canada signature, and the Canada wordmark are exclusive trademarks of the Government of Canada.