Showing posts from April, 2016

Collecting Modern Canadian Postal History 1952-Date

Today's post will look at a field of collecting that has been very neglected, and which I believe offers philatelists an unprecedented opportunity. That field is the collecting of modern postal history. Modern postal history for the purposes of this post is all the postal history for stamps issued during the present reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

What makes this period so interesting? Two things:
1. Frequent postage rate increases. 2. The proliferation of commemorative se-tenant issues and souvenir sheets, many of which were never intended to be used for postage. 
It is important to understand the factors that make a cover scarce and desirable. These factors are the same, no matter what time period we are talking about. There are many, but the main three factors are:
RateRoute and DestinationFranking The rate of the cover is the amount of fees that were required to pay for postage and any other services that were purchased in connection with the delivery, such as special delivery, ac…

The Shades Of The 50c Black and $1 Orange Admiral Stamps of Canada 1912-1928


This is the last of my detailed posts dealing with the shades of the very popular Admiral Issue of 1911-1928. The 50c value has four major listed shades in Unitrade, which are not too difficult to distinguish, while the $1 has three. However, one of the difficulties that collectors will encounter when trying to sort their stamps is the fact that there are several sub-shades within many of the major shade groups that may lead to mis-identification for those who are not familiar with the characteristics of the major shade groups.

Like all my other posts on this topic, I will show you examples of stamps from each major Unitrade listed shade group and will then cross-reference the shade names in Unitrade, with shade names from the Stanley Gibbons colour key, modified as necessary when the shades are lighter, darker, brighter, duller, paler or deeper than the Gibbons Colour Key swatches. Unfortunately, my colour key does not have very many black swatches, so most of the names that…

The Shades Of The 20c Olive Green Admiral Stamp of Canada 1912-1928


This is one of the few values in the Admiral series, whose basic colour was not changed throughout the entire life of the issue. The only other stamp which were in use throughout the entire period from 1912 to 1928 was the 50c, which will be discussed in the next post. Unitrade does list several shades of this stamp and most of them have been assigned sub-numbers by Scott. However, I find the names of the colour groups to be misleading, given how different they are from the actual colours, as classified by the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key. The listed shades are:

Olive greenDark olive greenSage greenGrey green This is another value in which it pays to know your paper and gum characteristics. The reason is because what Unitrade is really doing when they list these shades is to list and price particular groups of printings:
The basic #119 is the un-retouched dry printing. Period.This must mean that any wet printing not falling under the sage green or grey green groups is automatical…

The Shades Of The 10c Plum And 10c Bistre Brown Admiral Stamps 1912-1928


This post will deal with the last of the intermediate value Admiral stamps before I deal with the three high values, the 20c, the 50c and the $1. The Unitrade catalogue until fairly recently did not list any shades at all of the 10c bistre brown, and has only ever listed two shades of the first 10c: plum and reddish purple. As we shall see though, there is a fair range of shades of the first 10c, and also there are more than two shades of the bistre brown as well. In keeping with the structure of all previous posts, I will illustrate examples of each Unitrade listed shade and will then cross-reference the shade names with the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key.

The 10c Plum or Reddish Purple

This stamp was released in January 1912 and replaced the 10c King Edward VII stamp. It's use was primarily for insurance fees on registered mail, bulk mailings of printed matter and parcels. Consequently, it was in fair demand, and a lot of printings were made between 1912 and 1922, when it wa…

The Shades Of The 5c Violet And 7c Red Brown Admiral Issue Stamps 1922-1928


Today's post will deal with the shades of the two re-issues of the 5c and 7c values. Unitrade lists a few shades for the 5c, although as we shall see, there are more than what Unitrade lists, and none of the shades are actually violet, but rather all are either shades of purple or lilac. Curiously, there are only two listed shades of the 7c red brown: red-brown and pale red brown, even though there is a world of difference between the shades of the wet printings and the dry printings. The so called pale red-brown of the 7c dry printing is actually closer to chestnut on the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key, and is quite distinct once you become familiar with it, although if you are not used to seeing it, you could easily miss it and classify it as a common red-brown shade.

Again, in keeping with the format of the previous posts, I will show examples of each shade and will cross reference the Unitrade shade names to the equivalent shades on the Stanley Gibbons Colour key, indicat…

The Blue Shades Of The 5c, 8c And 10c Admiral Stamps Of 1911-1928


The use of blue colour spans the entire life of the Admiral Issue, being utilized on three different values, as we shall see: the first 5c, the 8c, which was introduced in 1925 and the second 10c. Each of these blues is completely different as to shade, and it is possible to find many subtle variations on all of them - even the 8c, which until recently had no listed shade varieties in Unitrade. This is perhaps the worst named colour in Unitrade in general, with the word "blue" or "dark blue" used to describe nearly everything. As we shall see, in reality, many of the dark blues are shades of indigo, with some deep blues.

As with all my posts on shades, this post will illustrate the Unitrade listed shades on each of the 5c, 8c and 10c stamps and will cross-reference Unitrade's shade names to the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key.

The 5c Blue - 1911-1922

Unitrade lists three shades for this stamp:

Dark blueIndigoGrey-blueDark blue

The above three stamps are all e…

Top 8 Under-Rated Areas In Canadian Philately

Before I continue my posts on the Admiral issue, I thought it would be a fun to do a post on the top under-rated topics and collecting areas within Canadian philately. What is actually very interesting is that there are many areas in Canadian philately that offer the collector a challenge, while at the same time offering a great sense of accomplishment as their collection grows. There seems to be a very widely held perception among philatelists that there is nothing worth collecting after World War II, and many believe that the cut-off point for that is even earlier - as early as the Admirals. In addition, as I have written about many times before, there is an obsession now with obtaining perfection of condition, with the result that many otherwise interesting and fruitful areas are ignored or neglected because the material simply doesn't exist in perfect condition. So without further ado, here are my top 8 picks of areas that are under-appreciated relative to their catalogue valu…