For the first time in the history of the issue of Canadian postage stamps, a domestic letter-rate stamp is being issued bearing on its face the letter A instead of the traditional denomination shown in Arabic numerals. This "A" stamp is valid for the carriage of mail in Canada only, and its value is equal to 30¢, which is the domestic basic letter-rate that becomes effective 1 January 1982. Because of the time required for production, the interval between the date of final approval of a new denomination stamp and the desired date of its issue would be too short to allow the stamp design with the correct numerical value to be printed, distributed, and ready for sale as soon as needed. Since a letter instead of a number is used in the design of the new stamp, the approved postage value can be assigned at a later date thus allowing the "A" stamp to be available in postal outlets for immediate use when the new rate is announced. Because of conventions of the Universal Postal Union, the international body that regulates the exchange of mail among member countries, the "A" stamp may be used for postage within Canada only, and should not be used on mail to other countries. The "A" stamp is the work of Raymond Bellemare of Montreal, who used the maple leaf symbol of Canada as the basic theme. The steel-engraved design is printed in one colour. Canada's official red.