ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog Arctic & Northern Books About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth

Otto Sverdrup Postage Stamps

The Life of Otto Sverdrup

Canadian Souvenir Sheet of 2004 Otto Sverdrup stamps

Norwegian Otto Sverdrup stamp

Norwegian Otto Sverdrup stamp

Norwegian Otto Sverdrup stamp

    On March 26, 2004, Norway, Greenland and Canada jointly issued a series of five postage stamps and other related products to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arctic explorer Otto Sverdrup.

    Designed by Martin Mörk of Norway and printed in four-colour lithography by Post Danmark, the three stamps depict a portrait of Sverdup, his famous ship the Fram, and a landing party approaching a shore drawn in the dramatic style common in 19th Century engravings of the High Arctic. Of note, this is the second time that Mörk's designs have appeared in Canada - the first was the very popular $2.00 polar bear issue of 1998.

    As you can see in the accompanying illustrations, all three countries used the same design set, but chose which one(s) to use. Canada and Norway both issued the Fram design, Norway the Sverdrup portrait as well, and Greenland chose the landing boat. Souvenir sheets show all three designs, but the denomination is only printed on the design used by that country - the Canadian souvenir sheet can be seen above.

    This is the first joint issue by Norway, Greenland and Canada, and it signifies the international significance of the Arctic voyages of Otto Sverdrup, who is still little known in Canada. That is unfortunate given the fact that many features in Canada's High Arctic were named by or for him, including the Sverdrup Islands, Axel Heiberg Island and the Ringnes Islands.

Date of Issue: March 26, 2004
Designed by: Martin Mörk
Printed by: Post Danmark
Quantity Issued: Canada 49¢ - 4,000,000
                           Canada $1.40 - 400,000
                           Greenland DKK 17.50 - ?
                           Norway NOK 6.00 - 600,000
                           Norway NOK 9.50 - 600,000
First Day Cancellations: Canada - Grise Fiord, Nunavut

Inscribed pane of 49-cent Canadian 2004 Otto Sverdrup stamps

Canadian First Day Cover of 2004 Otto Sverdrup stamps