Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fur Trade
Centennial Period

Postal history collecting presents interesting challenges from time to time. The Northwest Territories envelope tag which is the subject of today's posting is one such item.

The Government of the Northwest Territories envelope tag is labelled "FUR EXPORT TAX PERMIT ENCLOSED" and was likely attached to a shipment of furs. The stamps paying for the parcel post were affixed to the envelope tag rather than the address label (which I do not have).

Postage and Cancellation

The postage affixed to the label was $1.35. The use of the 1969 Christmas stamps establishes that the furs were shipped after October 8, 1969.

The stamps were cancelled at Fort Nelson, B.C., with an undated roller.


The furs may have been shipped from Fort Nelson to the Vancouver fur auction. The rate for a 10lb. parcel within the province was $1.35 in the 1969 period.

The furs could have been shipped by trappers or hunters.


Trappers from Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, also trapped in Northern B.C. They could have flown to Fort Nelson (no roads at the time) or travelled overland by snowmobile or dog team to mail their furs to Vancouver.


In the late 1960s, access to some outfitting areas in the Northwest Territories was through Fort Nelson. Hunters would have required export permits for wolverine pelts which they may have shipped from Fort Nelson.

This is one of those postal history questions for which a definitive answer is not possible. Nevertheless the envelope tag reminds us of our fur trading heritage, triggering images of trappers, dog teams, and very cold weather.