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Biographical Sketch:

Ashton-Potter Limited, was founded in Ontario, Canada, by Charles Ashton and Harry Potter in 1928 as a commercial printer and expanded to the production greeting cards. The first stamp that they printed for the Post Office Department was the 1970 Group of Seven commemorative. The last stamps they printed for Canada were the Prehistoric Life in Canada series issued October 1, 1993. The firm began to experience financial difficulty during 1991 and 1993 and was forced into bankruptcy on April 13, 1993, after a major creditor called in its loan. At one time, Ashton-Potter Limited produced 70% of Canada's stamps. The equipment from Ashton-Potter Limited, its name, and the American subsidiary in Amherst, New York, were purchased by MDC Corporation of Toronto in 1993. MDC established a new stamp production plant, called Ashton-Potter Canada Limited in Toronto. The U.S. plant, Ashton-Potter (America) Incorporated, which was established in 1992, was not affected by the bankruptcy of the Toronto plant, however, it was renamed Ashton-Potter (USA) when it was purchased by MDC. In early 1995, it doubled its production and moved its operations to Williamsville, New York. In 1993, with the closing of Ashton-Potter Limited, the Canada Post Corporation chose Leigh-Mardon Pty Limited of Australia to supply postage stamps. The Canadian printing industry, however, protested Canada Post's decision to award the contract to a foreign company. The Canada Post Corporation began a search for a Canadian firm and it found the newly organized Ashton-Potter Canada Limited. In 1994, Ashton-Potter was once again associated with stamp production in Canada and it was awarded a three-year contract with a two-year renewal option to print four billion stamps (January 1995 to January 2000). Ashton-Potter Canada Limited became a part of MDC Stamp Group, along with Ashton-Potter (USA) and House of Questa (England). This group was the leading provider of stamps around the world. MDC Stamp Group won several awards for their work, including Canada Post's Award of Achievement (1996 to 1999), Royal Mail's 1998 Award for Excellence in product and service, Royal Mail's 1999 Rowland Hill Award for stamp innovation, a 1999 United States Postal Service Quality Suppliers of the Year award recipient in the small business/ manufacturing category, and in 1999, William J. Henderson Postmaster General of the United States awarded the Quality Suppler award to Ashton-Potter USA. In April 2002, MDC made the announcement that they were going to amalgamate the two Ashton-Potter plants in Williamsville and Toronto, with production of stamps taking place solely in the United States. The merged plants became Ashton-Potter.


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