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Monday, July 4, 2016

The 1926 Surcharges, Issued Imperforates and Part Perforate Coil Stamps of the 1911-1927 Admiral Issue

Today's post will be my second last detailed post on the Admiral Issue. This post will look at three aspects of this issue that appeared toward the end of it's life:


  • The issued imperforate stamps of 1924;
  • The part-perforate coil stamps of 1924;
  • The provisional surcharges of 1926.
The Issued Imperforate Stamps of 1924

Image result for imperforate admiral stamps

The three current low values were issued in imperforate form between October 6, 1923 and January 23, 1924. They were only available through the philatelic agency and were not sold through post offices - a fact that suggests that they were completely philatelic in nature and were not really intended to be used commercially. Indeed, most used examples that one comes across were used on first flight covers in the 1928-1935 period. Finding pairs used in period is quite a challenge. More than one plate was used to print each value, so a specialist may wish to obtain plate numbered examples from each plate:

  • 1c yellow - 50,000 stamps printed from plates 179 and 180;
  • 2c green - 50,000 stamps printed from plates 188 and 189;
  • 3c carmine - 100,000 stamps printed from plates 126-131.
It is surprising to see that no fewer than 6 plates were used to produce only 100,000 stamps for the 3 value. All of the imperforates were printed using the wet process, which was being phased out at this point. So there are no wet-dry printing differences to collect with these. There are no significant shade variations that I am aware of on the 2c or 3c, but that is not to say that some could not be found on the 3c, with patience, especially given the number of different plates used. 

The 3c value can be collected in R-Gauge and pyramid guide blocks as discussed in a previous post, which adds some challenge and all the values can be collected as either plate strips of 4 or blocks of 8. They are less expensive than one would expect, given their issue quantity, but I suspect that this has to do with their high survival rate, given that they were philatelic in nature. A total of 10 blocks are possible for the whole issue, so this can still add up to a fair amount of money. 

I think the most challenging and exciting way to collect these would be to see how many commercially used pairs and blocks you can find canceled in 1924 or certainly before 1927, in addition to collecting the blocks and lathework pieces. Then of course there are covers to seek out. The Unitrade catalogue prices only pairs on cover, but in most cases, pairs would not be paying the correct postage rates, aand would thus be philatelic. It is these items that Unitrade is pricing when it values covers. I would expect that commercial covers that just happen to use pairs or larger multiples to pay the proper oversize or registered rates would be worth a lot more than the basic catalogue prices, on account of their scarcity. 

The Part Perforate Coil Stamps

Image result for part perforate admiral coil stamps

Like the imperforate issues above, these were only sold through the philatelic agency. The post office simply took sheets of coil stamps and left them in sheet form, unguillotined. There were two printings of the 1c and 2c values and only one of the 3c. The second printing of the 1c and 2c was printed by the dry method and these are relatively common and found in nearly every Canadian collection.  Only 50,000 of each of these second printings were issued, but like the imperforates, they must have had a very high survival rate. The first printings on the other hand were by the wet method, and these are some of the scarcest stamps of the modern period, with only 2,200 of each value being issued. In fact, the first printings exist as gutter blocks of 4 and these are worth well over $60,000 in VFNH condition. They are always sold as a set and according to the Unitrade catalogue, there are only 7-10 sets in existence, making these some of the rarest items of the issue, along with the imperforate tete-beche booklet panes discussed in an earlier post. 

Great care has to be taken in buying the first printings as many fakes have been made by adding vertical perforations to the issued imperforates above, which were also printed by the wet method. It is therefore recommended that you either insist on a certificate when buying these, or you can check the perforations by lining up a known genuine perf. 8 vertical coil with the perforated edge of these and seeing if the perforations at least line up properly. If they do, then you have some assurance that they are genuine. 

My comments about the scarcity of commercially used examples that I made for the imperforates applies to these stamps also. Most that one sees were used on first flight covers as well and seeking out pairs or blocks with nice, CDS cancels dated in period (i.e. before 1926) is a worthy challenge. 

The 1926 Surcharges

   Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges

In 1926, the 1c War Tax that applied to all mail was abolished, which resulted in a rate reduction on domestic mail from 3c to 2c. There was thus a very large run of demand for the 2c stamp and supplies were very quickly used up. It was therefore decided that existing stocks of the 3c value would be overprinted "2 cents". 

There were two types of overprint issued. The first one, shown on the right had the surcharge in one line. It was issued on October 12, 1926. It can be found on both die 1 and die II stamps, through nearly all the stamps you will ever see are die 1. The die 1 stamps were printed from plates 115 through 117, while the die 2's came from plates 162-163. All told 50,000 stamps were issued with this overprint, which was not a large number at all. It is a relatively scarce stamp - in my opinion it is scarcer than the other two preceding issues, which were produced in  the same quantity. This overprint was printed by the King's Printers and was abandoned due to the quality of the overprinting, which was thought to be poor, as the overprints often had broken letters. 

The second overprint shown to the left was issued on October 16, 1926 and was issued in more than double the quantity (103,600). It was printed from plates 115-117, so it is only found with die 1. This overprinting was done by the Canadian Bank Note Company, but the end result was much the same as the first surcharge. 

In addition to collecting plate blocks and commercially used examples, there are a number of errors in the form of slanted, shifted, double, and triple surcharges. Examples of the double and triple surcharges of the second type are shown below:

 Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges              Image result for 1926 Admiral Surcharges

The first type is only known double, while the second type is known both doubled and tripled, and also doubled, with one inverted. No single inverted surcharges are known however. Both types are known badly slanted or shifted. Both types can also be collected as pyramid guide blocks also, through interestingly, no R-guage blocks are known. Finally, an essay pair is known of the first type that has both large and small overprint fonts. Most of these varieties are expensive, being valued at several hundreds of dollars each, or in the low thousands. This is not bad though given how scarce they are. 

This issue also includes two giant rarities:

  • A unique first day cover with a block of 8 of the first type in the rare die 2. This is valued at $12,500 in Unitrade.
  • A plate block of 6 on first day cover of the second type. These are not unique, but are very scarce and valued at $2,250. 
Again, my comments about commercial use apply to these as well. Care has to be taken when buying these also, as forgeries abound, particularly on used stamps, as the temptation to take a near worthless used 3c stamp and turn it into a stamp worth at least $20 is very high. One factor to pay close attention to is the ink. The genuine overprint ink is jet black and has a shine to it. It did not adhere well to the carmine ink, so broken letters are common. The lines of the overprints are clean and sharp also. So with this in mind things to watch for, which may indicate forged overprints are as follows:

  • Letters that have a bled appearance, or are otherwise fuzzy and not sharp. 
  • Letters that are not jet back in colour.
  • Ink that has a dull or flat appearance.
  • Overprints whose font does not match a known genuine example. 
That brings us to the end of this post. I currently have a good selection of these issues in my e-bay store. If you would like to view what I have for sale, you may do so by clicking on the links below:







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