Today's post will begin to look at what I consider to be the Canadian Bank Note Company's (CBN's) finest creation: The 1935-1938 Dated Die Issue. It combines ornateness of design, with beautiful, crisp printing and vibrant colours. The series offers just about everything a specialist could want, while offering immense challenges for the proof and imperforate material. The remainder of this post will explore the many possibilities that exist with this issue. I will cover all aspects of this issue in two posts, due to the large volume of material that there is to discuss.
The designer for all the stamps of this series was Herman Herbert Schwartz. His name figures very prominently in Canadian stamp design right into the late 1950's. Edwin Gunn, whose involvement in stamp design dates back to the Quebec Tercentenaries, was involved in the engraving of this issue, as was Arthur C Vogel, and William Adolph.
The issue date for all values was June 1, 1935, and this was the first issue to feature hidden year dates in the stamp designs, hence its nickname. All stamps from this issue forward incorporate the date into the design, so in a sense, this is a landmark issue.
The low values were printed in sheets of 400, which were guillotined into four post office panes of 100, while the high values were printed in sheets of 200, that were guillotined into four panes of 50.
The Stamp Designs and Quantities Issued
When one looks at the issue quantities for these stamps, it becomes apparent quite quickly that both the $1 and the 20c special delivery are very scarce stamps - even scarcer than the famous Bluenose. Yet curiously the Unitrade values do not reflect this scarcity at all, with the special delivery stamp being valued at just $16 for a very fine hinged example. Even the $1 has taken a hit in recent years, with Unitrade dropping the price of a very fine hinged copy to below $100, at $90. I do not feel that these prices will endure into the long-term, as the demand for them expands.
Points of Interest
The number of directions that a specialist can take this issue in, is vast, due to the amount of material that is available for the issue:
1. Shade varieties.
2. Paper and gum varieties.
3. Plate blocks.
4. Booklet panes and complete booklets.
5. Coil stamps.
6. Plate flaws and re-entries.
7. Precancels and cancellations.
8. First day covers and postal history.
9. OHMS perfins.
10. Imperforate varieties.
11. Proof material
Today's post will look at the first 5 of these, and then next week's post will explore the remaining aspects.
Nearly all of the stamps of this issue can be found with slight to marked variation in the colours. I find that it is the 6c airmail, 10c mountie and the 4c yellow that exhibit the most variation, but if you look closely, you will find shade varieties on every single value:
On this value you can find a green that is both bright, and light, a regular, pure green, and then a deeper green that has a tinge of yellow to it. Most of the shades of this value are pure greens that vary only in terms of how bright or how deep they are.
On this value, the main aspects of variation are the brightness of the brown, as well as the amount of yellow contained in the brown. Unitrade does list a yellow brown, that does contain some yellow, but is really just a very pale version of the brown.
The carmine varies in terms of the brightness, intensity and the amount of blue included in the colour. I have seen stamps in which the colour is a bright, deep tomato red, and others where the colour is a strong bluish carmine. In the above scan, there is quite a marked difference between the second and third stamps from the left, through they are all slightly different.
4c Yellow Orange
Here, the yellow varies in terms of the amount of orange included in the mix. I have seen stamps, that contain almost no orange, and are a pure, bright yellow. Others are almost entirely orange, with a golden tinge. However, most stamps you will see are a nearly perfect blend of yellow and orange. In the above scan, there is considerable variation in the shade of the three middle stamps.
The two main shades of blue that I have encountered are steel blue, which contains just a hint of grey, and Prussian blue, which contains just a hint of green. Both are very intense shades.
6c Red-Brown Airmail
The main two shades that you are likely to see on this stamp are bright red-brown and pale red brown. In both cases, the brown contains a clear reddish tone. There is a brown that does not contain the red undertone, being more like the colour of the 2c. Unitrade calls this the "yellow brown", though it is not the same as the yellow brown on the Stanley Gibbons colour key, nor is it the same as the yellow browns of the Queen Victoria period.
This shade varies both in terms of how bright the orange is, as well as the intensity. The shade on the left is duller, and less reddish than the one on the right.
This value, in my opinion exhibits the most obvious variations of all the stamps in the series. On the one hand, you can find very deep carmine red, that is not overly bluish, and then very rosy carmine-rose shades that have a distinctly bluish undertone. At the same time, you can find other deep red shades that lack the blue, being more of a deep scarlet.
This stamp probably exhibits the least amount of variation of the stamps in the set, with the only variation I have seen, being the amount of red in the colour. On one end of the spectrum, there is the blackish purple, which contains the least red. Then there are the deep reddish lilac shades, which are noticably more reddish than the blackish purples.
20c Olive Green
This colour varies according to how much brown is included in the colour, as well as the intensity. Most of the stamps you will see are a deep olive green, which contains a hint of brown. The deep olive shade on the other hand contains less brown.
20c Carmine Special Delivery
This stamp is a fairly uniform carmine-red in terms of tone, but its intensity shows quite a bit of variation, from dark carmine-red to light carmine-red.
50c Dull Violet
This stamp is really not dull violet, but a blackish lilac. The shade varies from a deep blackish lilac, to a dull blackish lilac.
This value exhibits surprisingly more variation than one might expect, based on only two shades listed in Unitrade. The most common shade is deep blue, and then from here, it varies according to both tone and intensity. There is a dark blue, that contains a bit of black in comparison to the more common deep blue. Then the colour can either be steel blue, with the usual hint of grey, or Prussian blue, with its usual hint of green. The pale blue, as listed in Unitrade, is really the pale Prussian blue, in my experience.
Paper and Gum Varieties
Other than the shades, the next big area for specialization are the papers and gum types. When these are combined with the study of shades, the number of possible shade-paper-gum combinations is really quite staggering. Interestingly, Unitrade does not even get into these aspects at all, even though they are quite clearly apparent on the stamps, and I believe, of vital importance to the study of the stamps themselves.
There are at least three types of paper on the sheet and booklet stamps, and two on the coil stamps. They vary with respect to two attributes:
- Whether or not they have a smooth or ribbed surface.
- How readily visible the mesh is when the stamp is laid face down and viewed from the back.
The stamp on the left is the pure white gum with a semi-gloss sheen, while the other two are light cream, with a semi-gloss sheen.
Deep Cream and Yellow Gums
These gums tend to be either very slightly streaky, with a semi-gloss sheen, or they are of a very high gloss sheen, as illustrated in the scans below:
On the left, we have the slightly streaky cream gum, and on the right, the deep cream gum. Both of these gums have a semi-gloss sheen. The scan below shows the deep cream gum with a satin sheen:
Finally, there is the deep yellow gum with the glossy sheen, such as on the 20c special delivery stamp:
The brownish gums all generally have a satin-like sheen, and can appear either streaky or mottled. The scan below shows one such gum on the 2c brown:
There are a good range of plates used to print the stamps of this series. The usual four positions exist for each plate, and are generally collected in blocks of 6 or 10 on the low values, and either blocks of 4 or 6 on the high values. In addition to these, some of the low values also come with a centre position, that is generally collected as a block of 8.
The basic set of plate blocks, consists of:
- 1c green - plates 1-3 all positions - 15 blocks.
- 2c brown - plate 1-4, all positions - 20 blocks.
- 3c carmine - plates 1-8, all positions - 40 blocks.
- 4c yellow-orange - plate 1, all positions - 5 blocks.
- 5c blue - plates 1-2, all positions - 10 blocks.
- 8c deep orange - plate 1, all positions - 5 blocks.
- 10c carmine-rose - plates 1-2, all positions - 10 blocks.
- 13c violet - plates 1-2, all positions - 10 blocks.
- 20c olive green - plates 1-2, all positions - 10 blocks.
- 50c dull violet - plate 1, all positions - 5 blocks.
- $1 deep blue - plate 1, all positions - 5 blocks.
- 6c bright red brown - plate 1, all positions - 5 blocks
- 20c bright carmine-red, plate 1, all positions - 4 blocks
Booklet Panes and Complete Booklets
This is the last issue to have been produced with the booklets having the simple, typographed covers featuring the arms design. This makes collecting the booklets a rather simple task, as there were four basic booklets, each of which was issued in both English and French versions as follows:
- The 1c green in 4 panes of 6. Housed in green cover, with black coat of arms. This booklet was issued on August 19, 1935. 102,000 English booklets and 11,400 French booklets were issued.
- The 2c brown in 2 panes of 6. Housed in a brown cover with black coat of arms. This booklet was issued on November 16, 1935. 102,400 English booklets, and 21,700 French booklets were issued.
- The 3c carmine in 2 panes of 4 plus 2 labels. Housed in a light red cover, with black coat-of-arms. This booklet was the first one issued on June 1, 1935. This is easily the most common booklet, with 2,350,000 English booklets, and 301,000 French booklets issued.
- One pane of 4 of each value, plus 2 labels. Housed in a buff cover, with black coat of arms. This booklet was issued on July 22, 1935. 370,000 English booklets and 27,600 French booklets were issued.