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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Booklets and Coil Stamps of the Karsh and Heritage Definitive Issue - 1953-1956

Today's post will look at the varieties that exist with the booklets that were issued for this series as well as the coil stamps. As we shall see there are a very large number of them, and obtaining them all presents a very worthy challenge. In addition, collectors will find that used booklet panes and used coil strips with nice CDS cancels are actually quite scarce and provide a nice rewarding sideline for this aspect of this definitive issue.

However, before I get into these, I want to add an update to my post about the plate blocks, due to something that I just discovered while doing some scanning of the plate blocks. Take a look at these two lower right plate blocks of the 3c carmine rose:



As you can see, the order number on both blocks is 1303. But look at the spacing between the digits that comprise the number and between the "No." and the plate number. On the plate 1 block the spacing is wide (5.5 mm between "No." and 1 and 3mm between the digits.). On the plate 2 block the spacing is narrow (2mm between "No." and "2" and between "1" and "3", while being 1.5mm between the other digits). I don't know if these spacing varieties exist on both plates, nor have I looked at possible spacing varieties between the plate number and the order number. 

It is not going to show up easily here in a scan, but I have also seen feint ghost prints of other plate inscriptions on these blocks. I have for example, a plate 1 LL  that has what appears to be a very feint "No. 25" between "No.1" and "1303". I don't know what the significance of this is, but it definitely bears further study in my opinion. 

There is no reference source that lists all the order numbers for each denomination. At the moment it appears that each denomination can have more than one  number. It will be necessary for someone to compile a comprehensive study of these.  

The Coil Stamps

As stated in the previous overview post, the 2c green, 3c carmine rose and 4c violet were issued in rolls of 500 coil stamps, perforated 9.5 vertically. As far as I can tell, all of the shades that are found on the sheet stamps can potentially be found on the coil stamps as well. In addition, there appear to be at least three paper and gum combinations on these stamps, as illustrated in my last post:

1. Wove paper showing no distinct mesh, with light cream gum. 
2. Vertical wove paper with weak ribbing and light cream gum.
3. Vertical wove paper with strong ribbing and deep yellowish cream gum. 

What makes the coils of this and all subsequent issues particularly interesting is that there are spacing varieties that can be collected on them. When we speak of spacing varieties on coils we are talking about the horizontal distance between the stamp impressions in a pair or a strip, and vertical distance between the top framelines or bottom framelines of adjacent stamps in the case of jump strips. To illustrate these types of varieties, take a look at the 3c coil strip shown below:


If you look carefully at this strip, you will notice two things:

1. There is very slightly more vertical distance between the bottom frameline of the first two stamps and the bottom edge of the strip than the two right stamps. That is because there is a slight upward shift of the first two stamp impressions relative to the last two. This is a point at which separate printing plates have been joined on the roll and they don't quite line up exactly, producing what philatelists know as "jump strips". Sometimes these jumps are quite obvious, but most of the time they are not and can be easily overlooked unless you know what to look for and are looking for them. 

2. The horizontal distance between stamps 1 and 2, and 3 and 4 is much wider than between stamps 2 and 3. This is called a narrow spacing strip. As a matter of fact the normal spacing between impressions on these and most coil stamps is either 4mm, 4.25mm or 4.5mm. All three spacings exist, sometimes all on the same strip. I don't know if one spacing is scarcer than the others. Answering that question would require a statistically valid study of these coils and their spacings. However, what many specialists do recognize and seek out are very narrow and very wide spacings. Less than 4mm is narrow and greater then 4.5mm is wide. 

In addition to the above spacing varieties, it is also possible to collect these coils in strips that show the "T" shaped cutting guideline that was placed between rows of impressions on the plate. Usually, the coils have to be very poorly centered for this guideline to be visible on a strip. But they are scarce and quite sought after by specialists, being worth a considerable premium over a basic strip. 

Finally, another variety that is quite sought after occurs irregularly in a roll when the strips in a roll have to be joined together. A small gummed piece of paper is affixed to the back of the two strips to join them into the roll and provide a continuously gummed surface on the back. This is called a "repair paste-up" and it is usually collected either as a pair or a strip. 

So as you can see, if you combine the spacing varieties, with papers, and shades, you have quite a large amount of potential scope:

2c green: (2 shades x 5 spacings x 3 papers x 3 varieties) = 90 different pairs or strips. 
3c carmine rose: (3 shades x 5 spacings x 3 papers x 3 varieties) = 135 different pairs or strips
4c violet: (3 shades x 5 spacings x 3 papers x 3 varieties) = 135 different pairs or strips

I don't know of course if every shade exists with every paper variety, in every spacing, with regular, cutting guideline and repair paste-up pairs or strips, but this gives you an idea of the scope that can exist with these seemingly simple stamps. 

Then of course you can always try finding nice used pairs and strips with nice CDS cancels, as well as nice used singles. Because the perforation is very coarse, it is difficult to find nice used strips, pairs or singles with intact perforations on both sides. The period of use for these was very short, so a challenging pursuit would be to try to find as many nice examples with different in-period cancels as you can. 

Another challenge is to look for covers to foreign destinations or local registered covers where the higher postage rate has been paid with strips of these coils instead of the high values. Most covers franked with these coils will be local third class (2c), local first class (3c) or domestic (4c) single weight covers and will be paid with single stamps as that is what the coils were intended to be used for. 

The Booklet Panes and Complete Booklets


None of the booklets issued for this issue contained any pages with postage rate information, and all known booklets were produced using stamples that are 17mm wide along the front cover. Booklets with different sized staples may have been reassembled after having been opened.

The Chewing Gum Booklets



Unfortunately I do not have any examples of panes that I could scan, but the 1c, 4c and 3c were issued in booklets like the one shown above. There was one pane each of three stamps. Each pane had a perforated tab on the left side through which the booklet staple passed and was imperforate on the right edge of the right stamp. So the two left hand stamps on each pane resembled coil stamps perforated 12 instead of 9.5 because of the fact that they each had 2 parallel imperforate horizontal edges, while the right hand stamp is imperforate on 3 sides.

The booklets were issued in both English and bilingual versions and much to the delight of specialists there were a series of different dies that were used to produce the front and back covers for these booklets. Getting into the detail of what distinguishes all these types is beyond the scope of this post and would involve plagiarizing a book already written by Peter Harris on this subject called Canadian Stamp Booklets Dotted Cover Dies 1935-1965. What I can say about these is that there were 15 different dies employed for both the front and back covers, and they way they are distinguished is by the arrangement of the dots just above the upper left of the coat of arms panel on the front cover and to the upper left of the text panel on the back cover. Harris has reported a total of 16 different English booklet cover combinations and 18 different bilingual ones, some of which he notes are very scarce.

The 25c Booklet Containing 2 Panes of 3c Carmine Rose

The next booklet to consider is the 25c booklet containing eight 3c carmine rose stamps arranged in 2 panes of 4 plus 2 blank labels. The panes looked like this:



The front covers for the booklets looked like this for both English and bilingual versions:



English

 

Billingual

The back covers are shown below:

                                     

English



Bilingual

Harris in his book, notes that there were 2 different English and 2 different bilingual front covers. The main difference between the two types of the English cover has to do with the number of dots enclosed by the P of postage as follows:



On one type, there are two dotes inside the P of Postage, whereas on the other, there are three dots. 

The front bilingual covers are distinguished by the appearance of the "NE" of "Carnet" in the right text panel. I only have one type I can illustrate which looks like this:


Here the N and the E are joined, and the top serif on the E tapers out and becomes thin. On the second type, there is a block serif on the E that gets thicker as you move away from the E to the left. 

Harris notes in his book 4 types of English back covers and 2 types of bilingual covers. I don't have examples of all 6 types that I can scan, but can show you two types of English cover and one bilingual as follows:






The English back covers are all distinguished by looking at the arrangements of the dots inside the top left hand curve of the text panel. On the top scan we see that there is an arc of 4 dots, whereas on the next type there is an arc of three dots. On another type there is a straight line of four dots that is intersected by a 45 degree line of 4 dots almost resembling an open beak. The fourth type is an almost right angle consisting of three dots up and two across that encloses three more dots arranged in a triangular pattern. I will update this with additional scans as the booklets become available.

The bilingual back covers are differentiated by looking at the dots just outside the lower left curve of the text panel. On the above type there are two diagonal rows of dots. On the second type, there are two overlapping arcs one being 3 dots and the other being 5 dots.

Together, Harris notes that there are 12 possible cover combinations for this booklet.

Another thing that hasn't been considered, but is apparent from the scans is that the colour purple comes in different shades and as far as I know this has not been studied at all. I have also seen with these types of booklets, plate flaws on the covers (i.e. blobs and void areas) and minor double prints of the frames, text and dots.

The 25c Booklet Containing 1 Pane of 6 4c Violet

The last booklet to be issued for this series contained a single pane of 6 4c violet stamps as shown below:



The front covers are shown below:


CANADA-1953-QE2-KARSH-ISSUE-BKLT-BK-45-ENGLISH

English



Bilingual

There was only one type of English front cover according to Harris, and it has the two dots inside the P of Postage as shown on the purple booklet above. There were two types of bilingual front cover, one of which I can illustrate below:



Here the distinguishing characteristic is the shape of the dash between the words "Postes-Postage". On the above type, the dash is rounded at the right end. On the second type, the dash is rectangular and is not rounded.

The back covers appear exactly the same as the back covers on the purple booklets above with the same types, except that on these booklets, they are orange. Harris notes that there are 8 different cover combinations on this booklet.

As you can see there is a great deal of scope with the booklets. In addition to the cover combinations, which provide a total of 54 different identifiable booklets, there are potential plate, shade and printing varieties possible with both front and back covers, as well as possible paper and shade varieties on the panes contained inside. I have not examined enough booklet panes to know for certain which shade and paper varieties exist. All the panes that I have seen have strongly ribbed horizontal wove paper and just one shade. However, I am confident that if one were to study a large quantity of panes, that other varieties will emerge.

Tomorrow, I will deal with the Official stamps from this issue.


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